Today was the day that my good friend Brian Connell (and friend Harold Piel) had chosen to complete their Adirondack 46, and Brian had invited me along on this momentous occasion. Both Brian and Harold had several peaks in the Dix Range yet to do, so we worked out an itinerary that covered the superset of them: Grace (formerly East Dix), South Dix (Carson), Macomb, and Hough. And, I convinced them to involve the lovely Boquet River valley in the approach.
We started off on a pleasant and crisp late fall day from the herdpath start on Route 73. The previous evening had seen a light dusting of snow fall, and we were slightly worried about one of our possible ascents -- up the Great Slide of Grace -- being too slick to climb. We waited until deciding for sure, however, until we got to its base. The alternative was a bushwhack up to the Hough-Dix col, a route that I'd done a few winters ago.
It was (as usual) a delightful but somewhat long walk up the Boquet Valley herdpath. A group of beavers have been very busy in the valley of the North Fork of the Boquet River, causing extensive flooding.
To my disappointment, Grace's slide turned out to be fully covered with a thin layer of snow. We still decided to ascend in that direction, picking our way up along the edge of it. However, in doing so, we stumbled upon a very good herdpath that leads up in the woods to the right of the slide. This led very nicely to a spot along the Grace-South Dix ridge herd path. From there it was a simple walk along a slightly snowy and icy herd path to Grace.
The rest of the peak summitting went pretty much as planned. There was no extensive snow or ice making life too difficult, and the views, temperature, and wind were all very acceptable for a hike at this time of year. Harold reached #46 on Macomb shortly after 2pm, and Brian's 46th was reached two hours later on Hough. I brought along a fresh 46R patch for them to triumphantly hold on the summits. Congrats, guys!
We bushwhacked down from the Hough-Dix col to the Boquet River valley, discovering that it is more suited as a deep-of-winter bushwhack route. Still, it's not a bad way to go, if required. Following that descent, a long walk out via headlamp rounded out the day.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: October 2010 46R Completion Hike for Brian and Harold in the Dix Range
Our new friends Linda and Mark are on track to make this day the day that they finally achieve the last of their winter 46er peaks, and have invited us along with them. The last peak they need is Hough Peak, in the Dix Range. Happily, this coincides with my and Jenn's need for Dix and Hough Peak.
The weather is overcast, with a more-or-less continues cascade of light snow and flurries. Based on the forecast we had seen before starting the hike, we have no expection at all of a nice day with clear views. Such is life!
It is a long trudge in over partially broken-out trail. We eventually break out onto an open slide on the face of Dix, and choose to hike up it, rather than follow the trail across the slide and back into the woods. The slide is an alluring alternative, offering a steady, open ascent with good quality snow conditions. Unfortunately, a little bushwacking after exiting the slide takes away from the overall enjoyment!
We are now quite close to the summit of Dix. All that is left is a short but steep climb up the crest to the summit. It is quite windy out, and with all of the recent fresh snow there is a fair bit of it blowing about. There is pretty much no visibility -- I can't see any surrounding peaks. I put on my face mask and goggles and make my way up the final few hundred feet.
Since our objective for the day included Hough Peak (especially important to our soon-to-be winter 46ers....!), we needed to continue on, over the summit of Dix, and onto Hough peak, which lay in waiting on the other side.
It is a long but straightforward bushwack from Dix to Hough. We leave our packs at the col between Dix and Hough, and quickly climb up to the summit of Hough. There are many high-fives and congrats all around - well done to the three new winter 46ers!
We decide to return via the more direct and shorter Boquet River route, so we return to the col and head, east, down into the valley and out to Route 73. A good and fairly open descent route!
See the image gallery link below for a more detailed writeup and the set of pictures.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: March 2007 Dix and Hough and 3 new winter 46ers
With the 2007 winter climbing season drawing to a close, we wanted to ramp up the climbing. Initially thinking of Allen, we switched to the Dixes when we heard of other groups going in (and as a result, having broken trails to follow).
After much planning and re-planning, we set out on Sunday, March 11, using the Boquet River approach. The ambitious plan was to summit all five dixes this way. We had seven in total, with several people from the adk forum joining us.
We were fortunate to have a track to follow for about 3/5ths of the way to the Grace Slide. From there, it was not-too-bad trailbreaking to the base of the Grace Slide. It was quite tough to climb the slide, and as a result we all reached the summit of Dix at around noon (we started at 5am from route 73).
From there we had a broken path to south Dix and Macomb, but not to Hough. We therefore skipped Hough and Dix, and did a traverse over Macomb, down its slide, and on to Elk Lake, where the daughter of two of the members in our group was waiting for us with a car. A great day, and three more winter peaks down!
See the image gallery link below for a more detailed writeup and the set of pictures.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: March 2007 Grace-South Dix-Macomb Traverse
Markus wanted to 'catch up' to me on his 46er count with a hope towards summitting our final 46er peak together. He hadn't yet done the Dixes, and from doing it before I knew it was a great hike, so I decided to do it again with him. We went down on a Sunday that promised good weather - Ewart also came along, for the fun of it (as this would be his third time at least on each of these peaks), and worrying about being too slow, he went down in advance and started 2 hours before us. We had FRS radios for communications so that we could meet up at some point. It was no problem finding the herdpath turnoff, right after Slide Brook. Unfortunately, the low clouds had not lifted, and we were soon ascending into cloud. The trail was followable but somewhat tortuous, winding around and up and down, sometimes through annoying blowdown. Eventually the trail descended into slide brook, which soon turned into a real slide - but this one is different, being full of gravel and scree. Very unusual for the Adirondacks, but very interesting. We reached top of Macomb in fairly short order, due to the direct and steep nature of the slide. The views had opened up, with some interesting above-and-below cloud views. Pretty nice, all in all. We had established radio contact with Ewart, who was a couple of peaks ahead of us. We'd have to try to catch up! The weather, although forecast to be clear, was actually mostly cloudy, although at altitudes that created some pretty dramatic effects. The hike over to South Dix from Macomb was pretty easy, really. The approach to South Dix is quite spectacular, with some nice open rock along the way. At the summit of South Dix, we met Ewart backtracking from Grace on his way to Hough, so we had a brief Pow-wow. We were then off to Grace ourselves, sometimes in the clouds, sometimes not. Grace's summit is quite excellent for a peak that is barely over 4000 feet. Open and lots of views everywhere. Next on the agenda was a hike all the way back to South Dix, and then on towards Hough Peak, a pointy summit not far from Dix. The trail goes through a lot of elevation gain and loss on this section, so maybe that's why they called the peak 'Hough' (pronounced 'Huff', as in Huff and Puff, maybe?). The summit of Hough, although treed, has lots of really nice viewpoints and has a good steep pointy feeling. This is also where we get very good views of the pointy side of Dix and the Beckhorn (a subsummit of Dix). We arrive at Dix's summit mid-afternoon. The weather, although not clear, has lifted considerably, and the interplay of dark clouds and patches of sun creates dramatic lighting effects. Dix is an excellent summit, well-positioned and with views of the immediate rugged surroundings as well as views of the more distant Great Range. A very very enjoyable day to be up there. And, this is where we catch up with Ewart! Finally we'll actually be able to hike together! We head down via the Beckhorn on a very nice bit of trail. Down below things get a bit muggy and buggy (overall the bug situation was quite good for the entire day), and so the last bit out on the trail was a bit of a slog. We stopped to purify a bit more water.... but basically trudged right out to the trailhead, finishing at a pretty reasonable 6:30pm.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: July 2004 Dix Range Hike
This was a fairly ambitious day... actually, my most ambitious Adirondack outing (by peak count) ever: five 46er peaks in one go. Along for the ride were PG, Lorraine, and her manager, Trisha. As I recall, it was actually pretty nice day - warm and sunny. I had a bit of difficulty locating and following the herd path up towards Macomb mountain, but more or less it went up near slide brook. Higher up it opened up into a rubbly slide, which was nice, although I recall it was pretty hot out in the open. The summit of Macomb mountain was more-or-less treed in, without any super-good views. From there, we made our way along towards the three-way junction between the paths for Macomb, Grace/South Dix, and Hough Peak. South Dix had a summit register but no real views to speak of. Grace's summit was much better - it was totally open. An excellent summit for such a relatively low elevation. After retracing our steps back to the junction, we mad our way over steep ups and downs to brushy Hough peak; a few views from this summit, despite the brush, with the Beckhorn on Dix being especially prominent from here. Upon reaching the beckhorn, Lorraine decided she'd had enough and skipped the short detour to the summit of Dix. We returned and descended via the Beckhorn and hiked the long flats back to the Elk lake trailhead.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery : August 2000 Climb: Macomb, Hough, and the Dixes
BUGS...if there is one thing I remember about this hike, it was these infernal pests. Apparently we'd arrived in the thick of black fly season, and I can understand the Voyageur's insanity after this one. They attacked us the instant we got out of the car at the Elk Lake trailhead (actually, I could swear I could see them swarming around the car even before we got out of it). From Elk Lake, the long flat section of hiking went by uneventfully except for the annoying insects. We ascended the ridge up to the Beckhorn, which was a very cool airy ledge with huge flat slabs of rock - an excellent stopping point - even better than the real summit, in my opinion. From the Beckhorn it is a gentle and quick hike to the true summit of Dix, which, although mostly open, suffers from having a bit too much brush and low trees to make it feel truly open. Nevertheless, good visibility in all directions and a good, if a bit distant, view of the Great Range. We returned via Hunter's pass, which is nice but not as interesting as the Beckhorn route. The long flat hike out from the base of Dix to Elk Lake was agonizing with the Bugs. PG and I wore our goretex jackets with hoods fully drawn, even though it was a warm and sunny day, just to keep the amount of exposed skin to a minimum. PG has since purchased a bug hat.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery : May 1999 Mount Dix Climb