Ascent of Big Jay on 2011-07-22

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Friday, July 22, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Jay
    Elevation:3786 ft / 1153 m

Ascent Trip Report

I ascended this peak by first hiking up Jay Peak along the Long Trail, which I picked up at Route 242 south of the Jay Peak ski area entrance. There is a trailhead parking area along the road, at the top of a hill. At first, I stopped in a nearby parking lot at the bottom of a hill, and wasted some time looking for the trailhead that wasn't there.

I followed the Long Trail over the summit of Jay Peak, and then followed it along a ski run until it passed through an opening in a fence at the ski area boundary. A short distance (maybe 50 meters) after crossing the fence, the Big Jay herd path diverges from the Long Trail toward the left. I also had to pass by warning signs that essentially said "Are you sure you want to enter the backcountry? Well, OK, but you're on your own."

The path to Big Jay is a rough, unmaintained trail. I had to navigate over, under or around several blowdowns, and I had to climb over several areas of exposed rock, one or two of which are potentially dangerous. The trail also passes through some low-lying areas as it traverses the connecting ridge, and so there is lots of mud to contend with. This is the thick, bottomless variety of mud, and at times I felt like I was trying to walk through quicksand.

I saw abundant evidence of the illegal trail work that was once carried out in an effort to widen the trail. I passed by numerous tree stumps.

As I was nearing the summit, I had to find my way over a couple of steep rock walls, and then I came out in a spot that offered nice views of the other peaks in the Jay Range. From there, it was just a minute or less of hiking before I reached the end of the trail at the summit. The summit offers no views.

Big Jay is clearly for peakbaggers only, as the views are less impressive than those from the neighboring Jay Peak, and hiking there requires substantial effort.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:386 ft / 117 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:386 ft / 117 m
    Route:Herd path
    Trailhead:3400 ft / 1036 m
Descent Statistics

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