Ascent of Ampersand Mountain on 2017-02-20

Climber: Douglas Fortman

Others in Party:Jim Haynor -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Monday, February 20, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ampersand Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3314 ft / 1010 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day two of my annual winter hiking adventure with Georgia Jim. We decided to hike Ampersand Mountain, named after the Ampersand Creek, which, the shape of which to some, resembles an Ampersand. Tweet it: #&

We started the day at the trail head on Route 3 between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, first to sign in and get started up the trail. The first mile of the trail is practically flat, and at this time of the year, with no new recent snowfalls and the recent warm weather, the trail had a lot of ice. We started off with our snowshoes, as they have great cleats and gave us all the grip we needed to make it to the top, even on the icy steep pitches near the summit.

At the one mile point the trail starts a moderate pitch. And then, at about 2 miles, the pitch increases dramatically and from that point to the summit, it's pretty steep, and it had some dicey icy sections. Persistence (and numerous rest stops) paid off though, and the summit finally revealed itself. The open summit was bare, with no snow or ice on the main rocky summit. It had been cleared many years ago for a fire tower, which has since been removed. The result is a bare open rock summit with awesome 360 degree views. We were the first to the summit that day and had it to ourselves. I counted at least three benchmarks on the summit.

From here we had a nice view across Ampersand Lake to Seymour, Seward, Donaldson and Emmons. Turn right and you're looking at the Saranac Lakes. Turn right some more and there is McKenzie and Whiteface, covered in snow, so impressive! To the southeast is a great view of the McIntyre's with the impressive Wright, Algonquin, Boundary and Iroquois in full view. And, Marcy is just peeking over the shoulder of Wright on the left.

We enjoyed the sun and the vistas for a while and had some snacks before the breeze picked up and reminded us it's still winter. So we packed up and started down, but, instead of relying on the snowshoes, we switched to crampons and micro spikes. Jim has new Hillsound Spikes, and they are excellent - with nice design improvements over the popular Kahtoola Microspikes! I used my 30 year old 12-point crampons on the way down. They are still awesome, and gave me all sorts of confidence heading down the icy pitches. On the way back down we passed 15 other people on their way up, including one family of 7 and one couple with a dog. It was a beautiful day, and a great hike.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1750 ft / 533 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Trailhead:Route 3 trailhead  1564 ft / 476 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Beautiful sunny day, clear skies
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Douglas Fortman
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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