Ascent of Mount Marshall on 1996-09-21

Climber: Alan Bangel

Others in Party:Dick Reichman
Date:Saturday, September 21, 1996
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Marshall
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4364 ft / 1330 m

Ascent Trip Report

Second half of report.
Yesterday 9-21-96 was my last planned hike of the season. This was also my first hike starting from Upper Works parking lot. With the days getting shorter and the temperature somewhat lower I made slightly different plans to match the time of year. I arrived around 10:30 PM on the 20th. Slept in the van, woke at 6:15 and signed the register at 7:00AM. I was in much better mental condition for this assent of Marshall than I was for the Tabletop hike. I didn’t get very far down the trail when a barely readable sign and a lack of trail markers caused me to take a right turn down a trail, only to retrace my steps. As I pondered the situation along comes a fellow aided by two ski poles, sound familiar, Richard Reichman whom I had met, briefly, on the Tabletop hike. We tried the right trail again together, and came back after deciding that it wasn’t what we expected. We continued straight and finally found assurance that we were moving in the correct direction. We also realized that we had said “Hello” to each other several weeks ago, and since we were headed to the same peak, we decided to hike it together. Having someone to talk with and pace with made the day fly by very quickly. At 9:05 we reached Flowed Lands and at 9:30 we were at Herbert Brook. With all the research we had both done before the hike we were very confident about where we were and the direction to follow. We proceeded without the aid of compass and reached the summit of Marshall at 11:35. A single hiker passed us while we were walking the rock face of the brook, a large fellow whose name we never asked. We met him again at the summit; he left as we arrived (Bob Muller-is my guess). Dick and I stayed on the summit until after 1:00 and met four other people. We signed the log last and before I placed my name in it I noted that the person before me was a 46R, Neil Andrews #1338W. I haven’t met many who have completed the task so I asked him a question. When were the canisters going to be removed; and, his thoughts about the removal?
Without Neil here to defend himself it is probably wrong of me to write about the encounter, but Dick and I spent a good deal of time discussing it as we hiked out and I’m sure the opinions of many have been tossed about for a long time before the decision was finally made. I am now part of the process and offer my own direction to the matter.

Neil basically said, canisters and the 46R organization, attract hikers. Hikers cause a great deal of erosion on these fragile peaks. The canisters should go and the organization should go, but the organization is probably strong enough to continue on its own. Taking the canisters down will make hiking the trailess peaks less attractive. But herd paths have made the hikes so easy that the accomplishment is no longer what it used to be.
Everything Neil said seemed correct. But after listening to it I felt that Neil was angry, arrogant and pretty much devoid of understanding the reasons he came to the mountains in the ’70’s and why we come now.
What I heard Neil say was: I’m an accomplished hiker; I have more right to be here than other people do. The more people who achieve 46er status belittle my earlier efforts when it was hard, and if we remove the canisters the mountains will be less inviting so my accomplishments won’t be less important. Less people on MY mountain.

I did not argue with Neil on the summit of Marshall, I listened, any argument I offer now is only self serving, and more so now than it would have been then. But since I’ve written so much already I offer observations from yesterday and today.
1. The Adirondack area had been devastated before by lumbering, mining, trapping and hunting. What already exists is an altered state of nature.
2. Mans encroachment on the mountains is the natural order of things as is his effort to protect it and enjoy it.
3. Mans duration on this planet is going to be limited at best. We all have the need to pursue goals and recognition for achievement is only a small part of the human process.
4. We live in a technological society human mortality and agriculture have done a lot to change us. We now spend more than half our lives at recreation. The 1990’s are different from the 1970’s.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing.

Neil has hiked these mountains since 1972, sorry, its my turn. Neil was right, in that we each come to the mountains with our own beliefs. My knowing that others have cheated to achieve 46er status does not take anything away from me or the process. I have a personal feeling of satisfaction. If it were not for the 46R organization, I and many like me might not have ventured out. I will miss the canisters, but I found the mountains. I wish more people could and would. Don’t choke on your ego, Neil, but you’re the first negative experience I’ve had in the mountains to date.

After 1:00 we started down the path, when we reached the main trail at the bridge on Herbert Brook I decided to take the short walk over to Colden Dam. (Hadn’t seen it before) Dick, to my surprise decided to join me. We made that short jaunt took a water break and snack break on the dam and then headed back to Upper Works. Arrived there at 5:10PM.
After saying goodbye, Dick took off first; I was changing my footgear when a man engaged me in a quick conversation. I didn’t get his name but he told me that he was 70 years old and was going to climb Marcy, tomorrow. He had climbed Marcy every year for the last 41 years. We talked a while and he introduced me to his GPS that he has now carried for the last 2 years. I asked him why he needed the system after so many years in the mountains and he indicated that you would be a fool to venture out without the proper equipment. You just never know what the mountains will throw at you. At 70 years old he loved the new GPS technology. He made me think again about #1338W who was on top of Marshall without a pack, food, water bottle, etc. (his partner Ian had a pack).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2575 ft / 785 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2575 ft / 785 m
    Trailhead:1789 ft / 545 m
Descent Statistics

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