Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poorly Executed Adirondack Backcountry Ski Trip - 12/31/12

I'd say that in life, most of the time, I have no idea where the hell I'm going. Every once in a while, this symbology lines up perfectly with an actual backcountry trip where I, in fact, have no idea where the hell I'm going. I'm not going to bore you with the details of this trip, but click here to see what we were trying to do. Actually it was nice to see myself mentioned in the report, with such nuggets as:

I had some issues with my bindings, got my car stuck for a half hour (in the wrong house, nonetheless) and ended up an hour and a half late. Matt's car was already in the trailhead parking lot, but Matt was gone. He was at the wrong trailhead. 


On our way out, we saw Matt's car still at the trailhead at 4:15. We headed to the local bar, got a few beers and decided we would head back to make sure his car was gone. At 6:30 it was still there, and pitch black out.

Needless to say, the trip didn't really go the way I wanted. Here's a map of what went wrong:

Obviously, I figured out somewhere along the way that we weren't even close to the place we wanted to ski, but I thought that it would be possible to at least get some skiing in on those mini slides on the top (Side note: there was a solid skin track on the trail we were on, which I expected to veer off onto the intended slide at one point, but that never happened). Unfortunately, it was pushing 3:00 by the time we got up top, visibility was awful (even from the fire tower), and, after slogging up 4 miles, we didn't want to have to hike back up whatever slide we skied. So, we gave up and just skied down the way we came up. Here are some pictures:

Like I said, the hike was mostly great: 

Damn, I miss that snow. We had a snack at the top.

Then I climbed the Fire Tower. Like I said, visibility was not good:

After a quick shot of the group at the top for posterity:

We headed down, trying to beat the darkness. Most of the skiing was power wedging or pushing and gliding down the skin track. Here's a picture of what it looked like before the sun set completely:

So, we came out by the light of headlamp, around 6:30. Whatever. So we didn't get to really ski at all and we completely missed our objective . . . Who cares? I'm already planning the return trip.*

*No guarantee that I know where the hell I'm going.


  1. Great story...sometimes things don't always happen the way they should, but if you are left with a story to tell then something good happened!
    Glad to know friends are looking out for you too!

  2. Well, we all occasionally find ourselves somewhere we didn’t intend to be. Sometime I’ll have to write up two of my own memorable poorly executed trips, which both devolved into (imo) bigger epics than your trip. One involved a missed key exchange in the middle of an Avalanche Pass ski through. The other was a climb of Shockley’s Ceiling (a 5.6 Gunks classic) that ended with botched rappels, darkness, rain, lightning, killer vultures and more. In the end, it’s all adventure. Nuf said.

    Couple thoughts on your trip. 1) I may be wrong, but I don’t think those summit slides (cliffs) are skiable. There’s some serious rock climbing there, but I didn’t think anything skiable. The cover photo on the Adirondack Rock guidebook is of a 5.10 climb on those cliffs, you can see it at 2) I’ve skied exactly the route you followed several times (maybe 4?). The upper half of the trail (above the point where it makes the sharp 90-deg turn) is steep and tight but definitely skiable. The lower half (below the 90-deg turn) opens into wide, moderate hardwood glades. The times I’ve skied here, we’d make one summit run and then lap the hardwood glades several times. It sounds like darkness prevented you from really skiing either of those sections, and you just picked your way back down the trail.

  3. We were very glad to see your car GONE from the trailhead at ~8:30 and very bummed to have missed having beerz with you guys in town. Cool pics of the firetower.

  4. Hi,
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