An exploratory expedition up the North-east face of Algonquin Peak.
Noticed what looked like a good winter line up the northeastern aspect of Algonquin while doing some image resizing of an older trip report. Further examination revealed that it looked like a mostly clear route up a landslide-widened creekbed, upper wider landslide and relatively open northeast face.
Rapidly walked into Marcy Dam and partway up the Avalanche Pass trail until a point where we put snowshoes on and started up the drainage coming down from Algonquin's NE face. With excellent snowpack conditions, quickly made it to the base of the landslide scar portion. Ascent under these good snow conditions was indeed sublime, with only a few detours required.
Steeper upper slide was also in good shape, requiring no more than snowshoes. Beyond that a band of dense fir trees was almost entirely under the snowpack, again making travel easy. Elected to traverse left across the base of the open NE face to the east ridgecrest. Steepening slope angle and harder snowpack here makes either crampons and/or ice ax the desired choice. Once on the ridgeline it was a short climb up firm snow to the summit. This route really does work and is quite enjoyable, provided conditions are good (A deep snowpack and good snow conditions)
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: March 2020 Algonquin Peak via Northeast Face
Another above-the-clouds work outing, this time an outing a bit more difficult: the scenic and interesting Algonquin Loop including Avalanche Pass
Muggy and misty day, lots of puffy clouds at about 4000-6000 feet that obscured the summits, but ultimately more sun than cloud. Was especially annoyed by the bouldery eroded trails on the way up the MacIntyre Range trail to about the Wright Peak junction, and then way down from the Algonquin-Boundary saddle to Lake Colden. Also unexpectedly wet conditions given the dry-ish conditions on this second half of the summer. Beautiful conditions above treeline, making our alpine lunchtime very enjoyable.
A beaver dam at the end of Avalanche Lake caused lake levels to be elevated, drowning a bit of the lakeside trailworks. We were glad to be done with rough trail after Avalanche Lake and cruised comfortably at a much higher rate of speed down to Marcy Dam. We crossed the creek at the dam, avoiding a few hundred yards of extra trail travel, then quickly booted the final few miles back to the trailhead. Finished the hike with minutes to spare before a heavy downpour arrived. Also, sampled the 'Hungry Hiker' stand for the first time.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: August 2019 Algonquin Peak Loop
Another solo outing, this time a longer one - a brisk loop from the South Meadows Road, up through Avalanche Pass, up the back-side of Algonquin, over the top and back down to the Loj and along the road back to South Meadows.
Weather started off clear and crisp, and gradually changed to high overcast by mid-afternoon, with temperatures rising dramatically through the day. Rock-hard bare-boot conditions all the way to the start of the Ascent up Algonquin. Quiet, didn't see anyone about. Trail conditions fairly optimum until treeline on Algonquin, where extensive ice coated everything, and crampons were required.
Biting wind and blowing snow from an easterly wind above treeline - did not stay long and soon was descending to the Loj area. Many people coming up via the short way. All in all, a good loop if you want to avoid the cost and crowds of the ADK High Peaks VC area.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: Algonquin loop from South Meadows
A day of unbelievably beautiful undercast on Algonquin Peak
The day started out inconspicuously enough, with the desire to do a moderately vigorous hike. Although we had the Algonquin loop as a rough starting idea, we weren't entirely sure until we got close to the trailhead, and a number of other ideas were bandied about. A glance at the skies, though, had me thinking that the possibility for an above-the-clouds hike was possible, so we returned to the idea of Algonquin, which had an approach that was short combined with a nice high summit altitude.
Starting out under overcast (hopefully soon to be undercast) skies, we quickly made our way up from ADK Loj towards Algonquin. A dusting of snow at the trailhead grew to about 2 inches at altitude, so there was no need for snowshoes. Traction aid was required, however, and microspikes were worked to the max on a very icy trail as we approached treeline. Our hunch was rewarded - a beautiful view of undercast spread out before us, especially so to the west and south. In fact, the most superb views I have seen in the Adirondacks in quite a long time.
The descent from the summit southward to treeline was supremely beautiful, with only the 46Rs visible in the distance above the nearly 4000-foot undercast. The descent down to Lake Colden was the worst part of the hike, slushy and slippery and wet. The hike back past Avalanche Lake was a nice final scenic flourish - a warm december sun illuminated the canyon-like area.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: December 2015 Algonquin Peak Loop via Avalanche Pass
A re-visit to the little-visited Shepherd's Tooth, on the flanks of Iroquois Peak, at the request of Julie.
After seeing my 2009 report on the Shepherd's Tooth, Julie expressed interest. So, this summer I suggested that we retrace our steps. We approached from the Indian Pass side, hiked up to Cold Brook Pass, then did the thick bushwhack up to the Tooth.
We followed the same track I recorded for the winter ascent, although in retrospect, I think the route could be tweaked to be a little easier. No matter, the bushwhack was still successful and I can report that the top of the Shepherd's Tooth is as pretty and enjoyable in the summer as in the winter. We completed the day with a triple ascent of Iroquois, Algonquin and Wright before finishing up the loop back to the Loj. See full trip report by following report link below.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: August 2013 Shepherd's Tooth Loop
Today, something new: a visit to the little rocky crag on Iroquois Peak's south slopes called the Shepherd's Tooth.
The Shepherd's Tooth is an attractive little sub-summit that I've noticed for some time now, and today, we finally decided to do it. We did it as a loop hike, starting at the high peaks info center, hiking through Avalanche Pass, up to Cold Brook Pass, then bushwhacked up from there to the Tooth. We then continued upwards, traversing over the summits of Iroquois, Boundary and Algonquin and descending via the main trail back to the parking lot.
As it turned out, the bushwhacking up from the pass was not too bad, although I believe we chose a good route that avoided the worst of the cliff bands that exist above the pass. More information and lots of pictures available in the main report (link below).
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: February 2009 Shepherd's Tooth Loop
The first hike after coming back from climbing Kilimanjaro. It was an extremely warm Febuary day. Clear, almost hazy, and warm. The plan was to do the classic and beautiful loop hike from Adirondak Loj, through Avalanche Pass and Lake, up the backside of Algonquin, and bag both Iroquois and Algonquin. Along for the hike were Jenn, myself, Caroline, and Brian. The trail from Adirondak Loj was quite hard-packed, so we bare-booted it all the way to Marcy Dam. It was a bit crisp starting off, but by the time we made it to the dam, it was quite warm. The sky was crystal clear and suprisingly, there were few to no people around. (I remembered later that this was Superbowl Sunday!). Avalanche Pass and Lake were beautiful, as usual. Avalanche Lake had beautiful stretches of clear, dark ice, in which many fascinating and interesting patterns could be seen. The way up the backside of Algonquin steep and extremely warm. I couldn't believe how spring-like it felt. It was definitely well above zero. The snow was firm enough, though, that crampons were all that we wore. We did not posthole at all. After a long and tiring and very steep 2000-foot ascent, we gained the main ridgeline. Although cooler up here near 5000 feet, it was still very warm for an early Feburary day. Caroline decided to skip Boundary/Iroquois, and headed up to Algonquin to await us. Crampons were very useful on the hard, crusty and icy bits going up and down over Boundary and Iroquois. Iroquois' summit was magnificent, with superb views everywhere. We reached the top of Algonquin late afternoon. Things started to get breezier and cooler on the summit. We therefore did not stay too long on top. It was much icier heading down the northwest side of Algonquin - crampons were very useful here. We then slipped and slid our way down the steep snowy trail, taking only a short 90 minutes to reach the main trail to Adirondack Loj. It was deep dusk by the time we made it back to the ADK parking lot. What a magnificent and warm winter hike! Two more for the winter 46er list!
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: February 2005 Algonquin - Iroquois Hike
Another loop climb of Algonquin via the 'back way'. Hiked in through Avalanche Pass and took the trail up from Lake Colden. The day was hot and hazy. On the climb up from Lake Colden, there were good (although hazy) views of the Trap Dike on Colden. I Took a little jog over to Boundary peak (Peter and Andree waited on the main trail going up Algonquin) to get some photos of the summit (of Algonquin) from a good vantage point. Enjoyed a (as usual) busy summit and then headed down the northside trail to Adirondak Loj.
A cold early winter day. Only a few inches of snow on the ground, not nearly enough for snowshoes. Pretty cloudy at the Loj but looked possibly hopeful - end the clouds seemed especially low. Nice hike through fluffy snow, except the combination of only a small amount of snow cover and a rocky trail made for slippery going. But... at about the 4000 foot level we climbed OUT of the clouds and over top of them into a brilliant sunny day. Looking back to the north, I could see Whiteface's snow dusted flanks rising out of the clouds! Excellent! I love this above-the-clouds effect and have never until this point ever experienced it in the mountains of the northeast. Feeling very pleased and lucky to have come up here during these conditions, we continue the ascent above treeline (with the help of crampons). There is not much snow, just some crusted ice. The summit view is fantastic, with a beautiful low-angle light view of the high peaks dusted with snow (in fact, the title banner to this whole section of my web page is a panorama taken from the summit on this hike). I hope to someday experience the same weather conditions while on an ADK high peak!
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: Algonquin, December 1999
A trip up the 'backside' of Algonquin, as it is called. Strange that this ended up being the first way up Algonquin for me. The guidebook describes this as the longest continuous ascent in the Adirdondacks (from Lake Colden up to Algonquin's peak). As always, the hike past Marcy Dam and through Avalanche Pass and Lake was very scenic. The hike upwards from Lake Colden was quite nice, with some nice mini-waterfalls and ever-increasing views back towards Colden, where the Trap Dike was especially prominent. Day was nice but warm and hazy. Up on the ridge, we took a side detour to visit Boundary, and then Iroquois, both nice peaks (Boundary not official being a peak, of course) with open summit areas. A fair bit of muck in some of the low points separating these two, though. Good view of Wallface from the summit of Iroquois. One final burn up the nice open alpine area on Algonquin and we were on top. The usual crowd was here, as was a summit steward, as I recall. From here we returned via the north side of Algonquin and down back to Adirondak Loj.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: Algonquin and Iroquois, June 1996