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mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend
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cush


Feb 26, 2010, 10:44 AM
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mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend
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a friend of mine and i are looking to do a winter ascent of mount marcy sometime either the weekend of march 7th or 14th. I have no mountaineering experience and my friend has a guided climb up mount shasta. we both have a great deal of cold weather clothing. he has crampons and an ice axe and we both have snowshoes. will it be necessary for me to get crampons and an axe or will snowshoes for the two of us suffice?

i've been told marcy is a good choice for an easy introduction into simple mountaineering. if i was misinformed what would be your reccomendation for 2 physically fit people with significant hiking and rock climbing experience? is the climb doable in 1 day? is there a reletively easy route one of you would reccomend? is it possible to do most of the hike, even in winter, on established trails? any general advice? things we might forget but would be good to have?


kaizen


Feb 26, 2010, 11:34 AM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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I would tell you to hit up Giant Mtn, or something closer to the road and with less mileage. Marcy is a long hike, especially for a day trip, and will beat you up well if you have to break trail. Since neither of you really has any experience on those mountains, don't push it your first time out.

Almost all of the peaks in that area are a good introduction to winter hiking/climbing, and the majority will not require crampons on the standard hiking trails. The two of you basically have no experience, and are looking to push one of the longer winter day trips out there.

Giant Mtn, Porter/Cascade, or Wright would be a much better introduction. I'm not trying to scare you or intimidate you, I mean really you're just day hiking in very cold and snowy terrain, but don't do something that may rely on some help from the local SAR team.


boymeetsrock


Feb 26, 2010, 9:16 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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Kaizen makes some reasonable points.

You're looking at fourteen miles for Marcy (round trip). The terrain is moderate, with no technical sections on the trails from ADK Loj or St Huberts. Feasibility pretty much comes down to weather and how long you can keep plodding.

If there is fresh snow, snowshoes will be a must. Doing this in a day, with fresh snow, would be a very serious effort due to distance.

If it hasn't snowed in a week or so, you may be able to do the whole thing in your hiking boots (crampons would certainly be nice, poles may suffice). Again it is going to be a full and tiring day, but doable.

Should you get to either Keen Valley or the ADK Loj and have second thought about Marcy, both offer shorter hikes on the same trials. Kaizen mentioned Wright, which has a short scramble near the top, but on the whole is pretty straight forward. The Bonus with Wright is, if you feeling strong you can kick the extra mile to Algonquin. Algonquin is steeper than Marcy, but still not technical climbing. Another alternative from the Dam is Table Top.

Alternatives from Keen Valley include Slide (very nice) and The Wolf Jaws (very steep).

Whatever you decide, go prepared for changing weather and have fun! Winter could well be the best season in the Dacks.


(This post was edited by boymeetsrock on Feb 27, 2010, 5:46 PM)


Adk


Feb 27, 2010, 2:44 PM
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Re: [boymeetsrock] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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Just remember. Every so often someone dies on that mountain during a storm that just appears out of nowwhere! Don't underestimate that girl.

You have been given some good ideas other than Marcy. Choose the hike carefully.


brownie710


Feb 27, 2010, 4:34 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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if there is 8 inches or more of snow you have to carry snowshoes and if you don't you will be ticketed, the marcy area is a fairly heavily traveled area. for someone with climbing/mountaineering experience like it sounds you and your partner have i do wonder if something off the beaten path may be more fun for you. unless your heading up right after a storm you have a good chance of packed trail (that's been my experience every winter ascent so far.)


boymeetsrock


Feb 27, 2010, 5:48 PM
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Re: [boymeetsrock] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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Two edits to my post above.

I meant Keen Valley, not St. Huberts.

Also, I meant Big Slide, not Pitchoff.


kobaz


Feb 27, 2010, 6:09 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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The biggest thing is to be prepared for the cold. It can get cold... especially at night. I've camped in the high peaks many times and it can get below zero quickly.

I had no real mountaineering experience when I hiked giant, colden, marcy, and a bunch of others several years ago. You need good gear, you need a good head, and you need to know when to turn around.

If for some reason it's 2pm and you're still not on the summit... turn around. Being above treeline after dark, in unfamiliar terrain, is a bad idea. Knowing when to bail is one of the most important aspects of doing any adventure. I've been several hundred vertical feet from a summit and bailed due to whiteout conditions. Know your limits.

With all that said... Marcy is a really cool hike. It's a normal difficulty as far as Adirondack hikes go. It's no harder than Giant or Wright, it's just various in distance really. It comes down to conditions. Like some others said, it can be packed down, and you can do it in running shoes, or it might be a one mile per hour slog through multiple feet of fresh snow. I've hiked up to the four corners through packed trail and then started up the Marcy trail with 3-4 feet of powder to snowshoe through. Doing that one mile to the summit took 2 hours.

My favorite way to do Marcy is from the upper works trailhead. I'll trek in to calamity lake Friday afternoon, set up camp, and run up and down marcy on saturday. If there's still good conditions and daylight, a run up skylight is tacked on, and then back to camp. You could leave sunday morning, or if you're up early enough do a run up colden and then break up camp and head home. It's a really cool multi-day trip... Probably not recommended for your first trip out there, but it's fun nonetheless.


gulla826


Mar 1, 2010, 6:10 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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I think the biggest thing you need to worry about in the high peaks right now is the avo danger. This past weekend’s storm brought some interesting conditions with wet snow stuck to vertical ice, unlike nothing I have climbed on before. Anyways I would think the snow pack will be a bit settled by the time you guys go out. If you catch good weather and good trail conditions you shouldn’t have any problems doing Marcy other than endurance. Algonquin would probably be your best alternative to Marcy, it’s a lot shorter but still an amazing summit with alpine conditions. If you are looking for an alpine/mountaineering route up Marcy check out Agharta NEI 4-ish and around 800’, such a beautiful line, but you’d most likely need more than one day to do that.


gitarooman


Mar 1, 2010, 7:18 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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For what its worth, Ive been up there three times already this winter and can offer the following advice:

If youre looking to avoid people and make your trip more pleasurable, I would consider going in from the Garden side. The opportunity (depending on recent weather) to break trail and actually use those snowshoes is higher and the trails themselves are more narrow and less like a highway.

If youve never been there before, I would consider spending at least one night out. The hike from either the loj side or the garden is long (especially if youre going to be breaking trail).

Slant rock shelter is a great place to make a base camp coming from the Garden side and sets you up for a nice steep hike to the summit the next day.

You shouldnt need crampons as long as your snowshoes have a decent crampon built in. I dont personally carry an axe for Marcy, as the terrain isnt too bad coming from the east (i believe) side.

I would recommend taking goggles, balaclava, and shell/parka in your summit day pack. You may not need them, but if you get negative temps and high winds above tree line, you'll wish you had them.

It goes without saying that the weather there can change very very quickly. If visibility drops and the winds are high, its easy to lose track of where you are on the top. Turn around before that point:



Im definitely biased toward the Garden side, but have fun no matter which trail you choose!


(This post was edited by gitarooman on Mar 1, 2010, 7:18 PM)
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boymeetsrock


Mar 19, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Re: [cush] mount marcy weekend of march 7th or 14th weekend [In reply to]
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Did you go? TR?


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