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Old 10-24-2013, 12:22 AM   #1
red4tribe
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Hiking Mount Marcy

Hello all,

My friend and I are looking to hike Mount Marcy and camp out overnight towards the end of November. I just have a few questions, being new to the hike.

First off, it appears that taking the Van Hoevenberg is the easiest and quickest way to the top, so we are leaning to taking that trail. Going in the end of November, is there likely to be a significant amount of snow? If so, any tips?

Secondly, I did read somewhere(Can't remember where) that first timers should go up with a guide. I'm not really too worried honestly, I've been on many long hikes, but is it actually a dangerous hike?

Also, how much water is there along the way? Do you think it would be frozen in November? How much water would you advise bringing?

Lastly, I am quite interested in the Hudson River and I would really love to go see Lake Tear of the Clouds. How would I get there and how far off the Van Hoevenberg trail would it be?

Thanks so much!

-Oh and of course, does anyone know here I can get a good topo map of the trail/area?
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
Kyler
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Going in the end of November, is there likely to be a significant amount of snow? If so, any tips?
I hiked Mt Marcy via the Van Hoevenberg in late November last year and there was no snow. However there was a significant amount of ice on the trail past Indian Falls. I hiked Street and Nye in late November 2011 and there was a few inches of snow down low and eight inches of wet heavy snow up high. There was probably more snow on Marcy due to the height difference. So you'll want to be prepared for all types of conditions.


Quote:
I've been on many long hikes, but is it actually a dangerous hike?
The Van Hoevenberg trail is a nicely maintained trail and a moderate climb without any steep sections. As long as you can read the map and are comfortable choosing the correct trail at junctions, you'll be fine. Once you get above treeline, you'll be climbing over rocks. There is nothing dangerous about climbing the rocks. Lots of inexperienced hikers do it every day in the summer. The challenge for you may be ice on the rocks. You'll probably want some kind of traction device for your feet. Either microspikes or crampons.


Quote:
Also, how much water is there along the way? Do you think it would be frozen in November? How much water would you advise bringing?
You'll cross Marcy Brook at Marcy Dam, and you'll hike along (and cross) Phelps Brook as well. I would expect both of those to be running. Marcy Dam is a popular camping area. There is also a campsite along the Van Hoevenberg between Marcy Dam and the Phelps trail junction. If you camp at either of those spots you should have access to water. The amount of water to bring is pretty subjective. I would carry 3 liters for a day hike of Marcy. Other people may carry less water.


Quote:
How would I get there and how far off the Van Hoevenberg trail would it be?
You'll be able see Lake Tear from the top of Marcy. If you want to go there, take the trail south from the summit of Marcy down to Four Corners and turn right (West) onto the Calamity Brook trail. The outlet of the lake is about 3/10 of a mile from Four Corners, or about 1.1 miles from the summit of Marcy. From there, you would need to either reclimb Mt Marcy (about 800 feet of elevation gain), or you could hike back to Marcy Dam via Lake Arnold or Avalanche Pass.


Quote:
does anyone know here I can get a good topo map of the trail/area?
For the ADK Guide book and national Geographic trail map package go to this URL: http://www.adk.org/product.php?pid=1948

Or to review the Discover the Adirondacks guide book series go to this URL: http://www.hiketheadirondacks.com/pa...ack_High_Peaks

These publications are also available at these retail outlets:
The Mountaineer, Keene Valley (http://www.mountaineer.com)
Eastern Mountain Sports, including the Lake Placid Store (http://www.ems.com)



Lastly, you may want to check out the ADKHighPeaks Forums (http://forums.adkhighpeaks.com/), which are more focused on the High Peaks and may have more info on specific conditions leading up to your hike.
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
TBPDPTI
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If you are comfortable with hiking, and are not illiterate, then arriving will be just fine, as the trails in the Adirondacks are VERY well marked in almost every case. This holds true for all of the major approaches to Marcy.

For that time of year, there are a few things which you should keep in mind.

First, there may or may not be snow. At the summit, there will almost certainly be some, as well as ice in locations. Bring traction equipment such as microspikes; crampons are overkill for that time of year. When there are 6" or more snow on the ground, then you are legally required to use snowshoes. Pay attention to the forecast and recent trip reports to see if should expect to bring them.

Second, there is water along much of the trip, depending on which route you take. Water in the Adirondacks, if taken from higher sources (such as most of the high peaks area) is generally drinkable directly. However, it never hurts to have a filter (or other water treatment option), just to be certain.

Third, there are strict regulations in the high peaks area, meant for the protection of the area. Despite being tempted at that time of year, you are NOT allowed to build campfires. This applies to all basic approaches to Mt. Marcy. You may build a campfire in an emergency situation, if needs be.

Fourth, camping regulations exist, and are enforced. At all elevations, you must camp at least 150 feet away from all trails and water sources (creeks, ponds, etc.). The only exception to this (at all elevations) is if you camp at an officially marked campsite. Otherwise, you may camp at any location, observing the following guidelines: Camping above 4000 feet is prohibited in all locations, excepting emergencies. Camping between 3500 and 4000 feet is ONLY allowed at designated locations, excepting emergencies. Camping below 3500 feet is legal at all locations, so long as you follow the distance rule.

Fifth, the use of APPROVED bear-resistant containers to store your food is required in that area (for all obvious approaches to Marcy, this applies).

Sixth, leave no trace.

Seventh, enjoy your trip.

Eighth. By coming on here and seeking advice, you're required to come back here and post any and all pictures
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Last edited by TBPDPTI; 10-25-2013 at 10:39 AM..
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by red4tribe View Post
Going in the end of November, is there likely to be a significant amount of snow? If so, any tips?
No way to predict so far in advance. For example, I hiked it on November 6, 2006 and encountered over 2 feet of fresh snow. A month later the snow was 100% gone from the woods, only a smattering of packed snow turned to ice remaining on the trail itself.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:03 PM   #5
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I also have a pair of microspikes if need be.
I wouldn't head out without carying microspikes this time of year. Keep your eye on the forecast for snow. As TBPDPTI said, there is a law requiring snowshoes or skis when the snow depth is 8" (I believe it's 8, not 6, but the regulation is posted at trail-heads). Separate from the law, if a storm rolled through and dumped a couple of feet of snow up high, it would be much nicer to have snowshoes than not have them.


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Originally Posted by shawno View Post
wondering if anyone had any suggestions on a possible 15-20 mile hike that includes Marcy?
You could hike in from the Loj, set up camp at Marcy Dam and then do a loop of Marcy, Skylight, and Gray. You could hike back to Marcy Dam via Lake Arnold, or you could take the longer, but more scenic route through Avalanche Pass.

If you did an out and back to Marcy from Marcy Dam, you could add on Tabletop and/or Phelps mountains, which both spur off of the Van Hoevenberg trail.

An alternative would be to start from the Garden trail-head in Keene Valley, hike into Johns Brook Lodge area and set up camp and then do an out and back to Marcy. If you had the time and were feeling good, you could add on an out and back to Haystack.

The Marcy/Skylight/Gray loop and the Marcy/Haystack hike are both big hikes for a first ADK hike.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #6
TBPDPTI
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Shoot! My bad. I believe that you're correct, in that the regulation is for 8", not 6".

An update: The top of Brown Pond Mtn. today had 2-4 inches, depending on the spot, with 0.5-1" most of the way up.

That being said, it means nothing for next week. Another 2' could fall. It could all melt.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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Yea, my son just called, he and a couple College buddies , he's a student at St. Michaels in Vermont, climbed Giant today and had snow on top, he said micro spikes were essential, cold and very windy as well. Actually starting right now, you should always be prepared for harsh winter conditions, you might have a great weather day BUT.....

Also , days get short by the end of November so a 20 mile day with lots of elevation gain and loss could be tough. That said, I rather like hiking at night, if fully prepared , 2 headlamps etc., it can be enlightening. Comes from back in my Alpine climbing days with the 2am starts.

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Old 10-29-2013, 07:45 AM   #8
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Ice reported and snow at higher elevations...micros/crampons and possible SS needed. Be careful as not all puddles are frozen 100%, you could get a wet foot... enjoy
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by shawno View Post
Welp I guess I underestimated Marcy. That damn summit is calling my name this spring.
You'll appreciate it a little more in the spring when you get there.

Out of curiosity, where have you done most of your hiking?
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:03 AM   #10
bridgeman
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There is no shame turning back short of the summit. The mountain will be there another day. Treat this trip as a recon. for future trips.

One word of advise. When hiking with others make sure they are fully equipped to spend time on the trail after dark or overnight. I carry a headlamp and survival gear even on short day hikes.
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