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Squanto Vogel 06-25-2017 10:38 PM

Dial, Nippletop, Mt. Colvin, Blake, Panther Gorge
Hi Everyone,

Has anyone ever started at St. Huberts Parking and hiked Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake, and then continued onto Panther Gorge in a day? The DEC rangers said I'm insane, but I'm going for it this Saturday with the expectation of a 14 hour hike, starting before sunrise. Any recommendations other than to not go?

bioguide 06-25-2017 11:12 PM


Originally Posted by Squanto Vogel (Post 259852)
Hi Everyone,

Any recommendations other than to not go?

TCD 06-25-2017 11:25 PM


Trail Boss 06-26-2017 09:47 AM

I used BRouter to calculate the dimensions of your proposed route. It's 16.1 miles long with 7000 feet of ascent. If this is well beyond what you normally do, then you may wish to devise a less challenging route.

After completing DNCB, you will descend the Elevator Shaft and enter the private property of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). Camping is not permitted in the AMR. In the event you are tired and wish to pitch camp before reaching Panther Gorge, you'll have to traverse the AMR and climb 1000 feet up the western side, along the Bartlett Ridge Trail, before you re-enter state land again (at Crystal Brook).

If you're too tired to commit to a full traverse of the AMR, your only camping option is to descend below 3500 and primitive-camp 50+ yards off the Elevator Shaft (but not below the AMR's property line which is ~2400 feet). This is a very steep slope and finding a suitable tent site will be challenging (hammock camping would be better).

tenderfoot 06-26-2017 12:15 PM

Have a plan for water. Weather report says 78F. Not terribly hot but with the distance you are talking about and if you are hauling camping gear.

I know, pretty basic, but that was the first thing I thought of. I really enjoy my water on a hike.

Have a great time!

debmonster 06-26-2017 08:00 PM

I haven't backpacked your exact route, but I've covered it in the course of a few separate backpack trips. Have you backpacked other trails in the High Peaks? I ask because my first backpack trip in the High Peaks was from the AMR parking lot over Noonmark and Dix to camp at Slide Brook, then around Elk Lake the next day to hike over Blake (had to skip Colvin) and Sawteeth, and out. I was used to backpacking 20 - 25 miles per day on the Appalachian Trail and similar trails, and would often backpack 15-20 miles in the Whites. However, I cut my expectations in half when I did the hike I mention above due to the rugged terrain, and it was a smart choice. The first day was about 12-13 miles and I felt quite good when we got into camp. The next day too.

So I think a lot depends on your experience in the High Peaks. If this is your first time, it might be too much. But if you've done other hikes and want more of a challenge, then I'd say start EARLY, pace yourself, and (as TCD recommended) pack light (without sacrificing anything essential). Also, have a contingency plan just in case it's tougher than you expected.

Squanto Vogel 06-28-2017 01:18 PM

Thank you for all of the valuable information folks.

Bioguide - I got a pair last year and they make a world of difference.

TCD - I will be starting with a 42 pound pack.

Trail Boss - I do appreciate the thought you put into giving me mitigation plans. I am leaning towards camping outside the western border of the AMR if I run out of time or energy. It is the longest day hike I have planned this year. The planned distance and ascent is a little bit more than what I have done in the past with the same pack, but it doesn't seem out of reach. I'm not too worried about finishing, just finishing on time.

Tenderfoot - I'll be starting with about 4L.

debmonster - I have backpacked many trails in the High Peaks region in the last couple of years. The trails are by no means a walk in the park, and I have learned some really, really tough lessons, especially weather related ones... I am able and ready.

debmonster 06-29-2017 03:51 PM

Very good to hear (except for the 42 pound pack part; yikes. :)) I hope that you have a great hike and that we get to read your trip report afterwards!

Neil 06-29-2017 06:48 PM

How do you plan on getting from Blake to Panther Gorge? Across Bartlett Ridge or via Pinnacle Ridge?

Whichever way you go that pack weight is going to be absolutely brutal. If you are going down the elevator shaft then at least you can drop it for Blake. When I did a lot of ambitious backpacking trips last summer my pack weight, depending on food and water on board oscillated between 20 and 25 pounds and I thought that was heavy. Perhaps you can ditch some items.

Squanto Vogel 07-05-2017 01:35 AM

debmonster - I consider about 95% of the weight of my pack to be essential for my 3.5 day hike. I should probably mention that I ascended 15 high peaks in the first three days - I packed a LOT of food to give myself enough fuel to get through it. Do you have any recommendations or ways that I can reduce some weight on my next solo hike? I got another one coming up in two weeks. I haven't done a ton of research, but I'm open to all suggestions - every ounce matters. My trip (DNCB) was a success - I started at 4am and it took a little over 12 hours. This includes the ice cold beverage that I had with the Warden for about an hour :)

Neil - I went up the Bartlett Ridge. The elevator shaft was a little tough but manageable - luckily, it started pouring after I completed my descent.

debmonster 07-05-2017 08:49 AM

Glad to hear that your hike went well. If you want, send me a PM with the weight of your gear and food, and I'll see if I have any ideas.

The ice cold beverage sounds like bonus trail magic! :)

Squanto Vogel 07-13-2017 09:58 PM

Sending you a PM now. Yes, the beverage was quite the treat

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