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Jan. 22, 2012 (Sun.)
Elevations: 4867 feet, 4240 feet; Order of Height: 5, 28
Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes, Brian Connell, Harold Piel
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You could call this a 'Helping Harold' hike: helping him, that is, to achieve his newest goal of becoming a winter 46R.

Originally Brian and Harold were going to do Whiteface and Esther as a there-and-back via the Wilmington Trail. I convinced them instead to go for a shorter and [allegedly] easier loop that started and ended at the toll road gate and utilized a bushwhack route between the auto road and the summit of Esther.

A crisp winter morning saw us briskly walking up the auto road. Things went well, and we arrived at the summit in just under three hours. Beautiful views, good conditions, no wind. Onwards we went on a broken out Wilmington Trail over to the Esther herdpath. The herdpath was in perfect shape - pretty much as good as any hiking trail, really. We arrived at the summit of Esther not long after noon. Motoring we were!

After a good lunch, we set about on the biggest unknown (and potentially the most onerous) part of our day - a bushwhack descent down off of Esther to the auto road. I had done this before, back in 2004 with Markus and Caroline, and remembered as being a bit brushy but not too bad. Well... I remembered wrong. It was bad - thick, difficult, slow bushwhacking. Although the total distance from summit to road was just around 2km, it took us nearly four hours to do it! Something must have been different between 2004 and now, because in 2004 it took us that much time to ascend and descend the very same route. Perhaps it was the depth of the snowpack! Anyway, we made it, in just around 9 hours total. Not a bad overall time, I guess.

Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
 Image Gallery: January 2012 Whiteface-Esther Loop Hike

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