Ascent of Nippletop on 1992-08-27

Climber: Alan Bangel

Others in Party:Don Shultz
Date:Thursday, August 27, 1992
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4593 ft / 1399 m

Ascent Trip Report

On August 26,1992, Don Shultz and I started our trip from Owego, NY to Keene Valley to climb our first peaks towards the forty-six. The trip upstate took just under 5 1/2 hours and covered 267 miles. We checked out the trail area first, not being familiar with it, and learned about the bus that traveled on the lake road. We then scouted a place to stay for the night, as our plan was to start early the next day.
We then traveled up the road and ate dinner at “Montys”, sat around till after dark and then drove back down to St. Huberts where we stayed in the lot where the registration box for trails in that area is located.
We spent the night in the back of an Aerostar Van, not uncomfortable but I had a great deal of difficulty sleeping, due to the anticipation of the hike that next day. We arose at approximately 6:45AM went to the “Noon Mark Diner” for breakfast, and hit the trail at around 7:30AM.
The trail markers were very good on the early part of the accent. Prior to the first view of Noonmark we climbed up a small rock face and lost the trail for about ten minutes. The trail at that point made a sharp left turn and we continued straight up and then around to the right where the false trail eventually ended. I think many before us had made the same error since the trail was well worn. Just before “Bear Den” I was stopped by a Doe and Fawn in the middle of the trail above me. They watched as I managed to get a camera out and take their picture (25 to 30 foot distance). My partner, who was below, managed to join me and see them before they wandered off silently. Our next thrill was a point marked “53 step view”. From this location, despite the overcast conditions, we got a chance to see some of the valley and neighboring peaks, Wolfjaw, Gothics, etc.. This was really the first point where we knew we were making some significant headway.
After ”Bear Den(3399)” the knats became a real problem, along with some light rain. A light breeze on the summit of Dial helped to keep the knats down but only as long as we stayed on the open summit.
Just before the summit of Nippletop we met the only other people we saw that day, at about the point where Elk Pass intersected our route, we met a man and two women.
Finally we reached our third summit, the peak was very quiet and the wind had completely stopped at this point. On Nippletop we spent about 30-45 minutes eating lunch and enjoying the misty view. We got a glimpse of Marcy at one point and Elk Lake but they were really fleeting. We took some pictures, saw one lone Junco, and noticed the steel ring protruding from the rock (other than the trail, the usual signs of man were pleasantly missing), we lingered, damp and tired, and then started down.
We returned along the Elk Pass route, the trail was well worn but we saw no trail markers for almost a mile of trail, a fact that did not make us real comfortable. As we turned down the Gill Brook trail (leaving the knats behind) we came to a small water-fall that proved to be a great refresher from the humidity and the bite of bugs. We were both getting very weary and at each turn of the trail hoped to see the paved lake road. Eventually after what seemed forever it did appear. After a short period of time on the road the last bus from Ausable Lake passed us, we did not flag it down, we were now on a mission to complete this trek without outside help. We finally reached the van at 6:30PM..
I placed the milage of our loop hike at 13.1 miles. I have no idea when the next trip will be but already I’m looking forward to it. My personal goal is to complete the 46 peaks in a ten year period.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm, Overcast
intermittant drizzle, dreary kind of day
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Distance:13.1 mi / 21.1 km
    Trailhead:Lake Road  3993 ft / 1217 m
Descent Statistics

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