The light breeze was coming from the west, so we took shelter on the sunlit east side of the summit block. It didn't really warm us up all that much, however, and we were not encouraged to make an extended stay on the spot. We formed up for some summit shots, admired the scenery around us, and then began our descent down at about 7:45 a.m.
A quick descent of the open slabs brought us back to treeline, where we crunched down the satisfyingly grippy snow to the main trail, and from there back down towards the ADK Loj area. We began to encounter the first of the "normal" morning hikers, heading up for their own summit adventures. Two became four, then four became eight, and soon eight became many more. Over the course of our descent, we encountered quite a large number of people coming uphill. Pent-up outdoor enthusiasm on a clear, cold weekend morning in January.
Continuing to encounter groups of people - both large and small - going in the opposite direction, we crunched our way back to the trailhead. In the morning light, we noted how little snowpack there was down at the 2000-foot level. In places, there was simply bare ground.
We arrived back at an extremely early 9:58 a.m. - one of the earliest day-hike returns I've done in a long while. We celebrated a successful outing with a stop at Simply Gourmet & Big Mountain Deli
in Lake Placid, where we had a post-hike brunch. They have a "46 Sandwiches" selection available, and in honor of our recent summit, I had #16 - the Wright Peak sandwich (minus the cucumber).