May, 2014

Rock-fall At Shipton’s Arete

The other day my neighbor Tim Peartree and I went to Shipton’s Arete overlooking Chapel Pond for some early-season climbing. When we got there we found mud, stones, and a few broken trees at the base. It was the debris from a huge rock-fall that wiped out much of the wooded area above the cliff. We moved a tree and several branches from the base before beginning to climb. I climbed a 120-foot route called Shipton’s Voyage with the intention of setting up a top rope. Upon reaching the top, I discovered that the rock-fall had damaged the cedar tree >>More


February, 2014

Skiing A Pair Of Adirondack Passes

We just finished our March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer, so I took Tuesday off to go backcountry skiing and take advantage of the recent snowfalls (before a looming thaw sets in). My neighbor Tim Peartree and I skied through two mountain passes. The first, Avalanche Pass, is one of the most popular ski trips in the Adirondacks. From Heart Lake, it’s about four miles to the top of the pass and an additional 0.6 miles to Avalanche Lake. If you do the trip, I highly recommend you visit the lake. It’s one of the scenic wonders of the High >>More


February, 2014

Lake Placid Region Picks Up 7-10 Inches of Snow.

Although schools were closed, today was not a snow day at the Adirondack Explorer. We are busy working on our March-April issue. However, I did manage to get out on my lunch hour for a short ski. I climbed most of the way up a small peak on the edge of town and skied back down through the woods in fresh, deep powder. I had skied the same route a few days earlier and found the cover a little thin. Today, however, there was so much snow that it was difficult to pick up momentum. That’s OK … as long >>More


February, 2014

Fresh Powder Just What Jackrabbit Trail Needed

We got a few inches of fresh powder overnight and may get an additional four to nine inches before the day is done. Let’s hope the forecast is on target. Before work, I went for a short ski on the Jackrabbit Trail outside Saranac Lake. Starting on McKenzie Pond Road, I made first tracks to the top of the small hill just beyond McKenzie Pond, a round trip of a little more than four miles. With the snow we got last night and over the weekend, the skiing was much better than it was a few weeks ago. In a >>More


February, 2014

Marcy Trail Needs More Snow For Skiing

Well, I couldn’t wait any longer. After we got a few inches of snow Saturday night, I decided to ski Mount Marcy. From Adirondak Loj Road, I started by skiing up South Meadow Road. On Saturday afternoon, I had skied the road and the Marcy Dam Truck Trail as far as Marcy Dam. The road had been in great shape for skiing, but the truck trail had a lot of exposed rocks. What a difference a day makes. The extra snow was enough to bury virtually all the rocks. Also, Forest Ranger Jim Giglinto cut through the worst of a >>More


January, 2014

Ice Climbing as a Substitute for Skiing

I don’t need to remind you how bad the backcountry skiing has been this year. As of this morning, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council wouldn’t even recommend skiing on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. But it has been cold this winter, so I figured the ice climbing must be good. Just over a week ago, in fact, there were ice climbers crawling all over Keene and Keene Valley during the Mountaineer’s annual Mountainfest. Nevertheless, Don Mellor, author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide, says the climbing this winter has been only so-so. “Some good flash freezes hit Poke-O—wet >>More


January, 2014

Ski Trail to Moose Pond in Decent Shape

Another cold but brilliant day in Saranac Lake. I skied to Moose Pond on my lunch hour, a pristine water body with knockout views of Moose Mountain and Whiteface Mountain. As usual this winter, I was worried about the amount of snow cover and so was glad to discover that the trail has been skied a lot in recent days. There were well-packed ski tracks all the way to the pond. Snowshoers also have been using the trail. I want to thank them for hiking to the side of the ski tracks. The Moose Pond trail is an old woods >>More


January, 2014

A Cold Day on Baker Mountain

The temperature in Saranac Lake was 25 below when I woke up this morning. By my lunch hour, it had warmed to 2 below, so I decided to hike up Baker Mountain on the outskirts of town. Despite the temperature, the hike was pleasant. The sun was out, and there was virtually no wind. I was dressed appropriately, so the cold didn’t bother me at all. If anything, I was a bit warm from the exercise when I reached the summit. Baker is a favorite hike of locals. Usually, I run into one or two parties, but today I saw >>More


January, 2014

Fresh snow helps, but we need more

We got several inches of light snow over the weekend, so I went to the Jackrabbit Trail on my lunch hour to check out the ski conditions. I skied the two miles from McKenzie Pond Road to McKenzie Pond. The woods were beautiful, with fluffy snow adorning the branches of the evergreens. The trail looked nice, too. Unfortunately, there was little or no base underneath the fluff. For the most part, this was not a problem. In several places, though, roots and rocks lurked beneath the surface. The diciest spots were on two small downhills on the return trip. Both >>More


January, 2014

On Old Beer Cans And History

Yesterday I skied to Burntbridge Pond deep in the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest. About four miles from the road I came across a historical artifact: an old Black Label can hanging from a branch. It reminded me of a humorous essay by Mike Jarboe, “Happiness in a can,” that we published in the Adirondack Explorer in 2000. Mike wrote about scavenging for old beer cans at a dump below Death Falls near Raquette Lake. “Ah, nature: the crisp, invigorating Adirondack air, the sound of Death Falls roaring behind us, and mounds of 40-year-old Utica Club and Carling’s Black Label cans,” >>More


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