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Ascent of Basin Mountain on 2012-08-07

Climber: Scott Duclos

Date:Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Basin Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4826 ft / 1470 m

Ascent Trip Report

Arrived at the Garden parking lot at approximately 5:15 am, where, surprisingly the lot was almost full. My goal for this hike was to do a partial traversal of the Great Range, starting with Basin and heading along the ridge to Lower Wolfjaw. I had previously done these 6 peaks before, but as 3 separate trips, and I wanted to challenge myself to doing all 6 in a day hike. This was also my longest hike yet, and my first time hiking alone.

One of the concerns that I had with this trip was water. I decided to fill my 3L bladder, and in addition bring along 2 nalgene bottles, with one of the filled and the other empty to be filled at the Johns Brook Lodge (JBL).

I hit the trail register around 5:30 am and was on my way. It was not officially sunrise yet, but it was bright enough out to see without a headlamp. I headed down the (phelps trail?) at a moderate pace, easing my way into it. Not long after the start I developed shin splints, which kept my pace a little slower than I would have liked. The shin splints would eventually go away, so were just a nuisance.

I arrived at the Johns Brook Lodge shortly after 7 am, and stopped to fill my second nalgene bottle. I decided to chug one liter while I was there and then filled both nalgene bottles. While filling, I had a nice chat with some lodge occupants who were having their morning coffee, and was quickly on my way.

I continued down the (phelps trail?) at a decent pace for the next few miles and hit slant rock around 8:30-9:00 am, which was the point at which I was to begin looking for the trail junction to the shortcut up to the range trail (11). I learned a lot about myself as a hiker while hiking alone, and one thing I realized was that I develop tunnel vision of the trail ahead. I put my head down and just cruise along, almost in a trance. This is somewhat problematic I discovered, because it makes it very easy to just completely miss trail junctions, which I would do a couple different times this day. In this instance, I completely blew by the trail junction to the range trail, and didn't realize it for a couple tenths of a mile later. Luckily, I do have fairly decent instincts when I do take a wrong turn. I usually notice fairly quickly that something isn't quite right, and can then stop and figure out the deal.

I quickly scurried back to the trail junction, looked at the gigantic sign that I missed denoting the trail, and moved along. Up until this point the trail had very gradually gained a couple thousand feet, but the shortcut trail to the range trail is a fairly steep 1 mile. It was at this point that I realized that I wasn't quite operating at 100%. For some reason the ascents were really brutal for me, running out of breathe very quickly. This is somewhat unusual for me, at least this early into a hike. I had taken this exact trail to Basin about a week prior to this, and flew through it with ease, so I knew something wasn't quite right. I started to question how far I would be going.

Continuing along the trail to the range trail, I passed a campsite located just off to the right side of the trail, and some campers eating breakfast. I waved hello as I questioned in my mind whether I had seen this the last time on this trail. I shook it off, and kept on going. Shortly up the trail there was an opening and I looked back and noticed that I was moving away from Basin. Then it set in that I had, once again, missed a trail junction, and was heading to Haystack. Beth would kill me if I did Haystack without her, so I quickly turned around to find the junction. Along the way there was a small brook, which I decided to once again fill up my water before continuing on to the range trail.

After the brief side track, I managed to make it to the range trail. Now, these trail junctions are actually hard to miss, and I'm still not sure how I managed to miss two of them in such a short amount of time. I was a little frustrated with myself at this point and continued to question whether I would be going for all 6 peaks today, or just failing after Saddleback.

The ascent of Basin went smoothly, despite being somewhat short of breathe. For the first 10 minutes I had the summit to myself and was treated to the spectacular view of Marcy, Haystack, the Macintyre range, etc. This is one of my favorite views. After some photos, and a little relaxing, a group of 4 college dudes joined me on the summit. They were staying at slant rock, and were a bit shocked when I told them I started at the Garden and managed to beat them up. Turns out they had the same agenda as myself, and I would be seeing them on just about every summit hit this day. Not long after they arrived they continued on to Saddleback. I once again enjoyed the solitude, had a half of a pb&j sandwich, after which I decided to leave the tremendous view and move along.

The trail from Basin to Saddleback is by far my favorite stretch of trail yet. The descent is breathtaking with stunning views of the range ahead as the trail meanders along cliff edges. The ascent features the notorious cliffs of Saddleback, which I absolutely love doing. I have only ever ascended them, but do look forward to descending them at some point. The cliffs only comprise a small section of the trail between the two peaks, and I don't find them all the difficult. They look more intimidating than they really are, IMO. Once you reach the top of the cliffs you are pretty much at the summit of Saddleback. While I prefer the view from Basin, the view from Saddleback is nice nonetheless. The summit is on the smallish side and you get a view looking back at Basin, and good views of the slides of Basin.

While on the summit, a gentleman, Ron I believe his name was, came bushwacking through the brush. A nice guy, 46'er and winter 46'er, he started chatting away, giving me stories of his winter summits, and being stuck in snowstorms and such. I look forward to hiking the peaks in the winter, but my chat with Ron didn't leave me at ease that's for sure. After about twenty minutes of chatting, I said farewell to Ron and headed along the trail to Gothics.

This was the first time I had been on the trail between Saddleback and Gothics because on a previous trip I had taken the path over Pyramid peak from Sawteeth. It was a fairly steep, but managable stretch of trail. One section has cables that can be used to assist in your ascent/descent, but they are really unnecessary if the conditions are dry. Once I hit the cable section of the ascent of Gothics, I hit some traffic. Very slow traffic. About 15 or so 8-10 year olds were being led by a couple camp councillors were currently ascending the cable section, and the they were taking their sweet time. Unable to pass that at this particular junction, I waited patiently and took some photographs.

At the top of the section with the cables, they politely let me pass. Back at a reasonable pace, I reached the Gothics false summit fairly quickly and took the opportunity to snap a nice panoramic. When I was finished the kids came rolling up, so I quickly stashed my camera so I could get in front of them. Moving along, I passed the trail junction to go on to Pyramid peak, which I would have loved to have done again, but that was not in the plans for the day. Pyramid peak sports some amazing views of the Upper Range, and should not be missed IMO. Not long after the Pyramid Peak junction is the Gothics summit. I was pretty beat at this point, and was looking forward to a nice relaxing summit to have another snack. The summit was quite busy, but I found a nice spot to sit and relax for a little bit. However, the peace and tranquility that comes so easily on summits such as Gothics, was short lived as the army of camp kids came rushing to the area I was in and completely took over. I could only take a few minutes of them, as they were pretty obnoxious while being served lunch, so I packed up after only 10 minutes of being on the summit to head to Armstrong.

I would have liked to have stayed longer on the Gothics summit, but I wasn't too upset. I don't know why, but I don't particular love the view from Gothics, even though it is touted to be one of the best. I suppose that's because it has a 360 degree view. Not that I don't like it, I guess I just prefer others.

The trail between Gothics and Armstrong is a short .8 miles or so, and is very easy, and is rather unremarkable. The summit of Armstrong has a nice view of the Upper Range. When I arrived the college fellas from earlier were just packing up their stuff to move along. Just when I thought I was going to have the summit to myself, a group of around 6-8 came loudly stumbling onto the summit. After some bitching and moaning from them, about how difficult hiking is and how they'd never be doing it again, yada yada, I decided to move along. Oh well.

The last time I had done Armstrong, it was part of the trip also consisting of Sawteeth and Gothics which originated from the Ausable Club. We did Armstrong last and took the trail between Gothics and Armstrong back down, so I had never been on this section of the trail. I was quite surprised at the steepness of the trail descending into the col.


IN PROGRESS
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Part of Trip: Great Range Partial Traverse (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Basin Mountain2012-08-07
2Saddleback Mountain2012-08-07
3Gothics2012-08-07
4Armstrong Mountain2012-08-07
5Upper Wolfjaw Mountain2012-08-07
6Lower Wolfjaw Mountain2012-08-07
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Scott Duclos
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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