Ascent of Haystack Mountain on 2017-02-21

Climber: Douglas Fortman

Others in Party:Jim Haynor -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Haystack Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:2874 ft / 875 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day three of Jim & Doug's fabulous winter hiking adventure, 2017 edition continues! We decided to hike Haystack, no, not THAT Haystack, Haystack Major, although, I still need to hike THAT Haystack to get my 46. This time we're taking on Haystack Minor, of the Saranac Lake 6ers.

Haystack offers a tremendous view of the Great Range from the north and is well worth the effort. We struck out on the trail this morning with our microspikes. After two days of hiking in this area we finally figured out, the snowshoes aren't needed now with no recent significant snow fall and warm days causing trails to soften and cold nights to harden overnight. Jim had new Hillsounds, and I had my Kahtoola's today. Both provided sufficient traction for today's challenge. I've only recently started wearing the microspikes - where have they been all my life? They are great! I wore my old crampons yesterday, but they were overkill. The microspikes go on so easy, and are so light weight.

So the trail up to Haystack starts out with about two miles of rolling and generally flat trail, a lot of which runs parallel with Route 86. You come to a trail junction, the red trail continues on to McKenzie, the blue trail, to the left goes to Haystack. Just after the trail junction are the remnants of an old dam which you have to cross over. And then the pitch starts to increase, at first, moderately, until you see the peak rising up out of the ground right in front of you. And you know, the final assault on the summit is going to require some sweat, lots of oxygen, rests and persistence. There were some slick, icy sections on the final steep pitch to the summit, but the spikes did their job and kept us upright.

Finally, we broke out onto the shoulder of the summit, with occasional and evermore tantalizing views to the south. These breaks of open air with their portals to the high peaks provided the reward for the long and relatively uninteresting hike (to that point, anyway), and gave us the motivation to continue on to the summit. THERE! We made it! And, the view of the Great Range to the south was astounding! It wasn't a perfectly sunny day as the others on our trip were. The clouds were high and it was clear enough to see the other peaks. The slides on Gothics were just amazing! Marcy was all white with snow and ice. Algonquin, Boundary and Iroquois, distinctive and all white! Santanoni was all white.

So, after enjoying the spectacular view, taking some photos, and munching a few snacks, we started the long trek back down. About a mile down, after we'd passed by the steepest part of the descent, we stopped for our lunch - liverwurst, with Muenster cheese on sandwich thins! Mmmmm! That really hit the spot! Then it was back to the casual hike through the woods and to the car. Another great hike in the books.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1240 ft / 377 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1240 ft / 377 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.2 mi / 11.6 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Cloudy (high clouds), warm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1240 ft / 377 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Start Trailhead:From Route 86   1634 ft / 498 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1240 ft / 377 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route:From Route 86
    End Trailhead:1634 ft / 498 m
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.

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