Ascent of Iroquois Peak on 2017-07-12

Climber: Douglas Fortman

Others in Party:Malcolm Kogut
Date:Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Iroquois Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4843 ft / 1476 m

Ascent Trip Report

Iroquois Peak is a trail-less 46er peak, with an extremely well defined herd path that starts at a trail/unmarked-trail junction on the yellow trail that descends from Algonquin to Lake Colden. At the trail junction is sign with a yellow trail marker and arrow pointing toward Lake Colden. To the right of the sign the herd path begins by cutting through extremely dense tree growth, so thick and narrow that it's difficult to pass by hikers coming the other direction. Turn sideways and suck it in!

Over the next .6 mile as you follow the herd path through the trees and over the summit of Boundary and then on to the summit of Iroquois the path alternates between dense growth and open rock with paint blazes and cairns. As you make your way up the side of Boundary and stop to catch your breath, turn around and you'll see an impressive view of Algonquin, much of which, at this altitude is above the tree line. You'll also likely spot other hikers on the summit, and probably some that are descending or ascending Algonquin. Over the wettest sections of the herd path there are some newly constructed bog bridges; thank you trail crews for building these! They help reduce soil erosion and keep your boots, legs and pants dry and free of mud! Overall, this is a really nice little jaunt from Algonquin, with an excellent unobstructed 360 degree view at the summit of Iroquois.

From the summit, looking south you'll see the nub that is called Shepherd's Tooth, as well as nice views of Wallface Mountain (NY State's highest cliff at over 600') and MacNaughton (the forgotten 46er) to the right (west), Marshall to the south, Flowed Lands, Lake Colden and Colden Mountain to the left (east).

The journey: This hike was with two of my best friends, one from Georgia (age 66) on a quest to complete all 46 of the ADK High Peaks. He is now one shy after we completed Allen two days prior to this hike. The other doesn't keep track (age ?? - he doesn't keep track), is on a quest to hike all trails on this planet, explore every nook and cranny and enjoy living in the moment. Some become 46ers by climbing the 46 Adirondack peaks over 4000 ft. in as little as a year, and some will do it numerous times in their lives. However, like my buddy Jim, I (at age 57) am nearing completion of what long has become a lifelong adventure to climb them, with 43 under my belt (after taking down Allen the other day). Iroquois would make #44 for me. Somehow, Iroquois has eluded me over the years. I've done Algonquin and Wright many times, including in the winter, but for many reasons (or excuses) I've not done Iroquois - I've either run out of time (shouldn't have done Wright that time), energy (shouldn't have done Wright that time), or, the weather just didn't cooperate. This time, I was not going to be denied!

Having done the Allen Mountain Marathon two days prior, we were still recovering a bit (some recovered more than others). What a contrast this hike was compared to Allen. We struck out at 6:30am from the ADK Loj. Even though it was mid-week, we saw many people on the trail, many of whom we would see several times throughout the day as we leap-frogged each other along the trail. The trail is much more heavily traveled (than Allen), partly due to the fact that the hike is much shorter. However, because you're climbing over Algonquin, the second tallest peak in NY State, in order to reach the summit of Iroquois, you're climbing about 3780 feet (my total ascent with this out-and-back hike from the LOJ to Iroquois). Allen was a total of 3260 feet of elevation gain.

When we reached the summit we enjoyed the views while consuming our lunches. To the north of us, the clouds hung menacingly. I was a little concerned they would press southward over us and take away our views, but they held north the entire day. Many times I've been up here I've seen the summit socked in. Today though, we were rewarded, and this was an encouraging sign. We could see the summits of Boundary and Iroquois clearly and I wanted to move on quickly to take advantage of this beautiful day. Malcolm and I felt great and we were ready to move. But Jim, decided he would hang out on the summit of Algonquin and rest. He was still recovering from Allen, and had already done Iroquois years ago.

So Malcolm and I headed down the cairn and paint blazed trail to the junction at the col between Algonquin and Boundary where there was a sign indicating the marked trail continued with a left turn. Here is where the herd path to Boundary and Iroquois begins. We squeezed our way through the narrow path through the dense growth of trees until we reached the base of the rock face of Boundary where we scrambled up and over, continuing to follow paint blazes and cairns. Then it was back into the trees until we came to the base of the rocky summit of Iroquois, where again, the final approach is above the treeline. No benchmark on top of Iroquois, but, it's pretty obvious where the summit is.

#44!! YEAH!! We took a few summit selfies and got an awkward video of ourselves doing a celebratory jump in the air, including another hiker we had been leap-frogging with during our hike. We referred to him as "Science Guy" - an 8th grade science teacher, with a good sense of humor, as he went along with our silliness. After admiring Wallface and Shepherd's Tooth we decided to head back and pick up Jim and begin the descent to the ADK LOJ.

The cloud layer maintained its northward stance, obscuring Whiteface Mountain as we descended from Algonquin. We didn't break any land speed records today, but we made it back in one piece. Two to go!
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Iroquois (and Boundary between) from the trail descending from Algonquin to the col between Algonquin and Boundary (2017-07-12). Photo by Douglas Fortman.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3780 ft / 1152 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.8 mi / 17.4 km
    Route:Algonquin Trail, herd path to Iroquois
    Trailhead:1063 ft / 324 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Mostly sunny, warm with no rain
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 27 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 45 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Iroquois via Algonquin (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Algonquin Peak2017-07-122903 ft / 885 m
2Boundary Peak2017-07-12 
3Iroquois Peak2017-07-123780 ft / 1152 m
Total Trip Gain: 6683 ft / 2037 m    Total Trip Loss: 6683 ft / 2037 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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Wallface Mountain beckons! (from the summit of Iroquois Peak) (2017-07-12). Photo by Douglas Fortman.
Click here for larger-size photo.

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