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Cascade Waterfall and Slide - The Beauty of Ice 2016 January 2

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  • Cascade Waterfall and Slide - The Beauty of Ice 2016 January 2

    Partners: Solo until mid-slide then Cameron Taylor and Michael de Grasse.
    Round-trip distance: 4.5 miles
    Total elevation gain: 2,100 feet
    Length of runout and slide: .75 mile
    Slide elevation gain: 1,400 feet

    This report is rather short so, I'll put the text and then photos afterward. Make sure to set the VIDEO to is so darn beautiful! As you can see by the pics below and the ones in the album, this trip is about the color, shape and nuances of ice. Enjoy!
    I spent the latter part of last week feeling a little off. I wanted a little exercise on Saturday, January 9th, but nothing too much. Sunday was supposed to be a day of rains, depressing January rains. After lounging around the house, I packed a few things and drove down the road to Cascade to climb the waterfall and slide. I could at least feel some exposure, climb a bit and get some nice ice photos if the ice felt safe. I had my doubts with temperatures in the forties and didn’t want to solo a delaminating mess.

    I walked to the base and slammed the ice tool in. A solid “thunk” resounded though there were a few very soft areas above. Large holes in the ice revealed the flowing water, but it looked like a good climb. I started up around 12:30 pm. The formations were gorgeous, a mixture of delicate melting walls and thick formations. A hundred feet up I felt the exposure without a rope and honed my focus—after all it is a technical climb. The last few feet always feel the hardest when it’s like this-flowing in the center and thin along the edge.

    I stopped at the terrace above to hydrate and eat a quick snack before walking up to the next ledge. A heavy flow of water cascaded behind a hollow wall, below it were delicate cones and off to the left was a collection of ice daggers—beautiful. I spent more time here taking photos than anywhere. I briefly though of just heading down the gully, but grew curious about what was ahead. I had the time and energy. The sound of the water relaxed me, just what I needed.

    The next segment is the large mineral bed that Winslow C Watson talks about in his History of Essex County (1869). Huge boulders of blue calcite and diopsite were only partially covered with snow so their greens and blues were a nice addition to the scenery. I belly crawled under a boulder to photograph more ice formations covering the roof and diopsite crystals 10 feet back inside.
    I climbed on up the next wall where inset dikes carve the bedrock for over 150 feet—10 foot deep beds that channel water during the summer. Today they were filled with a couple feet of snow and heavy ice flows on the side. I walked up the center punching through every now and again before climbing an ice flow to the slab above.

    A 30 foot wall of ice was the next and last technical pitch. Again I played around, gently crossing the hollow ice over the main flow as I neared the top. I climbed up onto the snow covered slab and saw two climbers, Cameron Taylor and Michael--both from Canada. They were taking a break. We talked for a few minutes and continued up together as a team—good companionship.

    A bit of a mashed-potato snow slog led to a small vertical pitch with some bulges thereafter. Above was the headwall. I climbed partway up, found a good stance and photographed them climbing the last of the slide. Good exposure and thick ice made it a comfortable climb.

    I’d planned to bushwhack down along the slide, but decided to accompany them to the summit. There was no route finding involved...following footprints doesn’t take a compass and map! We climbed into the clouds shortly before reaching the summit. Winds were moderately strong.

    A 45 minute walk/jog down the trail led back to the road-walk back to the cars at the isthmus. I arrived back to the car at 5:05 pm. I can’t imagine a better way to spend an afternoon!

    Last edited by mudrat; 11-22-2020, 04:06 PM.
    May you always be a student of the journey. God Bless.

  • #2
    Great pics. Especially like #3. Steep! On my list to do this summer
    "Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
    Seeking grace in every step he takes
    His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
    The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake" -John Denver


    • #3
      Really cool photos!

      I loved the fracture patterns on the lake.
      Tick Magnet


      • #4
        Thanks for the pics! I found this over the summer and wondered if there was a path up to and then up the falls. Looks like a good time!
        46er: 3/46
        Tupper Lake Triad: #23 WSD & #405 SSD
        Saranac 6er: 3/6



        • #5
          Thanks all. It's a great outing summer or winter. It's especially nice when you have the ice to yourself! There's often multiple ropes on it.

          Fractured pattern on Upper Cascade really impressed me too...I'm glad I looked back!
          May you always be a student of the journey. God Bless.