Ascent of Algonquin Peak on 2013-07-16

Climber: Adam Sarata

Date:Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Algonquin Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5115 ft / 1559 m

Ascent Trip Report

Woke up at 6am in Lake Pleasant, got ready, and drove the hour and a half to the Lodge. I arrived at the Adirondack Lodge around 9 am. This was my first high peak climb in the Adirondacks from The Lodge. I was planning to do this climb solo. I was waiting for a man and his daughter to finish signing in when they asked me where I was going. I said Algonquin, and they said that is where they were going. They invited me to join them. I was happy to do so and enjoyed there company on the way. They climbed Wright Peak last year which was on the way. The climb begins on the Van Hoevenberg trail which is a major artery leading to several area high peaks. The trail was an easy dirt trail that lasted about a mile. Then you reach the junction for Algonquin Peak. At this point the trail becomes steep and rocky, very similar to the ascent of nearby Giant mountain without the views. About halfway up you reach a beautiful waterfall which made a great rest point and place to refill my water supply with my filter. Shortly after that your reach a huge rock that is called the Nubble. The younger lady I was climbing with said she can see Fred and Wilma on it. I couldn't, but I said I think I see Elvis! This generated some laughs. Shortly after the Nubble you will reach the junction to Wright Peak (another .4 miles). Algonquin peak was .9 miles from this point. The trees were much shorter in this section. There was a warning sign that said "Dangerous Area Ahead, Do Not Proceed Without Proper Equipment!", or something like that. The book I use to research the High Peaks climbs in the Adirondacks describes Algonquin peak with three separate stories resulting in fatalities. These stories did not make my wife very comfortable about my climb. One cannot stress enough the importance of mountain hiking safety and preparedness. After this point the trail becomes very steep, perhaps the steepest I have ever encountered. You are now hiking on large vertical slabs of rock that had me thinking how will I be getting down safely. Soon the trees disappear and you are surrounded by alpine vegetation. There are several signs that warn hikers to stay on the trail to avoid damaging the rare and fragile vegetation. I suggest all hikers heed these warnings. Near the summit my legs began to tell me they were running out of steam. But the yellow painted lines and cairns kept me going as I knew we were near the summit. Then finally we reached the summit at about 1pm. The views were breathtaking. You can see in all directions. My favorite view was that of nearby Colden Mountain and it's impressive rock slides. All previous high peaks that I climbed were on the outskirts of the High Peaks. Algonquin peak puts you in the heart of the peaks and I felt like I could almost reach out and touch them. There was a ranger on summit who climbs this mountain every day. I thought about that the next day as I struggled to walk up the few steps that leads to the restroom were I was staying, due to fatigue. You can also clearly see nearby Iroquois peak which aspiring 46ers will want to climb. It will take you another few hours there and back. As tempting as that was, my legs did not have enough juice in them to safely make it. I also did not have enough time. Be mindful of how much time you spend on a summit, as it will take hours to get back down. Most fatalities occur on the way down, when unprepared hikers get caught in terrible weather, run out of light, water, energy, or etc. It gets dark enough to not be able to see the person standing next to you. Take these warnings seriously. The hike down was tricky. We were passed by the Ranger who was on the summit. We discussed what it must be like to have a job like that. We discussed many things about life that kept us going. I was grateful to have some company. The Van Hoevenberg trail seemed at least twice as long on the way back. We recalled the few hikers who asked us "are we getting close to the lodge?" when we began our hike. We had now become like those hikers. Soon enough we made it to the trail head safely just before 6pm. This is an accessible climb, with access to water, and amazing views. However being the second highest mountain in NY you will need to earn it. If you attempt this climb, do so safely. Do not be afraid to turn around if you think you should. Your life may depend on it.
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    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy

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