Ascent of Mount Marcy on 2012-05-06

Climber: Mike Guethle

Date:Sunday, May 6, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Marcy
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5344 ft / 1628 m

Ascent Trip Report

I did a trip of Colden, Cliff, Gray, Skylight, Haystack and Marcy this weekend with my friend that I graduated college with. We stayed at Lake Arnold the first night out. Overall distance: First day 7.7mi, second 22.2mi.

The trail to Colden via Lake Arnold is easy and gradual, and had no snow until about 4 miles from the TH at Heart Lake. From there, we went up Colden. It was a gradual hike with some steep spots; microspikes were helpful but not necessary. There are great views from the first shoulder, and from the summit (or a ledge near the summit) as well.

Spent the night, ate some food. Lake Arnold was great; very pretty place to stay, and hardly anyone was there. All too often, people go to the high peaks for the sole purpose of climbing peaks, talking about peaks, peaking out on peaks and forget what else is there. The moon was super bright and we had a bit of trouble sleeping. There was a frost as well, so prepare for that. Otherwise, we did alright and were up and on trail well before 7, leaving our overnight gear at the lake.

We trailed off towards Cliff in the morning; microspikes will be very useful starting at Feldspar Lean To. They were not needed after the fork of the Cliff/Red trail. The Cliffs were very fun, and the peak was easy afterwards. Coming off of that, my friend got blistered up and turned around.

I pushed on to Gray; had no trouble finding the trailhead, directly at the outlet of Lake Tear. I took my microspikes off for that trail, and put them back on going to Skylight.

Skylight took all of ten minutes to do, but needed spikes being on the north face and all. I had the peak to myself, so I stayed. No one was on Gray or Cliff, either. Only one other group was atop Colden... where is everyone?

From here I made the terrible idea to push into Panther Gorge to Haystack. I've been there once before, and it was one of my favorite places in the ADKs then. The trail is not broken, and I was postholing through 2 feet of snow. In May. Why does no one travel this trail? It crosses a great brook at the col and has amazing views the whole way up. Granted it's a very difficult trail and all, it's very rewarding. If you go, bring snowshoes; spikes hardly helped. I also had Haystack to myself, but realizing I still had 10 miles to go, I pushed on to Marcy.

The trail between Haystack and Marcy on the north slope needs spikes, and has some pretty great views. The bubble they call Little Haystack is a beast, though. I gave everything I had on Haystack and was recovering coming off, and didn't prepare. I took a little nap and drank the rest of my water. I traded a Cadbury Egg for a half liter to a lady on Marcy's summit, where there were only a dozen people. Once you hit rock, don't bother with spikes.

Over Marcy, back past Lake Tear and on to Lake Arnold, then full pack back to the Lodge. Great weekend, bluebird skies.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
Ascent Part of Trip: Haystack-A-Go-Go (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Colden2012-05-05 
2Cliff Mountain2012-05-06 
3Gray Peak2012-05-06 
4Mount Skylight2012-05-06 
5Mount Haystack2012-05-06 
6Mount Marcy2012-05-06 

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