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Dec. 18, 2005 (Sun.)
Elevation: 4627 feet; Order of Height: 12
Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Graham Ashford, Jennifer Innes, Ewart Tempest
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Today was planned as an 'intro day' for any new hikers wanting to be introduced to Winter Hiking in the Adirondacks. As it turned out, only seasoned veterans showed up (ok, well, Graham isn't a seasoned veteran yet.... let's call him an honorary seasoned veteran).
(If you'd like to see this text inline in the image gallery for this hike, follow the image gallery link at the bottom of this page)

As we drove down to the High Peaks region, I kinda drifted away from our initial 'easy hike' idea (which was going to be Noonmark and Round) towards doing a 4000-footer. The clouds looked low and thin, and if there was a chance of getting above them, I wanted that. Jenn and Graham had expressed an interest in doing a 4000-footer, and neither Noonmark or Round satisfied that. And we needed something not too long, because we were going to be starting at 9:30am at the trailhead and it was practically the shorted day of the year. So.... the mind wandered to Giant - right next door to our originally-intended trailhead, had a beautiful scenic ridge ascent, was fairly high (to hopefully get above clouds if it came to that), and was a 4000-footer that neither Jenn nor Graham had done. So there it was: our new objective: Giant, via the ridge trail.

As I'd say there was about 6-10 inches of snow on the first part of the ascent, from the highway to the top of the first cliff bands. Mostly ok, but a few rocks, branches and boulders still poking through. Another foot should take care of that!

The day was turning out to be glorious, with about 60 to 70% of the sky a clear, solid blue. And no wind, either!

It did not take us very long to get onto the ridge proper, and soon thereafter we were hiking up through the many open and extremely scenic open spots on the ridge. This is a very very scenic bit of trail, especially with the beautiful weather conditions we were experiencing today. Good snowshoe conditions, not very cold, no wind, and almost completely clear!

As we were munching on our lunchies, we were pleased to see Ewart make the summit 15 minutes after we arrived. Good show!

The sun briefly came out, illuminating the trees gloriously against a dark background.

The way down... could best be described as fast and furious! The snow conditions were perfect for a nice, fast, cushy descent. Couldn't ask for better! one hour and roughly forty minutes later, we were back at the car, making it a very respectable five hours and forty minutes or so since we left. Good job, all, and really, quite a fantastic little hike!

Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
 Image Gallery: December 2005 Giant Mountain Hike

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