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We practically had to pull Andrew and Larry away from the lookouts, such was their reluctance to leave views of Schroon Lake. But upwards we had to continue, for we weren't going particularly fast and we still had quite a long way to go before reaching the summit. It was nearly 9 a.m., and we were still barely over 2,000 feet of elevation.
courtesy LChasnoff
Andrew, Lookout
Schroon L Closeup
Questers climbing
Shortly after 9 a.m., we reached a very interesting spot along the ridge. After having bushwhacked through some slightly heavier (but still fairly easily passable) forest, we emerged into an open area, footed with a curiously round moss-covered dome of bedrock. The dome sat right astride the ridge, and our climbing path led directly over it. Behind the dome was a beautiful open stretch of forest, and above, a very steep rise in the ridge. All in all, a very scenic spot.
courtesy LChasnoff
The mossy dome
Andrew on the Dome
The clear-eyed quester
Beyond the dome the ridge's gradually ascent is interrupted with a very steep step, perhaps 250 feet high. An open forest grows along its lower and middle slopes, so you clearly see the grade. the ground itself was vegetated with grasses and low bushes that contained a bit of bramble.
courtesy LChasnoff
Up the steeps
Steep rise
Steep, open glade
There was a vague sense of trampled vegetation that hinted at a herd path, and this is what we followed as we carefully toiled up this steep stretch. In a few places there were some easily dislodged boulders.

Upon reaching the top of the steep grade, we were rewarded with a small open grassy area with good views to the south and east. An excellent place for a mid-morning break and snack stop.
courtesy LChasnoff
Paradox Lake
Mike, the tireless one
Ridgecrest View
From the lookout, we were able to see a pretty broad swath of land to the south-east. Much of Schroon Lake was now visible, as were the various smaller ponds in the nearer foreground. The morning sun had burned away virtually all of the low-lying morning cloud, and we had an almost entirely clear sky.
courtesy LChasnoff
courtesy LChasnoff
Morning snack Break
Webs, lots and lots of webs
Conifers arrive
Continuing on after our break, the ridgecrest broadened out, and we started to encounter slightly more difficult bushwhacking conditions. We strove to maintain the eastern side of the ridgecrest, and indeed found that it was a bit more open. As we approached the 3000-foot mark, we started to notice the more frequent appearance of coniferous trees. This is often the level where the really difficult bushwhacking begins on Adirondack peaks.

On Hoffman's south ridge, however, the way forward was often still fairly open, even above 3,000 feet. We passed through several open, fern-filled glades that offered quite easy passage. Quite unusual for the Adirondacks.
courtesy LChasnoff
Julie and Andrew
Questers at 3000
Picking the way
Our progress was somewhat slower than we had hoped, and we were still over a mile away from the summit by the time noon rolled around. Likely this was the result of the extended length of bushwhacking that we had to do - even though we had had a relatively easy time of it. We had originally hoped to arrive at the summit before 11 a.m.
courtesy LChasnoff
courtesy LChasnoff
Climbing ever upwards
Limited western views
Typical upper ridge terrain
The final mile to the summit was through somewhat more typical thick coniferous brush, but fortunately, a vague but more continously followable herd path helped us get through this reasonably easily.
courtesy LChasnoff
Upper ridge porthole
Faint Herd Path
Upper Ridge brushiness
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