Ascent of Macomb Mountain on 2014-09-20

Climber: Steve Smith

Others in Party:Kevin Zuech
Date:Saturday, September 20, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Macomb Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4370 ft / 1331 m

Ascent Trip Report

Kevin, Dayana, and I started out from the Elk Lake Trailhead around 8am. We parked on the edge of the road just outside of the parking lot since it was full. I was a little worried that we weren't allowed to park there but there were no parking signs on the nearby roadside but not where we parked so we took a chance that it was okay. The trail was smooth and soft in the beginning but quickly became the typical rocky Adirondack trail. After less than an hour, we crossed the bridge and found the cairn marking the right turn for the campsite and herd path. We eventually came across a junction and two people who were unsure of which way to go. They asked us if we knew where we were going. Since I had used the other trail heads for the Dix Range in the past I told them I wasn't sure. I suspected based on some things I had read and the fact that there was what looked like a ravine to our right that we needed to turn right. Thirty feet or so down the trail I ran into the entrance to the Macomb slide. We zig zagged up the slide in an attempt to take the path of least resistance. There was a cairn at the top where we re-entered the woods and got back on the herd path. A short distance later there was another split. The path to the left seemed to be flat or maybe even heading slightly downward. We took the right/straight path since it seemed to be headed in the right direction and was also going up. We followed this path to the summit of Macomb. After stopping to take a few group photos we headed toward South Dix. Eventually we came to a bare rocky area that required a little scrambling. There seemed to be two paths here as well. We went to the right before turning straight up the rock. The path flattened and re-entered the trees above the rock. The summit of South Dix is in the trees and right on the trail. There is a mark cut in the bark on the tree and a little area next to the trail just big enough for a small group. After a mostly flat section the trail dips into the col before heading back up Grace (East Dix). The loss and gain is relatively small. We were a little confused when the summit rocks had no sign or disc because I had seen some photos of a really nice wooden "Grace" sign and there was a yellow disc on the rock when Dayana and I had done it in the winter. We did however find the holes in the rock where the sign and disc used to be. We found out after the trip that the DEC wanted the sign removed because it was not an official sign. I understand their reasoning but think they should have made an exception in this case. We didn't spend a lot of time here since it was windy and all the views were blocked by the clouds that we had been hiking in since we got on the ridges and summits. We headed back over South Dix and found the herd path leading to Hough. This was the last section unfamiliar unmaintained trail that none of us had been on. It was easy to follow except for maybe at the campsite. There was more than one herd path but we guessed correctly. From what I've read, the other herd path goes down Lilian Brook. Eventually, we came to a 20 ft steppy but steep rock wall. There was an arrow marking a path around the rocks to the left. We followed the arrow rather than going up the rocks. The trail was very narrow but didn't feel exposed as one trip report suggested. We joined up with the trail that went over the rocks in a short distance. The summit of Hough would have had some nice views except for the cloud cover. The descent of Hough and the long ascent of Dix was very familiar. I had done this section during my December trip to the Dix Range. I started getting quad cramps on the way up so it was a slow and painful hike up to the Beckhorn. Once on the rocks, it was easy going to the summit of Dix. The descent down the yellow trail was a little steep and felt long but not bad. We even had enough energy to do a little running at the end so that we could finish just under 10 hours for the day.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Very Windy, Low Clouds
We hiked literally inside of a misty cloud all day.
Ascent Part of Trip: Dix Range in a day (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Macomb Mountain2014-09-20 
2South Dix2014-09-20 
3Grace Mountain2014-09-20 
4Hough Peak2014-09-20 
5Dix Mountain2014-09-20 

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