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Old 04-07-2017, 12:03 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 247
Wolfjaws considerations


Planning a hike to Upper Wolfjaw and Lower Wolfjaw this summer and looking for some input. Also thought I'd share my research to date for other noobs.

Sorry, it' a long read but I'm just thinking out loud and organizing my thoughts.

Seems the most common approaches are from Ausable Club (AMR) or The Garden. The Garden appears to be the consensus easier climb. Via Roostercomb seems to be a less popular approach.

Wolfjaws from The Garden: The software I use calculated 11.2 miles and 3574 feet of gross elevation gain. My NatGeo maps tells me it's closer to 12 miles. Note that the South Side Trail has been abandoned so you need to do some research if following the route I've mapped. Phelps Trail is the alternative, doesn't add much mileage, and would make a nice loop for some variety.

Wolfjaws from Ausable Club: The software I use calculated 11.0 miles and 3706 feet of gross elevation gain. My NatGeo maps tells me it's closer to 12 miles.

Wolfjaws via Roostercomb: The software I use calculated 11.4 miles and 5008 feet of gross elevation gain. It's not a route we're considering so I didn't use the map to get a more accurate mileage. Roostercomb itself is a side trail so it would add mileage and elevation.

If Roostercomb is on your to-do list this approach is a possibility. We're going to leave Roostercomb for a day hike with other family members. If you're an aspiring 46er you're going to do a lot of hiking from the Ausable Club and The Garden so this approach may be a consideration to add a little variety.

We're a fan of loops rather than out and backs so I was initially attracted to a combination of Ausable Club and The Garden (requiring 2 vehicles). Even though the approach from Ausable is more difficult I leaned towards that direction so that we could visit Tenderfoot Pools on the way out (perhaps our favorite spot in the park). The software I use calculated 10.8 miles and 3775 feet of gross elevation gain. My NatGeo maps tells me it's closer to 12 miles.

Of course, you can't research Lower Wolfjaw without encountering the Bennies Brook Slide approach. I initially rejected it as too difficult. But then I stumbled across this entry at

Bennies Brook Slide is amazing. Don't miss it. You don't have to be a technical slide climber to enjoy it. There are even nice level spots to sit and relax. Kids would love it. It's not a dangerous climb in my opinion.

Further research has led me to believe that it may be something we should consider. Hike in on Phelps, back past DEC station and up the slide, over to Upper Wolfjaw, down to Tenderfoot Pools and return to The Garden via South Side.

So looking for some feedback on the difficulty. The boys are 8 and 10.

Notable hikes to date:
  • Cascade and Porter: Easy, gave them the option of Porter when we reached the Cascade junction and they endorsed it enthusiastically.
  • Brothers Big Slide loop, return via South Side Trail: Went well, they left me in the dust up the Big Slide scramble. Noticeable fatigue and slowing on the Slide Mountain Brook descent. All good once we found level ground and the anticipation for Tenderfoot Pools started to grow.
  • Mount Adams: My 10 year old carries a lot more weight than his sibling and he struggled. There were tears. "Why did you take me on this hike?" "I hate this hike" "I'm never hiking again". But none of it was actually authentic. He did want to continue and it was just his way of communicating "This is tough". He looks back at the hike fondly and is proud of the accomplishment.

South Side Trail to Wolf Jaw Notch along Lower Wolfjaw Trail is 1.8 miles so I'm assuming Bennies Brook to Lower WolfJaw via the slide is similar. 2100 feet net elevation gain from start of slide to Lower Wolfjaw.

Mount Adams from East River Trail is 1.6 miles with 1650 feet net elevation gain.

So how would you compare Bennies Brook to Mount Adams? If it's significantly more difficult I think it's something we should leave until they're a bit older.

Thanks for reading,
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:45 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 35
Climbing Upper and Lower via an ascent from Bennie's Brook end of June last year. No bugs, but as it is exposed, fortunately it was not a full sun day. Yes seemed a bit tougher than Adams, but the post you pulled, was my decision maker. He is right, it is so much fun. Highly recommend. Dangerous? Well, not really, but one person did slide down a bit only because she was where she should not be. Just stay closer and warn of potential danger. Very low danger, but if you climb an approach it may get too steep then literally have to slide down 5 or 6 feet. I was five feet over and fine, just a rough choice going over instead of around a quick steep area. Yes, they, and you, will love it.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:58 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Hi AP. I've taken many kids up Bennies and they usually really love it! I consider it the best slide climb we have given that the approach is relatively short and there is no bushwacking to get to it. Because it has a longer approach and you are doing 2 mountains it is a harder day than just Adams but not an unreasonable day. And you can skip Upper if they are tired of course. The slide itself is straight forward except for the top. It gets steeper and looser (dirt and small rocks) near the top but if they watch their footing so as to not knock down any small rocks, it should be fine. You exit the slide just before the very top, on the left. Often a small carin marks the spot. A 7 minute hike up a herd trail leads you to the hiking trail and you turn right and hike a very steep 8 more minutes to the actual summit. I think coming in and going out on the South side trail is easiest and more fun. It is easiest to find the correct stream coming this way...Pass Tenderfoot Pools (coming up the South Side Trail from the Garden) and about 5 more minutes and you will hit Bennies Brook...
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Old 04-07-2017, 07:57 PM   #4
Hear the Footsteps
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I found your statistics interesting.

The hike to LWJ from the Ausable Club feels much more than just 132' more of elevation gain over that from the Garden. Going by the slide instead of by trail evens things out some.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:48 PM   #5
Trail Boss
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Up Bennies then down o'er Roostercomb.
Looking for views!
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Thanks for the responses.

Yes, I appreciate that the overall day is more difficult than Adams. As we continue our quest for 46 every hike will be likewise going forward.

But it sounds like the slide itself is reasonable for kids and not appreciably more difficult than Adams. I believe we will go for it.

The point about cutting out Upper Wolfjaw if things get to be too much is an excellent one.

Return over Roostercomb is attractive for some variety. But we're not doing the road so we would need 2 vehicles. Loop back to The Garden requires 1 vehicle and we get Tenderfoot Pools on the way out. The summits offer incentive on a "long" ascent and Tenderfoot will offer incentive on a "long" descent.

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