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Old 05-22-2005, 03:57 PM   #1
soco7tyx7
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"Great Range Traverse"

I saw this article in the May issue of Backpacker about the Great Range Traverse. Apparently it's 25 miles and 9 peakes ending with Marcy. The peaks include Rooster Comb, Hedgehog, Lower Wolf Jaw, Upper Wolf Jaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Haystack and end with Marcy. I was wondering if anyone had done this specific hike. I'm new to the HP's, but have pretty decent experience with backpacking in the ADK's. What's a realistic time to get this done if my group and i are fit for it? i was thinking between 4-5 days if we hike literally all day. Also is there anything else spcifically i should know about the trail? Is there good water sources around? i'm planning on getting the maps this week so i'll be able to check it out, but would like any advice or suggestions. thanx in advance.
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:01 PM   #2
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just my personal advice, this is advanced for somebody not fimiliar with the area. Don't plan to much, and if you are definitely going to do it, then do it in chunks and drop down elevation at nights to camp. you can not camp above 3500 feet anyways unless at a designated spot. I have not seen that article but I heard that it was labeled as a "day hike" and if that is your day you are going to rush past some prime views and be grouchy. I say Rooster comb, hedgehog, lower, drop to the col and camp/get water. next chunk (same day or different day) upper, armstrong, gothics and drop down (again for water or to camp, your choice) then saddle back and basin, next chunk (or continue) to haystack and marcy. It is a lot of fun, but don't plan to much at once. if time permits, leave gothics and go over pyramid to sawteeth and back. Great views.

hope it helps
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Old 05-22-2005, 07:28 PM   #3
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A person would have to be one heck of a strong hiker to do all those peaks in one day. Rooster Comb-Hedgehog-Upper & Lower Jaw-Armstrong and Gothics could be a semi-comfortable push and go day but can be done.
Saddleback-(Basin)-Haystack and Marcy can also be done in a very long, hard day.
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Old 05-22-2005, 07:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyclimber2971w
A person would have to be one heck of a strong hiker to do all those peaks in one day. Rooster Comb-Hedgehog-Upper & Lower Jaw-Armstrong and Gothics could be a semi-comfortable push and go day but can be done.
Saddleback-(Basin)-Haystack and Marcy can also be done in a very long, hard day.
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Old 05-22-2005, 07:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyclimber2971w
A person would have to be one heck of a strong hiker to do all those peaks in one day. Rooster Comb-Hedgehog-Upper & Lower Jaw-Armstrong and Gothics could be a semi-comfortable push and go day but can be done.
Saddleback-(Basin)-Haystack and Marcy can also be done in a very long, hard day.
That's an understatement. To hike the range to Marcy and back is over 25 miles and over 14000' elevation gain/loss. I did the range as a backpacking trip (very light packs) last summer, but not until after I had done a lot of hikes to condition myself. On the trip my cousin and myself met two guys that were attempting the range as a dayhike. One was hiking from Keene Valley to Marcy and out to either the Loj or the Garden (I can't remember) and the other was hiking from Elk Lake to Keene Valley.
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Old 05-22-2005, 08:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberzac
That's an understatement. To hike the range to Marcy and back is over 25 miles and over 14000' elevation gain/loss. I did the range as a backpacking trip (very light packs) last summer, but not until after I had done a lot of hikes to condition myself. On the trip my cousin and myself met two guys that were attempting the range as a dayhike. One was hiking from Keene Valley to Marcy and out to either the Loj or the Garden (I can't remember) and the other was hiking from Elk Lake to Keene Valley.
Yes but if you see that I stated a day for each trip. That is what I meant to say. I have done both Wolf Jaws-Gothics-Armstrong in less than 9 hours in a day before.
I also have done Haystack-Saddleback and Basin in a day. I didn't add Marcy but I was only a half mile away when I turned down to the Phelps trail to start with Haystack and ended with Saddleback as a thru trip. Starting from ADK Loj and coming out the Garden in less than 12 hours.
Both trips with day packs.
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:18 PM   #7
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We went up the Lake Road to pick up the range at Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, then Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws. It was a full tiring day. Pyramid, although not an official "46" because it is too close to Gothics, has my most favorite view (so far) from a high peak. Looking on at Gothics from Pyramid is truly awe inspiring in the purest sense of the word. I could have stayed there all day and intend to go back to spend a lot more time in that beautiful spot.

When we got back from that particular hike, we (myself, son and daughter) were all bushed. I let my daughter drive back to Hague and I was asleep before we hit the Northway.
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Old 05-23-2005, 03:07 AM   #8
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there's no way i am doing this as a day hike! i'm planning on taking at least 4 days. i'm not the type that likes to cover milelage, i like to enjoy myself while hiking, so we'll be taking our time. i've been hiking in the adirondacks for a number of years but have yet to hit the high peaks. i do plan on working out and being fit for the trip cuz i know its gonna be straining, but i'm fairly confident that i (and my group) can do it. what sux tho, is that we have to use bear cannisters wich means probably more than one, but its ok i guess. does that also mean no fires? well if anyone has any other pieces of info just let me know. thanx
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Old 05-23-2005, 03:11 AM   #9
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also, that itinerary that you (shaggy) left sounds like a good way to do it, but we have yet to plan it so we'll see. thanx

-Jon
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Old 05-23-2005, 08:36 AM   #10
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Did the 'Range' twice, once solo and once with a buddy. For extra fun, start with a hearty breakfast in Panther Gorge. After a quick jaunt up Haystack to warm up, the rest of the hike is a breeze. (Ha!).

Doing this hike as a multiday adds logistical issues as you must descend to find camping and/or water during long hot summer days. As a one dayer, it is doable, but certainly is not a pleasure hike. IMHO, the Great Range is an Adirondack classic and worthy of adding to one's life list of hikes. Enjoy.
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Old 05-23-2005, 08:45 AM   #11
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I've done this twice. Both times as a dayhike from the old Rooster Comb trail through to the loj. The first time we did not include Haystack the second time we did. It took between 12 and 13 hours each time. On neither day did we have good weather or views which made our times quicker since stopping wasn't real appealing. I still haven't had a view from Basin!
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:00 AM   #12
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Hey folks,

I've seen this is in my travels on the 'net: http://alavigne.net/newHomePage/Outd...2004/index.jsp

Lots of good pictures and an almost hour by hour (or at least peak by peak) description of their Great Range trip.
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soco7tyx7
what sux tho, is that we have to use bear cannisters wich means probably more than one, but its ok i guess. does that also mean no fires? well if anyone has any other pieces of info just let me know. thanx
You are correct. No fires are permitted in that portion of the High Peaks Wilderness.
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soco7tyx7
there's no way i am doing this as a day hike! i'm planning on taking at least 4 days. i'm not the type that likes to cover milelage, i like to enjoy myself while hiking, so we'll be taking our time. i've been hiking in the adirondacks for a number of years but have yet to hit the high peaks. i do plan on working out and being fit for the trip cuz i know its gonna be straining, but i'm fairly confident that i (and my group) can do it. what sux tho, is that we have to use bear cannisters wich means probably more than one, but its ok i guess. does that also mean no fires? well if anyone has any other pieces of info just let me know. thanx
If you do a day hike, I don't think you need bear canisters. Only if you are camping.

having said that, would take them anyway because if you "hit the wall" and find that you can't do it in a day, and if you can find a camping spot, then you will need them.

AND....If it were easy, what would be the point? Everyone in thw world would be up there' leaving peanut butter cup (energy food) wrappers and fruit flavored spring water bottles all over the place.
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Old 05-23-2005, 06:07 PM   #15
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ya got a good point, Redhawk, about it being easy, thats definitely not my speculation. does anyone have any suggestions about good times to do it? i was thinking toward the end of august before my friends go back to school, which i understand will probably be a pretty busy time, which is ok.
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Old 05-23-2005, 06:42 PM   #16
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End of august is a great time of year to do this. I would like to make a suggestion!

Day 1. Drive up, Hike into JBL area, set up camp.
Day 2. Hike Saddleback through LWJ. I did this in a morning a few summers ago.
Day 3. Move camp up to Slant rock. Visit Busnell Falls along the way. Rest and enjoy the cool stream. Bring head nets!
Day 4. Hike Marcy, Skylight, drop down into Panther gorge and Over haystack, using Shorey Short cut to get back. If you are corageous, add in Basin.
Day 5. Hike out.

This is fun way to hike these peaks. Since you have a daypack on for the majority of the time, you dont feel the crunch of a full pack. AND, you get skylight, which is one of my favs.

I split this up between two trips, but only cause I never have 5 days off in a row.

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Old 05-23-2005, 06:52 PM   #17
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Great Range

I did the Range Trail with some friends early one spring from Keene Valley west. It took 4 days to reach the Plateau leanto over mostly snow and ice. We summitted all the main peaks but couldn't climb Marcy because of a long thunderstorm.

We took the same amount of time to do the Range during the summer. It was, however, more enjoyable in the cold. No mud or bugs!
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Old 05-23-2005, 11:34 PM   #18
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Hiking the Range with full packs is tough...you'd have to hike way down into the valleys to find camping spots (so why lug the packs over the peaks?) plus some of the climbs are tough even without packs (the climb down Gothic to the Saddleback col would be really tough with full packs and the climb down Saddleback toward Basin is very difficult with full packs...I know that one from personal experience.) I would suggest base camping or moving a base camp and then day hiking the peaks...one thought....hike to Slant Rock from the Garden...hit Marcy and Haystack....day 2: hit Basin/Saddleback/Gothics/Arnstrong/UWJ and then back to Slant Rock...once you're up on the ridge you have most of the vertical out of the way....you could try to get LWJ in also on the way out...I tried Saddleback and Basin once with full packs thinking I'd find a camping spot someplace on the ridge (I didn't and ended up hiking down to Slant Rock and camping there anyway...) Good Luck, the high peaks are addicting!
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Old 05-24-2005, 02:53 PM   #19
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I tried Saddleback and Basin once with full packs thinking I'd find a camping spot someplace on the ridge (I didn't and ended up hiking down to Slant Rock and camping there anyway...)
I made that mistake once. now i know better
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Old 05-24-2005, 03:04 PM   #20
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I took a full pack over the range, but my full pack only weighed 25lbs. I wouldn't want to do it with a pack that weighs 40lb. I thought coming down Gothics was worse than coming down Saddleback. The rock on Gothics was wet and there wasn’t anything to grab onto if I fell. This is probably different now that the cables are back.
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