Ascent of Seward Mountain on 1997-06-27

Climber: Alan Bangel

Others in Party:alone
Date:Friday, June 27, 1997
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Seward Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4331 ft / 1320 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is my sixteenth hike report. (June 26th, 1997 hike (originally written on July 5th 1997), report entered March 8th 2010)

A new year and new challenges. Though it wasn’t a terrible winter, weather wise, I spent a lot of time thinking, reading, and planning for this years hikes. Now, that my peaks completed number is in the thirties the goal of completing the 46 seems all that more believable and possible. I also know that most of the peaks I’ve yet to climb are further away and will require longer hikes and a different approach to see them through. My original plans for the first hike this year included having an eight-day vacation with six days taken in the Adirondacks. As the end of the school year approached the dates between school ending and summer school beginning became compressed and my eight days dwindled to six. I planned a completely new list of peaks to be completed in five days. As it ended up I was in the Adirondacks for four days and managed to complete four of the five peaks I had planned to do.
My original plan was to start with Allen, then backpack into Flowed Lands where I would try Grey and Skylight, Cliff and Redfield, and Mt Colden. The altered plans called for a backpack in from the Coreys to Blueberry Lean-to then a day for Steward, Donaldson, and Emmons. After which a hike of Seymour, and the return trip to the van, for the final day. After completing those four I would take a days rest and then attempt a long day to reach Allen. The altered plans almost happened.
On the 25th of June, after spending a day with my sister-in-law living in Oneonta and my visiting sister-in-law and family from California, I gathered my gear and headed for the Adirondacks at about 2:45PM. During the preceding months I had searched again for a partner but was unable to locate a gullible soul. It didn’t matter; this was something I wanted to do.
The weather outlook for the next few days was nothing short of excellent. This Wednesday was hot and muggy threatening thundershowers in the morning like the ones that had been passing through on the two previous days. As I drove North on Rte.30 the sky cleared the humidity dropped and the temperature went from 90 to about 78 degrees. By 8:30, shopping done, I was eating dinner at the White Birch Café in Tupper Lake. By 10:10 I was parked at the trailhead to the Blueberry Foot Trail.
The first night in the van was one of the worst I have spent there. It was warmer in the vehicle than I liked so I cracked the windows a bit hoping for some fresh air while trying to discourage insect from making an invasion. The infamous “no-see-ums” kept me jumping from 10:30 until 3:00, until being completely wrapped in a sheet gave me enough relief to finally get some rest. By 6:00 I was up and by 7:05 I was on my way down the trail. The register informed me that five other people in two separate parties were already on the same quest as I. The 43 lb. Pack I was hauling was my biggest worry and I was so concerned about having to carry it 4.5 miles that I planned to rest often and hiking in was all I expected to do that day. I rested three times and by 9:25 had reached the Blueberry Lean-to. I set up a tent in a clearing behind the lean-to, hung my bear bag, and by 10:30 didn’t quite know what to do with myself. My plan was to hike Seward, Donaldson, and Emmons tomorrow and then do Seymour and hike out the next day. With the better part of the day still in front of me I decided to hike Seymour instead of just sitting around. I had little clue as to how much effort I had exhausted on the two-hour carry-in.
The trail up Seymour was steep and poorly trailed, meaning it wasn’t real obvious whether I was traveling in the most often used section of herd path. The winter and water erosion had made a good deal of the area wet. Most of the climb was done in the woods to the right of the slide. At 12:40 I was able to get my first views of Ampersand Lake and Street and Nye, at 1:05 I reached the canister. The weather was beautiful during most of the climb but as I reached the top the cloud cover started to increase and the blue sky completely disappeared. As I sat munching trail mix on the upper rock ledge facing the Seward Range the temperature was dropping and the sky looked increasingly more threatening. The black flies and mosquitoes had been eating away at me all day, now, a deerfly decided to take a drink from my lip. As my lip swelled I decided that staying any length of time on the ledge was not a good idea. I was beginning to feel fatigued from last night and the day’s activities; my camera wasn’t working right (light meter battery was not giving consistent readings) so I started down the trail. I was back at the Ward Brook Lean-to at 3:15. The weather had steadily improved on the way down so now I sat at the front of the lean-to reading the log that had been placed there a little over a year ago. I headed back to Blueberry Lean-to after reading for about an hour. Prepared dinner, my first Mountain House dehydrated meal, Beef Stew, (very good) and before sunset around 8:00 headed for bed.
Since I hike alone, and very few people care to listen as I relay my exploits, this report helps to clarify and remind me of those things that occupied my mind other than my fears of getting lost, hurt, or otherwise left cold and wet due to nature and inadequate knowledge and planning. On my walk to the Seymour trailhead I met Sarah Jensen, Alex Loud & Kerry the Border collie. We spoke for a few minutes and then they continued their hike out as I proceeded on. Half way up Seymour I met Jane Meader Nye, Tony Solomon, and Alvin Fertel on their way down and ready to break camp when they reached their belongings. My hopes of having someone to talk to back at the lean-to had quickly vanished. How serious was I about hiking the 46? I guess I’ve known the answer for a long time but it doesn’t stop you from always second guessing yourself.
I must have been a bit tired because I slept in until after 7:00AM, 11 to 12 hours is not at all the way I usually sleep, 5 to 6 is what I normally require. Finally up, I had a simple breakfast of two nutrigrain bars, took some vitamins, blood pressure meds, and two ibuprofen and headed for Seward at 8:10AM. I knew I was in for a long day, 12 hours on the average and starting this late meant that I might be getting out after dark if anything unexpected occurred. It’s worth remembering here that the night before when I was pumping some water for cooking a lone hiker came by and chatted for a while. He too was climbing the same peaks and was going to stay at the Ward Brook Lean-to. Just before 11:00 I reached the summit of Seward. I had lost the herd path several times on the way but still managed to follow crampon scratches and any open areas that led up. My back was beginning to pain me and my feet were wet and had already begun developing blisters. Onward to Donaldson, arriving around 12:45PM. And then on to Emmons arriving at 2:00PM. When I reached Donaldson I seriously considered not going on to Emmons, I was tired, and my feet were really starting to feel bad. It was at this point that I decided that a climb of Allen was not going to take place. My strength was not returning quickly enough to think I could do 20 miles in the same time that I was doing this 8-mile trek. Trying to recover on Emmons I was joined by Wess Davis, from Saratoga Springs, the fellow I had met the evening before. Wess and I spoke for around ten minutes and I told him that I was glad to know someone was behind me just in case. I left the summit just as he started to make his canister entry; he said he did not plan on staying on Emmons very long. In about 25 minutes he joined me on the trail back to Donaldson. We remained together for the rest of the trip and pushed each other to continue with limited breaks. We pumped water between Donaldson and Seward and rested on Seward’s summit for about 15 minutes. At 7:40 PM we reached the Ward Brook Truck Trail. We were conversing when two young women came along headed for the Ward Brook Lean-to. Wess decided to walk along with them as his belongings were at the lean-to, so we parted company and I returned to Blueberry for a later than usual dinner, campfire and finally around 10:00 bed.
In the morning about 6:30AM I awoke, set a relaxing pace for eating, packing, and finally the hike out. I reached my van around 11:00AM. Since I wasn’t going to attempt Allen Mt. I headed back into Tupper Lake and South on route 30 to Long Lake. I took a swim at the public beach at Long Lake, was tempted to take the flight over the high peaks, and then walked through a yard sale in the middle of town. (I picked up a box of baseball cards for my son.) I continued down to Indian Lake and then spent several hours with my friend and colleague who resides there, before starting the trip back to Oneonta.
At this point I have a lot to do around the house and Driver Education that begins on July 1st will keep me very busy. I would like to get back to the Adirondacks twice more this season, but right now my plans are very sketchy. I don’t know which peak/s I’ll try next. Allen, Lower Wolf Jaw, and Colden are all single peaks waiting to be trod.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2340 ft / 713 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2340 ft / 713 m
    Start Trailhead:1991 ft / 606 m
Descent Statistics

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