Ascent of Algonquin Peak on 1983-11-06

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:M B Taylor
G Hebert and his Brother-in-law Bruno
Date:Sunday, November 6, 1983
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Algonquin Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5115 ft / 1559 m

Ascent Trip Report

Once in a life time sight.

The weather cleared as we climbed higher. We had finished climbing a rock ledge after a fairly steep rocky section of trail ...... at about 3 miles just before a flat area with a rock cobble on the right ........ when we heard Martin say "You guys may want to look back". We looked back to one of those once in a life time sights "the summit of Whiteface to the North East protruding proudly above an expansive white table, warmed by the bright sun". An awesome site, a view that the average person gets to see only in magazines or perhaps in an airplane as you climb out of a heavy cloud. I was very thankfull for this day.

Guy Hebert, his brother-in-law Bruno and I accepted Martin Taylor's invitation to join him on today's climb to Algonquin Peak and Iroquois Peak. Martin was in the process of completing the ADK 46ers 4000 Footers, I was the rookie and just starting to get the Peakbagging bug.

We left home very early with fairly clear promising weather for the 2 hour-plus drive to Lake Placid in the ADK, we arrived to find a 2-3 inch thick blanket of snow "a real winter wonderland". It didn't look good ...... misty, poor visibility, possible snow ... not a good day for the mountains. We considered aborting the outing but decided to start and see what happens.
The last bridge on the road in to Heart Lake was closed for repairs so we parked the car on the roadside and walked the last 3/4 mile or so to the TH's main parking at Heart Lake's High Peaks Information Center.

Martin led us out of the TH following the mostly flat Van Hoevenberg trail to a trail junction at 1 mile, where the Van Hoevenberg continues left to Marcy Dam and beyond and the yellow blazed Algonquin trail starts straight ahead to the right on a generally easy grade with easy walking.
The typical ADK rough and rocky trail soon begins a moderate climb crossing a brook and a pretty waterfall on the left at 2 miles. We took a break here. Soon after the trail starts its rocky steep ascent, having to negotiate huge bolders and rock steps, the going slippery and difficult at places. Finally reaching the flat area at 3 miles as noted above.

After enjoying the truly unforgetable moment ...... Where is my camera? ...... we continued on a easy grade and after a short steep section passed the spur trail left to Mount Wright. Not long after you are at "tree line" and the start of the final steep climb to the summit ....... a vertical climb of about 1100 feet in just .8 miles. Having to negotiate a lot of smooth rock faces and rock ledges, the going was slow and very slippery.

At the summit Martin decided to leave Iroquois for another day. The clear panorama was superb, clouds down in the valleys below, cold and windy, we decided to start our way down, had a snack at tree line sheltered from the wind. The safe descent to the car was uneventfull, as was the long drive home. The weather much improved, overcast with good visibility.

I greatly enjoyed this day and very glad that we "decided to start and see what happens". One of those adventures that one never forget. Thanks goes to Martin for the invite.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2936 ft / 894 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.6 mi / 17.1 km
    Route: road to heart lake/van hoevenberg trail/algonquin
    Trailhead:heart lake, loj parking  2179 ft / 664 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Low Clouds
start with misty, heavy overcast, possible snow, end with overcast skies

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