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Ascent of Whiteface Mountain on 2013-11-10

Climber: Jim Lacovara

Date:Sunday, November 10, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Whiteface Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4865 ft / 1482 m

Ascent Trip Report

During this trip I stayed at the Keene Valley hostel, an interesting place that attracts climbers and 46ers looking for an informal place stay while in town. It is open bay sleeping with about 10 beds upstairs in the sleeping area. The atmosphere is very nice with different groups sharing their adventure stories, etc. and planning for the next day's trips. As I was preparing my gear in the morning I was approached by a man named Jorge who had no car but really wanted to hike a mountain and asked for a ride. After sizing him up for few minutes he seemed harmless so I agreed to take him out to the mountain. Turns out Jorge was a sailing instructor from Puerto Rico who came to visit the ADK with his girlfriend and became so captivated with its beauty he decided not to go back despite only having a 30-day visa. He was energetic but woefully under-prepared and while he did not successfully summit he did learn the value of proper gear which everyone has to learn sometimes.

In November, there was about 3-5 inches of snow on the ground and the conditions definitely felt like winter. I was sore from my hike up Street-Nye the previous day and started off slow ascending Marble mountain. I said a short prayer for some strength and my energy level picked up on the next ascent towards the ridge line. The trail to Esther is impossible to miss with a 4-ft high rock cairn in the middle of the trail combined with a trail sign. The weather looked like it was starting to deteriorate and I decided to do Esther first because I was worried about being off trail on the unmarked path. But, having seen the summit of Whiteface I would have made the other choice because that is not the place you want to be if the weather turns ugly. At first I was worried about the trail to Esther because 3 inched of fresh snow had erase any sign of previous footprints. However the trail was easy to follow and about as flat as it gets in the ADK.

After a successful summit on Esther I turned toward Whiteface. By this time my jacket and pants and shoes were all soaking wet from brushing against snowy pine branches. Ascending Whiteface was pretty straightforward and I ran into Jorge on the way down who had turned around short of the summit where the winds had picked up and the path had steepened. I continued and reached the summit about 30 minutes later where the temperature was very cold and combined with my being wet my body temperature started to drop. There is a large visitor center at the summit and the door was only secured with a small piece of cord which I quickly untied and entered for shelter. After spending 15 minutes eating lunch and changing my socks it was time to start my descent. As I reached lower elevations the snow turned to rain which kept up until I reached the car and found Jorge waiting in his makeshift shelter.

Overall, this was a successful trip. I learned I need a shell for my jacket to prevent it from getting wet in the winter.
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