Tagging along with Julie and Mike to Haystack, as they aspire to complete their 4th round of the ADK 46.
Decided to reach Haystack from South Meadows - a slightly less orthodox but still quite viable approach to the Adirondack's third highest peak. Weather started off with low cloud but with a forecast of burn-off and clear skies later. Walk in along South Meadows truck trail fast and easy. Catching Van Hoevenberg trail, continued on up past Indian Falls (some nice views through the breaking clouds) and up onto the high terrain north of Marcy's summit. Reached high point with Phelps Trail at 4800 feet. Noted that VH trail has many smooth stretches and is overall only moderately rough by Adirondack standards (I guess it has been a while since I've done the VH without snow cover).
Descent 700 ft along Phelps Trail to head of Panther Gorge was rough and tedious, as was 600 ft ascent back up to first of Haystack's sub-summits. Excellent view of Haystack Ridgeline from here as usual. Soon emerged onto Little Haystack and enjoyed wonderful alpine scenery. Over the top of Little Haystack, down the scramble, then continued on main ridgeline to summit. Superb views as usual, and I repeat statement that to do this peak in poor visibility would be a shame.
Return journey without major incident, and found it quite an easy stroll after completing the tedious down-and-up back to the Van Hoevenberg Trail.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: July 2016 Haystack Mountain Climb
Today was the day: Saturday, February 23: the day to attempt our final winter 46 peak.
Jenn and I, having just completed Marcy, Gray and Skylight just a week before, were at 45 out of 46, with only Haystack remaining. Ewart had two: Basin and Haystack, and so in order to accommodate this, we co-ordinated with Ewart so that he would start out on the trail an hour before us, summit Basin, and then join with us on our ascent of Haystack (for those of you who don't know, Basin is a peak adjacent to Haystack). Also along for the adventure today was Phuong, a co-worker of mine and an avid, aspiring adventurer.
There was a light dusting of fresh snow, perhaps an inch or so, and the trail was well-packed. The sky overhead was gray, and it was very lightly snowing, but I felt confident enough in the forecast to not be too worried. Sure enough, as we hiked along, the sky brightened, turning a yellow-y color, and before long we could see breaks in the overcast to our south. It wasn't long after that that the skies cleared completely, developing into a calm and beautiful sunny morning.
Phuong was experiencing a bit of a food bonk, and as a result we slowed our pace a bit and stopped for several restorative snack breaks. Also at about that time, a fellow hiker who we'd met the week before on Gray had charged up behind us to join our climb.
At the Shorey Shortcut, we parted ways. They kept on the shorter, straighter route, and I veered left onto the Shorey Short cut trail to meet up with Ewart, who was over on Basin. We'd meet up again near the base of Little Haystack.
Ewart hadn't yet finished with Basin, so I broke the Range trail up to Little Haystack alone, then met up with Jason, Jenn, and Phuong, and go the explanation for the late arrival: Phuong's knee was bugging her, so she was going very slowly and was going to turn back. Jason had missed the unbroken trail junction and had accidentally summitted Marcy.
Jenn, Jason and I made our way over to Little Haystack, finding the steep descent of the far side of it a little challenging. We then proceeded up, under increasingly-clearing skies, through the beautiful alpine terrain to the summit, where we hugged and celebrated the last of our winter peaks.
Ewart came up shortly thereafter, having caught us up after doing Basin. We waited for him and did a quick re-summit so that all three new winter 46ers could stand on Haystack's summit together.
A beautiful hike down through the late day light, a quick descent on the now well-packed trail, and a few hours of power-walking brought us to the warming hut near JBL and reunited us with Phuong. From there, it was another hour and a bit in darkness back to the Garden, where Mark and Linda Perry had a wonderful congratulatory greeting and gift-set for us. Quite a memorable day!
See the image gallery link below for a much more detailed writeup, and the set of pictures, graphs, maps, and GPS data.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: February 2008 - Finishing the Winter 46: Haystack Mountain
Back in November of 2001, while Markus and Lorraine and I were watching the Leonid Meteor Storm on top of Noonmark mountain in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, we learned, through some other star gazers, of a famous and challenging hike known as the "solstice hike". This is a hike where one traverses the entire Great Range in a single day. Yes, you heard right - in one single day, usually around the summer solstice, when days are longest. Eight of the highest peaks in NY state, around 35 kilometres total length, and all in one day. We were impressed at such a hard hike had a name and a following. However, at the time, it just seemed like a crazy outing for folks with more stamina than brains. As a few more years slipped by, and, as we got more into ADK 46er hiking, the thought of this legendary outing took on a more tangible and attainable quality - but, for one reason or another, we were never able to pull together the right conditions to tackle it - until this year (2004). We managed to cobble together five enthusiastic challengers of this legendary hike: myself, Pu, Caroline, Markus, and Luc. Now, I won't go into a large amount of detail in this trip log - a very complete writeup is available via the image gallery link below. But, in summary, suffice it to say we did it, and we did it in good style, not injuring anyone, keeping well hydrated and fed, and experiencing some of the best summits of the Adirondacks on a cool and beautiful June day.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: June 2004 Solstice / Great Range Hike
An ambitious hike, this one. I wanted to do Haystack, never having done it before, but didn't feel like hiking all the way in and back from the Garden trailhead. So.... I propose a two-car point-to-point, starting at Elk Lake and traversing over Haystack, and ending up at the Garden. For some reason, Brian and Peter agreed to this! We spent a bit of time in the morning arranging the vehicles, one at Elk Lake, and one at the Garden. Then we were off, on an excellent sunny day. The hike through the Elk Lake area crosses many 'private' paths belonging to whatever club/organization owns that section of land. Our first test is climbing over the Colvin-Blake-Boreas range of peaks, through a fairly low pass. From there, down to Marcy Swamp, with some good low-altitude unique views of the high peaks. Lots of good boardwalks over the marshy areas - nice area. From there it is a slow rise into Panther Gorge up to the Panther Gorge lean-to. We stop for a good break here, and then tackle the real ascent, up the backside of Haystack. Very steep and nicely isolated (haven't encountered anyone so far today). Soon we are above treeline with excellent views into the gaping gulf of Panther Gorge - definitely the most impressive basin of this sort in the high peaks region. Soon, the summit is conquered - and an excellent summit it is, being nicely out in the open and narrow and elongated. We continued our traverse by heading northeast down towards Little Haystack. Getting on top of Little Haystack requires some fun scrambly climbing, too. Too bad it isn't a peak in its own right, because Little Haystack is quite nice. From Little Haystack we headed down towards Slant Rock and then on down towards Johns Brook Valley. We were encountering other hikers now, including one lady who had decided to hike topless! It was not soon after this that Brian started to wonder about whether or not he had his keys with him. Finally, at one rest stop, he had a thorough look and to his dismay discovered that the keys to his car (which was at the end of our hike) were back in Peter's car (which was at the start of the hike), now probably 20+ kilometres behind us! This was a pickle we'd gotten ourselves into... We needed some way to get all the way back to the Elk Lake trailhead, which by road must have been at least 40 or 50 kilometres. Rental Car? not in Keene Valley! Hitchhiking? what is the chance of finding someone going to Elk Lake, of all places? Not good. At the very least we hoped to catch the Shuttle bus that runs down to Keene Valley from the parking lot, and manage what we could from there (maybe a taxi). Only one problem: the Shuttle ran until 7pm and we were still a ways from the trailhead and 7pm was approaching! So... I offered to jog the whole remainder of the way back to try and flag down the Shuttle driver and get him or her to wait. I made it *just* in time, and did manage to get the Shuttle bus driver to wait. Not long after, Peter and Brian arrived, and as we were getting driven back down to Keene, explained our situation to the driver. In the end, we managed to convince the driver to drive us all the way to the Elk Lake trailhead (with a little payment, of course). Close call, that! This ended up being one of my longest day hikes ever, at over 35 km! Quite an adventure!
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: Haystack, July 1999