|Jan. 12, 2003 (Sun.)
TableTop Mountain [Failed to Summit]
|Elevation: 4427 feet; Order of Height: 19
|Participants: Markus Wandel, Andrew Lavigne
My impression of Tabletop was of a mountain with no particular views, given the descriptions I'd heard or seen. So, I thought that perhaps a winter ascent would raise the ground level enough to offer them [ie- some views]. The position of Tabletop meant that if one could get a view, it probably be very good. So, Markus and I decided to head out early one January morning to try and make it to the top. We started off at the ADK Loj parking lot and quickly snowshoed to Marcy dam, where there was some neat early-morning cloud-and-sun lighting. I decide that we'd do a little loop by taking the Lake Colden trail as far as the cutoff trail to Indian Falls, then over to Indian Falls and from there up to Tabletop. Things went quite well, and I especially enjoyed the remote feeling on the Indian Falls cutoff trail, which was all drifted over and which looked like it had not seen any activity for a while.
At Indian Falls, we stopped for a food break and were treated to a nice opening in the clouds all the way over to Algonquin Peak. From here we attempted to find the herd path. I based my search on some sketchy info I had from an older ADK guide; We went up and down the trail from around Indian Falls up to about 1/3 mile above that on the Van Hoevenberg trail, but I couldn't see any sign of tracks in the deep snow. I wasn't sure if it had just snowed a lot since someone had last been up, or if in fact we weren't looking in the right range to find the herd path. After a bit of this, I decide that maybe we should just try and bushwack up and to the left, hoping eventually to cross the herdpath partway up. Well, this turned out to be quite an odyssey: The snow was fluffy and deep, and there were many spruce traps and thickly intergrown brush. It was so bad that it took us an hour to go only a few hundred metres! At that point it was obvious that we should turn around or risk bushwacking totally in the dark, so after some slow backtracking we reach the Van Hoevenberg trail, much more tired than when we left it. We had a quick food break, but, being tired and cold (we were totally covered in snow), realized that we should get moving and warm ourselves up. We hiked back in the growing dusk and chalked this one up as a failure. Mental Note: More careful advance study of herdpath routes (especially for winter climbs) needed!
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: January 2003 Tabletop Mountain hike