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Old 11-28-2018, 07:22 PM   #1
ADKBrianW
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Esther Bushwhack

Has anyone bushwhacked due west off of Esther back to the Whiteface Highway? I'm considering a Whiteface/Esther loop this winter. Ascend via the highway to Whiteface, then on to bag Esther to the north. Looking at the map it would look to be a short hike due west back to the highway and back down to the parking lot. Having never hiked this I'm wondering about the terrain and vegetation. I've read some horror stories in the forums about how dense the tree growth can be up there at least on the north side of Esther.

Am I crazy?
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:55 PM   #2
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My guess is if you wait until later int he season so snowpack gets deep it would not be bad. Now would still be pretty unconsolidated. Have never been in that stretch, so just a hunch on my part. Would be a fun trip.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:24 AM   #3
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I think there used to be such a path leading West to the highway, but don't take my word for it. I was there a few weeks ago (on the herd path) and from my recollection the vegetation was indeed quite dense in that area - essentially a young coniferous forest.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:20 AM   #4
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You might want to plot a course that avoids the cliffy parts.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.3...a=c%2Cmba%2Csf

330 (True) to Esther's northern sub-summit then 310 to the road.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
You might want to plot a course that avoids the cliffy parts.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.3...a=c%2Cmba%2Csf

330 (True) to Esther's northern sub-summit then 310 to the road.
Or, back-track a short distance on the trail then head due west.

I went up and down Esther from the road in winter once. I left the road at about 2450 feet and aimed more or less south. I hit the NE ridge between 3600 and 3800 feet and followed it to the summit. Other than some very deep snow, it was straightforward. I thought that the sub-summit would be a worthy goal due to the open rock.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips. Will probably try this one later in the winter season.
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Old 12-22-2019, 12:40 AM   #7
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Other Esther whack routes?

Picking this back up, I'm wondering if a whack northeast off the Esther summit, then down along the ridge line and due north to the road might work well? It'd be only a bit over a mile from the looks of it.

Proposed route (drawn by hand): https://caltopo.com/m/D1AE

Of course I have no idea of the density of this route; I just know I've read of the west approach being pretty dense and cliff-prone. But the old USGS does seem to indicate a path due west from the summit of Lookout Mountain.

-Erik
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:58 AM   #8
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It'll be dense with alder or spruce no matter how you go but in deep snow pack you may be above much of it. I ascended/descended Esther from at least 4 directions many years ago and I doubt it changed much, though I could sometimes hit pieces of the old ski paths which had filled in thickly with alders which, thick or not, are easier than punching through spruce.
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Old 12-22-2019, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HikerSinger View Post

Proposed route (drawn by hand): https://caltopo.com/m/D1AE
I did it by that route one winter although I was more over to the east and hit the ridge at around 1050 meters. 4 hours up in deep snow and 1 down in my tracks.

Recently I did E directly from the ASRC and went due west to about 850 then WSW to the summit. There were some spectacular views along the way and also some very thick woods. I more or less followed an imaginary line just above the tighter contours deviating N when the going got rough. I exited via the exposed knob NNW of E and highly recommend this feature, which is much more interesting than the actual summit. Between E and the knob there was a very faint herd path and the woods were open on the ridge crest. With good snow pack (ie. 5-6 feet min.) I would exit the knob WNW to the road. Last summer I didn't like the looks of the woods so I exited ENE then gradually curved N to the road. It was pretty steep but open enough higher up and lower down the woods alternated between open and not open at all. Pictures (scroll down half-way for Esther pics)

With bushwhacking you pays your money and you takes your chances. Bushwhackers mantra: it can't last forever. Studying Sat imagery can be a help as can favoring E and N exposures.
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