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Old 05-12-2018, 07:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 256
High Peak May 19 - 21?

Well, spring is here which means y'all get to start answering my questions again.

We have our 2nd annual post-ice / pre-bugs / pre-crowds visit planned for May 19 - 21.

With winter holding on in the high peaks I imagine we'll be there before black fly season takes hold?

Two other trips planned this year. We've booked a lean-to at JBL in August and we're coming down in October the w/e after Columbus Day.

We did have 3 high peak hikes penciled in for this year:
Pyramid/Giant/Gothics/UWJ loop in August. We're also hoping to do a Colden hike (loop with Avalanche Pass if conditions allow) and a Macomb, South Dix, Grace traverse.

But the DEC update on Thursday reports that deep snow (2-3 feet) and ice are present above 3,000 feet with even deeper snow above 4,000 feet.

So I guess that means no High Peak next weekend? We're not prepared for winter conditions. No crampons, no snowshoes.

Or is there an option that might work? We've completed Cascade, Porter, Big Slide, Phelps, Tabletop, Street, Nye, Sawteeth, and Lower Wolfjaw.

Looks like a week of above seasonal temperatures so is there a chance that the DEC's report next Thursday will be dramatically different?

We're also working on our 19 patch challenge as a family so if the advice is to stay below 3,000 feet we have some options (Haystack, Poke-O-Moonshine, Rooster Comb, St. Regis).

Thanks for reading,
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:53 PM   #2
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Yeah, it sounds like snow is a sure thing above 3,000 feet still at this point. If you're not prepared for those kinds of conditions, I think reconsidering your itinerary isn't a bad idea. Wet snow in the spring tends to be pretty dense, and isn't the light, fluffy stuff that makes for easier hiking. "Slog" is a word that aptly describes what it can be like to try to hike through wet snow in above freezing temperatures. It's possible that warm weather could change things somewhat, but 2-3 feet of snow isn't going to disappear in a week (and if it did... the inevitable flooding would present a whole new problem for you to address).

If you still wanted to backpack, St. Regis Mountain is on your list and has a designated tent site that doesn't get a huge amount of use, about 1.5 miles in and before the elevation gain starts in earnest. Even if the site is occupied, I don't think it'd be hard to find flat ground nearby to do the 150 foot thing. If climbing the mountain wasn't enough to occupy your time, you can also check out the (relatively) newly marked TR Trail, which departs from the tent site and heads southeast down to the shore of Upper St. Regis Lake.

Poke-o-Moonshine also has a lean-to and could be done as a backpacking trip, but there's some fairly substantial elevation gain up to the lean-to. With overnight packs, I'd recommend climbing the via the roundabout route- the old road to the south, as opposed to the direct route from the campground to the east.

Hurricane from the south would probably have a decent chance of being mostly snow free. From the north is less likely to be snow free, but that's really the only way to do it if you wanted to do it as a backpacking trip. The Soda Range is also worth doing if you've never been there, and that trail skirts the 3,000 foot line without going much higher in elevation.

Now could also be a good time to check out some stuff in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, or the Lake George Wild Forest, before the summer gets going and crowds show up. in the PLWA, Pharaoh Mountain and Treadway Mountain are both worthwhile climbs. In the LGWF, the Tongue Mountain Range on the west shore, and Black Mountain, Sleeping Beauty, and Buck Mountain on the east shore all have great views.
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Old 05-16-2018, 04:32 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Thanks so much for the detailed reply.

We're staying at local accommodations so we'll be doing day hikes. Should have mentioned that in the OP.

Right now the plan is to do Rooster Comb on Saturday, drive out to Poke-o-Moonshine on Sunday, and then hit St. Regis on the way home on Monday.

I think we'll do both trails at Poke-o-Moonshine. Up the steep (my wife prefers that) and down the more moderate trail. Then I'll walk the road to get the car and pick up the family.

Thanks for the tip on the TR trail. I'd be interested but after 3 days of hiking with the family I'm not likely to get much buy in.

Appreciate the suggestion of Hurricane. It's on our must-do list. But with the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness section of the DEC high peaks page reporting 2-3 feet of snow above 3,000 feet my wife isn't keen.

I'm correct in my assumption that black flies shouldn't be an issue yet?

Thanks again,
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:01 PM   #4
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Very hard to predict the flies. I was out bushwhacking today on Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and there were zero bugs in the air. I have been told that they are coming out now at Crane Mountain in the central Adirondacks, so it's a matter of time here in the High Peak region.

In planning this time of year, remember that aspect is as important, if not more important, than elevation. Roostercomb trail faces north. The most popular trail for Hurricane (from 9N) faces south. And in looking at Hurricane out my back window just now, it looks relatively snow free.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:05 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Thanks for the bug report. Hopefully they hold off but we'll come prepared.

"aspect is as important, if not more important, than elevation"

OK, we have 5 hikes under consideration:
Rooster Comb
St. Regis

Which 3 do you think are most likely to be ice/snow free?

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Old 05-17-2018, 07:22 PM   #6
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Poke O, Hurricane and Rooster Comb-[I'm guessing]
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:49 PM   #7
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Rooster Comb isn't that high, maybe 2700 feet, but TCD is right- the trail is on north-facing slopes. That does make a big difference.

I think Haystack (assuming you mean the 6er one) would be good- that trail is on exposed, south facing slopes and the summit is below 3,000 feet.

Hurricane is the highest of the ones you list at 3500 feet, but the most heavily used trail from the south is on primarily south-facing aspects.

Poke-o-Moonshine is low enough at just over 2000 feet that it probably doesn't matter which direction the trail faces.

St. Regis is just over 2800 feet, and the trail faces east. There might still be some patches of snow on or near the trail but not likely anything significant, I would think.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:35 PM   #8
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Hurricane from the south has no snow or ice - did it yesterday...
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:23 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Really appreciate the replies. You guys are great.

Hurricane on Saturday (really looking forward to this one)
Poke-o-Moonshine on Sunday
Haystack (6er) on Monday

Have a great w/e,
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