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Oct 2, 1999 (Sat)
Elevations: 3035 feet, 4420 feet, 4627 feet; Order of Height: 152, 20, 12
Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Peter Krug, Lorraine Hughes
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My friend Ewart had always told me that the traverse over Rocky Peak was one of the best outings in the Adirondacks. This route is usually done as a point-to-point, starting at a trailhead on route 9N or at the Giant Mountain trailhead on Route 73. There is a lot of elevation gain and loss on this hike, including many ups and downs over subsidiary bumps and peaks along the ridge. Myself, Lorraine, and Peter decided to do this one fine fall day. We started at the route 9N trailhead. As a pleasant start, a nice uphill trail climbs through unusually open woods (at least by Adirondack standards). Not only that, the trail is not 'bouldery' like many other Adirondack trails. Not long after that and a brief steep section the first of the open cobbles is reached (blueberry cobble, I think). There are very neat sections of nice trail winding over the tops of these cobbles with many little lookouts. The vegetation is somehow different on this trail (compared to most of the Adirondacks), seeming less coniferous and more open. After these pleasant cobbles, a steep down-and-up col marks the start of the next major part of the climb up to bald peak. A few scrambly bits and lots of good lookouts, culminating with an excellent summit at bald peak with lots of open rock. From here you can see views of most of the ridge you must follow, and it can look a bit daunting from here, because you can see a lot of the up and down that you have yet to do. Lorraine was still breaking in some new boots and was suffering from a few blisters, and so we stopped and fixed her feet up. The trail then follows the ridge westward, often in the open, sometimes near short cliffs, past some very large glacial erratics. Good views of fall foliage down below.

Next comes the part that I liked the least, which was first a descent of a few hundred feet, then a long relatively boring ascent up to the main Rocky Peak Ridge section. Once past that, things got better again, with some good bits of a ridge that had lookouts, and then a very neat little lake tucked up on the ridge, called Lake Mary Louise. Once around that we emerged out into the very nice partially open meadows of the summit area of Rocky Peak. There were nice long sections of open hiking, and relatively easy grades. Soon the open summit of Rocky Peak is reached, at which point I took some closeup shots of Lorraine's boots at the summit marker. From here you get an excellent look at the back of Giant mountain, with some large slides visible, and also of the deep col between yourself and Giant. After having hiked up and down all of that elevation so far, this looks pretty tiring, since the trail goes all the way down to the bottom of the col and then practically all the way up to Giant's summit before starting its descent down into Keene Valley and the ending trailhead.

Anyway, there was nothing to be done but to do it, so down and up we went, huffing and puffing but knowing that this was our last big ascent and after this it was all downhill. Near the summit of Giant we took the short couple-of-minutes detour to visit Giant's summit, and then it was down via the Roaring Brook trail. Dusk fell as we descended and we finished that last kilometre or two with headlamps. Not a long hike distance-wise, but still fairly difficult because all of the elevation gain and loss. An excellent hike, though - lots of variety, lots of scenery.

Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
 Image Gallery: Oct 1999 Rocky Peak and Giant hike.


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