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Ascent of Mount Marcy on 2016-03-05

Climber: Ed Kobos

Others in Party:Jim L
Date:Saturday, March 5, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Marcy
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5344 ft / 1628 m

Ascent Trip Report

3rd in my Three Peak Traverse.
Adk Loj to Gray Peak, to Mt. Skylight and on to Mt. Marcy and return to the Loj.

Turning onto the ADK Loj road, the views to the south were just super. It was 5F, when we arrived at the parking lot. We took all of our traction devices: Snowshoes, Crampons and Micro Spikes. There was hardly any snow at the Loj. The trail was well packed and icy in some spots between the Loj and Marcy Dam. The boardwalk, only 8 minutes in, was covered with a thin layer of snow and ice. Some bridges were sloped, making it tricky to walk straight. When we arrived at Marcy Dam, the sun was shining and the views of Wright, Algonquin, Avalanche and Colden very picturesque
On our way to Avalanche Camp, we also passed 2 groups of ICE climbers on their way to the Trap Dyke. The trail was still hard packed snow with no evidence of any post holes, so there was no need for snow shoes. The trail to Lake Arnold was also hard packed. There was maybe 4-6” of fresh powder on the trees and trails and it didn’t look like they got any rain. We headed toward the Feldspar Brook Lean To for lunch. We lost a few hundred feet of elevation on the way. The views of the Mt. Colden slides were terrific. We hit the trail intersection at Feldspar Brook. We headed in the correct direction, UP, The trail was still hard packed with some power on it. After about 45 minutes we decided to stop in the middle of the trail to eat lunch. From there it didn’t take too long to get to Lake Tear. We met 2 groups of guys who just came down from the Gray Summit. One of them just finished their 46er on Gray and the others were there as part of a stag party trip. We changed into our snowshoes, dropped our packs and headed up. The snow was deeper and there were a few places where the ice made it very slow going. The trip started out much steeper than I thought I read in the On-Line reports. The trip up took about 45 minutes, although it really seemed a lot longer. On top we were greeted with just fantastic views of Mt. Marcy. WOW, it just kept rising way above the horizon. We got a good look at Skylight. It looked as steep as Marcy! The trip down was much quicker. It took us only 22 minutes to descend. We picked up our packs and headed for 4 Corners. It seemed like we just put our packs on, and we were already at 4C. We dropped our packs, again, and headed up Skylight. As we climbed I heard motor noises in the distance. As I looked north-east, I could see puffs of snow to the NNE. And then I saw a helicopter fly away. . I continued up to the summit and the views were even more spectacular. We stayed on top for about 10 minutes and then we headed down. Going down again was easier then going up, taking less than 20’ to descend. We were putting our packs back on and grabbing another byte to eat as a group of 8 approached from Lake Tear. They were staying at Lake Colden and wanted to Summit Marcy. They didn’t drop their packs and headed up. We followed them a few minutes later. The trail up was steep and in slippery in spots. When we broke into the open rocks, above tree line we had to change from snow shoes to Micro Spikes and crampons. It was all ice from there up as far as I could see. I had absolutely NO issues climbing up. My track wasn’t the straightest, but …The light was fading as we headed down the trail on the north side of Marcy. We kept our crampons on even though there was more snow than ice. The trail was hard to follow, in spots. The wind blew snow into the tracks of anyone in front of us. I planned ahead and put a waypoint in my GPS for the Van Hovenberg / Phelps trail intersection and we headed for it. Halfway there, we turned back to the west and were treated to a beautiful sunset. We hit the intersection and it was a good feeling to be off the Mt, while still in daylight. From here we just followed the trails, down to Marcy Dam. Because of the late time, we decided to not try for Little Marcy. We headed down and passed the Trail 2 Junction. It was still light enough to see it. We could feel it getting a bit cooler and it read 12.4F at 5:45. We passed the trail to Indian Falls and I remembered what a great view it had back when I climbed Tabletop. At 6:25 we decided to stop and dig out our head lamps. We both kept our spikes/crampons on, making descending very easy. No slipping, at all. We didn’t see much and just kept heading down. It had been a long day. We passed the trails to Tabletop and Phelps Mountains as we descended. We hit Marcy Dam and took another break, before heading out. The 2.3 miles back to the car was a drudge. It seemed to go on forever. In reality it took us only 53 minutes. We changed quickly and headed home. Altogether we were on the trail for 12:33. It was a very long but very rewarding day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:969 ft / 295 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3148 ft / 959 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.9 mi / 12.7 km
    Grade/Class:IV
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Ice Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Cold, clear with thin clouds, windy on the summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:969 ft / 295 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:Marked trail to tree line then herd path to summit
    Start Trailhead:Four Corners  4375 ft / 1333 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3148 ft / 959 m
    Distance:7.1 mi / 11.4 km
    Route:Herd path to VanHovenberg trail to Loj
    End Trailhead:ADK Loj  2196 ft / 669 m
    Time:3 Hours 46 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Gray Skylight Marcy

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Gray Peak2016-03-052630 ft / 802 m
2Mount Skylight2016-03-05567 ft / 173 m
3Mount Marcy2016-03-05969 ft / 295 m
Total Trip Gain: 4166 ft / 1270 m    Total Trip Loss: 4166 ft / 1271 m



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