|Feb. 8, 2004 (Sun.)
|Elevation: 4240 feet; Order of Height: 28
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Markus Wandel, Caroline Doucet
The time had come to cross off Esther. We wanted to do a short winter hike (had to get back in time to take Caro out for her birthday). Sunday, Feb 8 presented us with a brief window of clear but cool sunny winter weather (pretty windy, too). The plan was to ascend Esther via the 'north basin' direct route (for lack of a better term). This route starts off from the Whiteface Memorial highway toll road about 800 metres above the toll booth. The road crosses the main drainage down the north side of Esther at this point. The route goes up this drainage on the left side of the stream.
We had some relatively good tracks to follow, and that helped immensely. The tracks stayed on the left side of the drainage (when viewed looking up), and, as we got higher, the tracks veered a bit more to the east, through some thick and troublesome foliage, to the east ridge of Esther, about 700 metres from its summit. At this point there is an excellent viewpoint down the other side of the ridge and into vermont, as well as a unique perspective on Whiteface's summit. The bushwack along the east ridge to the summit is mostly pretty nice, with a few craggy bits, some nice views, and generally good hiking (not much tangled underbrush). Near the very summit we lost our benefactor's snowshoe tracks and did a little bit of thrashy bushwacking through some thick stuff. That was soon over, however, and we summitted just before 11am. Many good views in most directions, including to Whiteface itself. We looked around extensively for a summit sign on a tree but could find none (discovered later that Esther has a summit _placque_ on a rock, so that's why we didn't see it). Many summit photos were taken, and soon we were heading back down the way we came up, which went clickety-click, and in no time we were back at the toll road, and then to the car, at around 12:30. Short n' sweet! This marks my 41st 46er peak and my 11th winter 46er peak.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: February 2004 Esther Mountain Climb