Ascent of Cliff Mountain on 2012-08-03

Climber: Austin Black

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, August 3, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cliff Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3944 ft / 1202 m

Ascent Trip Report

I took Friday off from work at BorgWarner, and headed up to Heart Lake Thursday night. Friday morning, I woke up and set off for Cliff, Redfield, and Marshall. I signed in at 07:13 under overcast skies, but cool with low humidity. I made excellent time into Marcy Dam, running the sidewalk-like trail in 22 minutes. I took a few photos of the dewatered pond and dam destroyed by hurricane Irene. I continued on toward Avalanche Lake, where I again stopped for some photos as the skies began to clear. Hiking over ladders, bridges, and the “Hitch-Up Matildas,” I reached the Lake Colden interior outpost and hiked along the shore of Lake Colden, before reaching the trail junction for Uphill Brook at Lake Colden Dam in just under two hours. This section of trail, as well as the sections along the shores of Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is very enjoyable, with gorgeous views. I reached the junction for the Cliff/Redfield trail split and departed from the rock and stove cairn towards Cliff to begin the first of three ascents. The short sections of trail for which the peak gets its name are slow going, but not very technically difficult. It would certainly be dangerous in icy or wet conditions, though. I reached the summit, which I shared with another older gentleman who lived in South Carolina, but had a camp near Gore Mountain. He said that he began hiking high peaks in the winter when the lift lines at Gore became too long, and got hooked. I snapped some pictures, and chatted with him on our descent back to the cairn. I continued to hike with him for part of the way up Redfield, but he hung back as the trail began to crisscross and rock-hop along the brook. The ascent seemed longer than anticipated, but was not very difficult, with a steady grade and sure footing. I shared the summit with a Canadian father and daughter, who kindly took a photo of me on the summit in exchange for taking a photo of them. I departed after eating half of my sandwich, and made good time descending, passing the man that I earlier hiked with as he was nearing the summit. Both trails were easy to follow, despite the fact that they are “trail-less.” The path up Cliff had some painted markings at turns, though I didn’t feel that they were necessary. I headed back towards Lake Colden Dam, and enjoyed the plumes and waterfalls beside the trail on my way. After reaching the dam, I headed toward the herd path for Mount Marshall, and found the large cairn marking my turn. Like Redfield, this was not a particularly difficult ascent, but was considerably longer than anticipated. I saw only one other group of four, and began to get quite hungry and thirsty as I hiked along. I paused to dip my head in the brook that they trail followed, and took a break on the summit to drink more water and eat the last of my food when I topped out. Again, this was a beautiful trail through the woods, and was easy to follow. I seemed to enjoy the trail more than the summit, which lacked a view (though I didn’t hike any side trails in search of one). After my break, I began my descent and long trek back to Heart Lake. It had been a while since my last hike, and though I’ve been running and biking a lot lately, I felt more tired than expected, though not over-tired. I reached the base of Marshall and began my return journey. I passed a few other groups on my way out, including a man who once resided in Clinton. I finished the last of my water when I reached Marcy Dam, and certainly didn’t feel like running this section as I had in the morning. I reached the register and signed out at 17:50, which was later than I had planned, but was a better pace than I had planned due to my underestimation of the mileage. I got back to the canvas cabin, drank a lot of water, showered, and headed into Lake Placid to grab some pizza for dinner. It was a long way, but the three peaks brings me to 36/46, with only the Dix range, Santanoni Range, Seymour, and Big Slide left to conquer.
Summary Total Data
Ascent Statistics
    Start Trailhead:Heart Lake Campground  
Descent Statistics

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