Ascent of Blake Peak on 2008-05-24

Climber: Scott Ireland

Date:Saturday, May 24, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Blake Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3970 ft / 1210 m

Ascent Trip Report

Saturday morning dawned beautifully in the Adirondacks - it was a taste of the day to come.

I had driven up Friday evening with DuctTape (Russ) and set up camp at Wilmington Notch...we got up early Saturday, even though our meet time was set for 9AM. After breakfast, we stopped at the Loj on the way to the AMR, and talked with a Ranger a bit about the conditions, and he assured us that while there might be some snow at higher elevations, we wouldn't need any additional equipment for the day. Pulled the Stabilicers from the pack, and left the snowshoes in the car, as we met Adventurous, Leaf and Alicia at the AMR parking area.

The plan was to hike Colvin, on to Blake, and swing thru Indian Head on the way out to meet Seth and 1Adam12 around 3:30...

Here's what really happened:

The walk thru the AMR and up Lake Road was nice (despite being almost mowed down by a few pickups on the way to the lake) - it was a nice way to start the day with new hiking partners, chatting and getting to know each other. Unfortunately Alicia turned back not too far after the gate with back pain -we gave her some Vitamin I and off she went (hope you're feeling better). The creek rippled gently in the background, and the sun shone thru the trees. We did see a confused and lost-looking brown bat flying around in the bright morning sunshine - not sure what he was up to, and clearly neither did he.

We stayed on Lake Rd to the Bypass Trail and headed up to Gill Brook intersection from there. The trail was in good shape, and the day was warming up as we went. From the Gill Brook Trail, it started up a bit steeper, and here's where our group spread out a bit. Courtney (Leaf) is a mountain goat - she cruised up the trail, barely stopping even when the trail didn't seem to exist. DT was right behind her, and then Adventurous. I brought up the usual,

At about 3700' the snow appeared, and it was in mostly decent could make out the remnants of the spine, and it held our weight for the most part. Some of the rocks were wet with mud and meltoff, but the hike to Colvin was nice. Once upon the summit, the views were simply amazing...we looked down to Indian Head, the Lake, and were surrounded by beauty. We had great views of the Nippletip slide,and down into the Ausable Lakes. It was then Adam called on the radio to tell us he had just left the parking lot, headed towards Indian Head. It was about noon, and we figured we would meet him around 3:30 or so...

As we headed off towards Blake, we ran into a couple who told us the trail thru the col was messy.The steep climb down Colvin was mostly muddy, with a few patches of snow. The climb back up Blake was another story...yes, there was snow, but it was too soft to hold (my weight anyway). There was mud that tried to suck your boots off with each step. And there was running water down the center of the trail. The last half mile up to Blake took nearly an was just sloppy and hard going.

We rested on Blake and had lunch (not much in the way of views there) and headed back. I had nearly finished both of my water bottles, so I decided to stop and use some of the running water to fill them again. I dropped in a couple of tablets, and a Propel packet, and made some refreshing lemon I see why a filter is a nice accessory. The trip back to Colvin took about 1:45, and it was already 3:30 when we hit Colvin for the second time. By now, Adam is calling again on the radio wondering where we was then we decided we weren't going to make Indian Head, and simply planned to head back to the lot.

The trip down took us longer than we would have liked - we were all fading a bit, my hip was a bit sore, and DuctTape twisted his knee pretty good. As we lumbered down, it seemed that Lake Rd kept moving farther away, but we eventually made it. As chatty as the hike in from Lake Rd was, the hike out was the opposite...the primary sounds being the buzzing of the blackflies, and the cursing to get rid of them. We finally reached the cars around 6:30, and headed back to camp.

Russ and I went back to Wilmington Notch, where Adam and Seth were quaffing a few, along with TeeJay who also camped there. A hot shower, a great dinner (thanks again DuctTape) and a perfect end to a great day with new friends.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:4 Hours 30 Minutes

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