One of our goals for the winter was to ice climb at as many different places as possible. Last year we stayed close to home and climbed only at our local crag. So this year we opted for new experiences at new locations.
We had been to the Adirondacks before in the summer and climbed a couple high peaks but we had never been there in the winter. We decided to head to Upstate New York for a few days over our March Break to meet up with our friend Laurie and do some climbing and hiking.
First stop, of course, was the ice.
We purchased the Blue Lines guidebook and headed down route 73 towards Cascade Lakes where we could easily see the ice from the road. We parked on an obvious pull off on the right and with some of the easiest access we headed to Pitchoff Right for an afternoon of climbing.
The ice was really nice and it made for a good opportunity for me to try leading. It was just a short pitch but when learning to lead on ice I think it is important to start off with what you are comfortable with.
After driving and climbing all day we were thankful to have a warm cabin to stay in for the night at Cobble Mountain Lodge where we got a good nights rest and woke up early to hike the second highest peak in New York.
And by hike I really mean snowshoe. I have snowshoed before but mostly on flat trails and I have hiked up mountains before but mostly in the summer or fall. I have never combined both, and wow, what a workout!
Layers were going off and on all day as we hiked up Mount Algonquin which has an elevation gain of almost 3000ft in 4 hours. It has a total elevation of 5, 115 ft. The blue skies looked promising making us hike harder to reach that view.
When we got close to the summit the blue skies quickly diminished and 50 miles/hr winter winds started. The visibility was gone but we pushed on and I followed my feet in my KEEN Hoodoos II until we reached the top.
It’s funny how quick the weather can change depending on the elevation. As soon as we hiked down a few hundred feet and were under the clouds we got our view back.
Going up took us 4 hours. Going down took us 2.5 hrs. Sliding downhill on snowshoes should be made into a sport.
The Adirondacks are roughly 4-5 hours away from us and given their beautiful mountain range we will be back to summit a few more high peaks in the near future.