Ascent of Mount Marcy on 2016-03-05

Climber: Michael Stonek

Others in Party:Michelle DeCastro
Date:Saturday, March 5, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Marcy
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5344 ft / 1628 m

Ascent Trip Report

Michelle and I started at 8 AM from the ADK Loj. Some snow on the ground but not too bad. Temps ~ 10 F.
I had been wanting to do the Gray-Skylight-Marcy loop for a long time and this looked like a good day for it. The forecast was for very little wind and mostly sunny.

We took the blue trail for 2.3 miles to the Marcy Dam where we stopped to take some layers off. It was 8:45 AM. Then we took the yellow trail for 0.8 miles to an intersection to another blue trail towards Lake Arnold towards the left (yellow continued ahead towards Avalanche Pass and Lake Colden). We took blue and after 1.5 miles we arrived at Lake Arnold. It was 10 AM and the elevation was 3,700 ft.

We continued on the blue trail towards Feldspar, 1.6 miles ahead. At that point we started a gradual but constant descent all the way to Feldspar where the blue trail ended when intersecting yellow. We were at 3,250 ft. Making a right on yellow would've taken us down to the Uphill Lean-to and to Cliff and Redfield Mtns. We took a left instead towards Tear of the Clouds.

After 1.2 miles we arrived at the spur for Gray on the left. It was a 500 ft climb (after an initial quick descent) in 0.5 miles to the top. It was all tree covered by we had some decent views on some openings near the top. We were at 4,840 ft. It was 12:45 PM and we'd done 8.4 miles so far. We quickly descended and then from the trail we did the additional 0.3 miles to the Four Corners (from this point to can go to Gray, Skylight, Haystack or Marcy). We turned right towards Skylight, also about 0.5 miles and 500 ft of elevation away.

The climb to Skylight was great, offering some superb views. We stopped to take some pictures and enjoy the views on this very calm and mostly sunny winter day. We descended back to the Four Corners where Michelle went for a separation break towards a sign that said "Toilet". She came back complaining that there was no such toilet! Then she disappeared again. When she came back she wanted to take some electrolytes to avoid cramps, so I went ahead of her. The climb on Schofield Cobble to Marcy was 1,000 ft of elevation gain in 0.8 miles. After half that distance I went above treeline and from there it was rocky and icy to the top.

There was one other hiker at the peak of Marcy but he quickly started the descent when I arrived. Soon Michelle joined me and we spent a good amount of time taking pictures and enjoying the fantastic views. Still very calm the winds here also. It was 3:45 PM and the sun was starting to settle so we got some great colors on our way down. The descent on the front side of Marcy (via Van Hovenberg) was much easier because there was more snow and less ice. At around 5 PM I had to put my headlamp on, but it was a pretty easy descent to the car. I made it at 7:15 PM and Michelle followed a few minutes later. She had decided not to use her headlamp and use the light of the moon and snow instead!

On the final descent we heard the sound of a helicopter taking off. Also, when we were in the car before departing we saw a police car going around the parking lot. The next day we found out that a dear friend of ours and enthusiastic hiker, Hua Davis, had perished when attempting to climb MacNaughton Mtn on Friday. RIP.

My final tally for the day was: 17.5 miles and 5,300 ft of elevation gain in 11h and 15min.
Summary Total Data
Ascent Part of Trip: Gray-Sky-Marcy

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Gray Peak2016-03-05 
2Mount Skylight2016-03-05 
3Mount Marcy2016-03-05 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Stonek
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