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Old 06-13-2005, 01:27 PM   #1
Dave K
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 29
Giant, Rocky Peak, Bald thru hike.

Ben, a one of my hiking and gaming friends was getting hitched and we needed to come up with a Bachelor party... since we're all married types we decided the traditional wild 'exotic dancer' type party just wasn't going to be an efficient use of a full weekend free of wives and families, so we decided on a Bachelor hike instead. After phone calls we had only four hits out of the potential partiers. It seems that in the general public a hike is not viewed to be as fun as drinking yourself into a stupor and gawking at scantily clad women. Some people need to get their priorities in order. The final team consisted of me (Dave), Roland, Ben (the soon to be not single) and Yuri (the noob).

Even though we had a noob with us, the team decision was to go for a more demanding hike instead of Street and Nye (which I'd recommended). Giant/RPR were chosen since we would have two cars for a point to point hike. An 11+ mile hike with a new hiker seemed like a very bad idea to me, but I was outvoted. Our one concession for Yuri was that we'd go from Giant side to reduce the climb by a thousand feet total.

We hit the ridge trail around 8:30am (Zander Scott IIRC) and the place was already CROWDED (Memorial day weekend), and things went very well... for a little while. The first sign of trouble was when our inexperienced friend needed to break after only 15 minutes of climbing, with 'I told you so' reverberating around my head we waited for him to catch his breath so we could continue. By the time we hit washbowl we'd already made numerous stops and heard the "I'm not going to make it, you guys go on without me" speech twice.

After a brief discussion I continued on with Ben (the soon to be not single) and Roland continued at a slower pace with Yuri. We wanted Yuri to get the high of finishing his first climb and getting the payoff, failure was not an option so Roland sacrificed the Rocky Peak Ridge hike and went for a Giant hike returning back to Washbowl and the starting point. Ben and I both owe him one, and he's already mentioned it at least a dozen times.

Ben and I quickly shot ahead of Roland and Yuri, we were fairly FLYING up the trial, passing all comers... FEELING LIKE GODS! (say that last line with a deep reverberating voice)... until we took that wrong turn and ended up at the trial split to the Nubble (say that last line with a squeaky little voice)... looking around going 'Uh... I think we messed up somewhere'.

SO... Dave and Ben, chastised and humbled by the mountain gods (and feeling a bit like noobs ourselves) returned to the ridge trail after their maybe 30 minute detour, knowing full well that Yuri and Roland were now ahead of us. We also knew that when we caught them we were going to get NO END of crap for taking the wrong turn.

On we climbed, expecting at any moment to catch back up with Roland and Yuri. The trial was very busy, including a group of at least 30 kids hiking with chaperones. I expect including that group we passed 50 or 60 people on the ascent. We were also passed by a female ranger who was REALLY flying. When we indicated that we were planning on doing the thru hike she looked at her watch and looked at us like we were crazy. We'd lost enough time that if we didn't get booking it could easily be dark before we finished.

So we climbed past the hump with no sign of Roland and Yuri and we were starting to think they'd turned back after all. When we finally caught them they were less than a third of a mile from the summit. It seems that once Yuri started setting his own pace he was able to keep chugging along and they'd made darn good time. We were duly impressed with his willingness to stick it out and Rolands ability to keep him motivated. So we all ended up hitting the Giant summit together which was very cool. We didn't hang out for long, the afternoon was supposed to bring thunderstorms, and we wanted to get off the high ground before that happened. When we reached the Rocky Peak Ridge trail we said our goodbyes and headed down while Roland and Yuri headed toward washbowl as planned.

The trail to Rocky Peak ridge was a steep descent followed by a moderate ascent to the ridge, we passed a group hiking full pack and struggling down from Giant, man that must be hard on your knees! The view from Rocky Peak Ridge was AMAZING, better than Giant in our estimation... 360 degrees with a great view of Giant and some of her slides. That was just a taste of things to come, the next hour or two as we walked along the ridge from RPR to Bald peak was just amazing, with a wonderful well marked alpine trail and incredible views virtually at every turn. This was easily the best views I've had in the High Peaks thus far (only 15 summits at this point), and it went on and on. There were scattered showers throughout the day but luckily no thunderstorms. This was lucky since we spent a LOT more time in the open on the ridge than we thought we were going to. The descent from Bald Peak was fairly uneventful, although I got a few nice shots of a Birch stand (not too many places in NY where you see anything other than the scattered birch, and this was a good sized stand, they're striking when in such high density).

Once off the Giant trail we saw few hikers, just 3 scattered groups of 2 or 3 hikers all going through in the same direction we were. Very late in the day we passed a pair going the other direction, they were going to be descending Giant well past dark but had headlights. There was also a group that was heading up to climb Bald Peak, they were only 2 and a half miles in and had the steep climb to the summit ahead of them... and they were complaining up a storm. We commiserated with them for a few minutes and then pushed on to see if we could get out of the woods by 7, we were very slow early on but made good time from Rocky Peak Ridge on. About 30 minutes out we saw Roland jogging up the trail towards us, he and Yuri had driven to the other car and he'd Left Yuri sleeping at the car while he came in to find us. We finished the hike with a leisurely walk through the glade near the parking area, and were finished before 7... a longer hike than expected due to unforseen circumstances, but we all had a good time.
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