Ascent of Iroquois Peak on 2011-05-09

Climber: Jesse Quonce

Date:Monday, May 9, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Iroquois Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4843 ft / 1476 m

Ascent Trip Report

From my post on the ADKHighPeaks Forum:

Started out on an overcast day around 8am, one other person signed in for the same two peaks, who was just ahead of me. Van Hovenberg Trail is dry and hard-packed all the way to the Algonquin junction. From there it's muddy in sections with several giant pines and spruce on the trail. Snow begins just after the falls, and is firm and even. I caught up to the other hiker, Gary, who I passed and didn't see again until the "You must have the proper gear" sign, where I stopped to take a break. He was about to turn around, as he did not bring any traction devices. I brought snowshoes, crampons, and yaktrax, so at the Wright Peak junction he put on my yaktrax and I put on MSR's.

The snow continues on the Algonquin Trail all the way to treeline, where it stops immediately. The wide and steep portion of the trail that is so fun to buttslide in winter is a icy slab in the AM, and a slushy pool in the PM. We each took to one side and slowly made our way to treeline. I took off the MSR's, while the yaktrax came entirely apart by the first cairn. Before long, we were at the summit taking pictures. 360 degree views as usual. The sun started to really shine, but the wind speed increased as well, so I stayed in my light winter gear.

We cruised down toward the Iroquois herdpath. My only experience with the herdpath is in Fall, where it was a wet, sloppy, bootsucking, mess. This time was a completely different story. The snowspine is about 3 feet high, but at best about an inch wide at the top. We found ourselves sidestepping this snow tightrope all the way to Boundary, and then in-between Boundary and the bump, and again all the way to Iroquois. It was painstaking to say the least. I found all the remaining sprucetraps near Iroquois. The views from Iroquois are fantastic. This was my third attempt, and I'm glad I finally made it (so I don't have to go back anytime soon!).

By the time we made it back to Algonquin, we were exhausted. The trip over and back to Iroquois took twice as much effort as it did to reach Algonquin in the first place. We slowly slogged along until we reached treeline and snow, where we finally encountered the only other hikers we saw all day. I snowshoe slid and Gary barebooted down the weakening snow. We had our share of trips and falls. Back at the junction, I finally was about to pack up my winter gear, thank goodness, and we continued our trek back home. We finally reached the parking lot around 6pm.

Overall, this was a great hike. I couldn't help thinking about Jim C, Nancy, the ADK Ladies, and my fiancee Erin, who had all tried in the past to reach Iroquois with me, and we had all failed. It would have been nice to have them with me there on what turned out to be a beautiful day. I still need to go over again for my Winter round, but thankfully that's a long way off!

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear

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