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Backpacking, Mt. Marcy summit, Lake Placid, NY


Mt. Marcy is the highest peak, towering above the tree line, in the Adirondack Mountains, upstate New York. Add winter's theatrics and you're a make-believe Himalayan mountain climber. Approaching the summit 70 km/hr gusts blast your ski goggles, your partner 20 feet ahead fades in and out of blowing snow. Brace yourself at the top long enough for Facebook bragging rights.

Mid February this is the best real-world mountaineering within a nine hour drive from Kitchener-Waterloo.

Itinerary:

Option 1:

Leave Friday, Feb. 14, as soon as possible. Drive towards Lake Placid, NY, stopping for the night around 10 pm at some shared motel room(s).

Option 2:

Meet the group en route or at some point Saturday morning in Lake Placid.

Both Options:

Continue Saturday morning, Feb. 15, to the Adirondak Loj parking lot, Eastern High Peaks, Lake Placid. Start hiking mid morning and establish base camp mid afternoon, most likely at a lean-to around the Avalanche Trail cutoff.

Summit Mt Marcy Sunday morning and return to base camp for the night.

Holiday Monday, 'family day' in Ontario, hike back to parking, enjoy brunch in Lake Placid, head for home, an 8 to 9 hour drive to Kitchener-Waterloo.

Cost:

Shared gas + shared motel room(s) Friday night + parking at Adirondack Lodge.

$60 (gas) + $40 (motel) + $5 (parking) = $105 plus incidentals

Difficulty:

This probably shouldn't be your first winter camping experience, however, if it is, outfitters in Lake Placid can ensure it isn't your last. No genuine mountaineering experience required, no ropes involved. Physically demanding, start an aerobic exercise routine now if not already.

Gear:

Snowshoes, -30 C sleeping bag, tent, stove for melting snow, footware traction devices such as microspikes and/or crampons. Ski goggles and hiking poles optional but good idea. Passport for border crossings an excellent idea. Note: In 2013 the only those with mountaineering crampons managed the final 300 meters to the summit. You can rent these at Eastern Mountain Sports in Lake Placid, NY.

Inspiration:

Photos from identical trip winter of 2013 http://www.meetup.com/KW-Backcountry/photos/13258012/

Photos from identical trip winter of 2012 http://www.meetup.com/KW-Backcountry/photos/6167222/

Photos from similar trip fall 2013  http://www.meetup.com/KW-Backcountry/photos/11401172/

Intriguing YouTube of this hike  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqHR6ZKYBlc (skip 0:35 to 3:40 to avoid author's first born, SUV in the ditch, and the snow cave  :-).

Links:

Cascade Inn, Lake Placid   5023 Cascade Rd. [masked] 

Adirondak Loj

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Lake Placid

Adirondack Hiking forum

Map of Mt Marcy

Wildcard:

Travel times may vary due to road conditions.

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  • Mark

    Awesome pics. Too funny we were at the Cascade Inn on Saturday night!

    February 22, 2014

    • Tim L.

      Wow, what a small world. To bad we didn't run into each other. What were you up to?

      February 23, 2014

    • Mark

      A hiking friend of mine is trying to finish up his winter 46 peaks so a group of us were there. We stayed at Cascade Inn on Sat and then Keene Valley Hostel for 5 nights. We managed 4 grueling days of hiking averaging 10 hour days and got five peaks done for the week. Marcy must have been nice on Sunday with the sun and clear weather!

      February 23, 2014

  • Jonathan James G.

    Hey guys Awesome photos I stole some of them for my Facebook page if that's alright. Cheers!

    February 19, 2014

  • Marv

    Gavin and I watched Canada vs Austria at the Lake Placid Pub. Go Canada go. Had a black bean burger, yum. Back to the Cascade Inn. Where you guys at?

    February 14, 2014

  • Marv

    Sent Logistics email 2.0 at 8:15 pm Thursday.

    February 13, 2014

    • Jonathan James G.

      Hey Marv I just realized that I wouldn't have received the logistics email (my email registered to this meet-up is no longer active and I am unable to change it would it be possible for you to send it to [masked] thanks. Looking forward to seeing everyone cheers!

      February 14, 2014

    • Marv

      Forwarded emails 1 and 2 earlier. Gavin & I are passing Brockville. Roads OK. 10:45.

      February 14, 2014

  • Jonathan James G.

    http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Marcy/forecasts/1629 looks like the day we summit will be a cold one -35 C windchill. Hopefully everyone has packed warm

    February 14, 2014

  • Marv

    To reiterate, Gavin and I are 4 x 4 - ing it, hail Mary, from east Toronto early Friday morning. Gavin, pack that snowmobile in the back of that pickup, it could prove useful.

    February 13, 2014

  • Marv

    When can you leave Friday, Feb. 14? From where?

    February 2, 2014

    • Susan

      Sill too weak to go. I hope you guys have a wonderful time - travel safe. I look forward to seeing everyone's photos.

      February 13, 2014

    • Marv

      Oh no! Weak or not you could probably still run circles around the rest of us, speaking for myself.

      1 · February 13, 2014

  • Gavan D.

    Got the message, car pooling is fine with me. Just so you know I am east of the 400 for me I come south on the 404. If you like we can meet near there. I have a full size truck which can hold myself and three other guys, four if you want three on the back seat which is still plenty of room and all the gear you could ever bring. Not sure what your start time is, I was hoping to get out early so I could get there late in the afternoon, check in, and then go to that bar we went to last year for dinner. Just so everyone has it my cell is[masked] In case you need to get of someone or for meeting up. Let me know what works for you. If it does all Look for a spot in the meantime.

    February 12, 2014

    • Gavan D.

      Tim, Thanks for the offer but being what it is with the weather I think I will go with my 4x4. I will plan on leaving early hopefully out of my place by 7 am. You have my number so if you like give me a call and all give you weather and road updates as I go. If Marv is still eager to go early all give him a call to see if he wants to hook up and travel together. Thanks again.

      February 13, 2014

    • Marv

      Gavin and Marv are setting out very early Friday morning, meeting up east end of Toronto. Logistics 2.0 humming off the press as of 7:30 Thursday.

      February 13, 2014

  • Jonathan James G.

    Hello Marv/Everyone

    I had a quick meeting with the UW Outers club and there will be 3 of us total going in total. We plan to leave at around 2:00 pm Friday afternoon and will rent a room in a hotel that night, renting gear in the morning. If anyone else needs a ride there is still plenty of room in the truck. Looking forward to seeing everyone there, Cheers!

    February 12, 2014

    • Marv

      The Oshawa Go might be better. I believe its just off the 401.

      February 13, 2014

    • Jonathan James G.

      Yeah I have a meeting from 9:30-11:00 Friday morning and one of my other passengers is also working until 2:00(I will be picking them up at 2:00). I should also mention that in order to get there we need to go through the buffalo/ Niagra route (adds about 30 minutes to the drive). One of the people in my group left there passport at home and they are from the Niagra region so I offered to stop for it along the way. Would be great if you could tag along for the ride I could probably pick you up at around 1:30-1:45

      February 13, 2014

  • Gavan D.

    Hey Marv, it's been awhile I am thinking about doing this trip again. If you get a chance give me a call after the weekend [masked]). By the way the car problem has been solved I now have a pickup truck and could carry all the gear.

    Talk soon.

    January 16, 2014

    • Marv

      Cascade Inn[masked] 5023 Cascade Rd., Lake PlacidPlacid

      January 22, 2014

    • Marv

      You'll now find it under the links above.

      February 2, 2014

  • Jonathan James G.

    Hey Marv, I'm quite interesting in going especially since it'll be a nice relief after my PhD seminar the week before. I was wondering though, how the vehicle situation is. I still have my 6 seat Pick-up truck with a box cover for gear as well. I can also put an invite out to those in the University of Waterloo Outers Club as well but I will make sure to clarify that this trip is not for the inexperienced. I won't confirm just yet but I figure I will likely go. Cheers!

    February 2, 2014

    • Marv

      Sign up. No better stress relief than your head in the clouds, literally. // I haven't contemplated transportation yet but a 6 seat pickup with a box cover makes things infinitely easier. // Round up the Outers Club. As for experience, no technical mountaineering is involved. Proper gear for winter camping and hiking above the treeline is a must, no compromise. With proper gear youthful enthusiasm goes a long ways.

      February 2, 2014

  • Tim L.

    I can an bring 2 passengers

    January 14, 2014

    • Richard

      I'll join you if you still have the car space

      January 16, 2014

    • Tim L.

      Richard, I still have space for you. I will send you an email to work out arrangements.

      January 22, 2014

  • Jordan S.

    By when would we have to commit?

    January 1, 2014

    • Marv

      Yes, to a person. As much as we'd like to have everyone back this year, some have graduated to more demanding mountaineering pursuits. According to Facebook they'll be on the knife ridge of Mount Katahdin, Maine, this same family day weekend.

      January 11, 2014

    • Jordan S.

      Thanks Marv. I'm familiar with last year's trip and I'd LOVE to do it but it looks like I'll have to hold out for 2015. See you Tuesday!

      January 12, 2014

  • Marv

    Susan, Great to have you on this one, just remember to slow down enough for us to keep up. // Remember your camera. To this day you own my favorite KW-Backcountry photograph, http://www.meetup.com/KW-Backcountry/photos/13359072/

    1 · January 11, 2014

    • Marv

      That reminds me, we have to get back to Killarney this winter. This summer Robin's canoe trip found the way to bushwack from 'The Crack' down to Killarney Lake. From there we could cross the lake and follow the north bound portage to the Silhouette Trail. From there we could follow the trail to the iconic lookout on north OSA Lake. From there...don't get me started.

      January 11, 2014

    • Susan

      Thanks Marv! We were so lucky on that trip!

      January 11, 2014

  • Ann R.

    considering doing this again it was so amazing last year and now I am wise to NOT sleeping out in the lean-to but rather setting up the tent. Can I let you know within the next couple weeks?

    January 11, 2014

    • Marv

      Take your time deciding. Convince Nancy to go again, convince Carla to go again. It would be so much fun having everyone from last year. // In a perfect world the group ride-shares and motel-shares for efficiency, but as long as people are self-reliant for transport and Friday night lodging I could care less when they sign up. I'm going regardless! // This year everybody make sure you have mountaineering crampons to guarantee the final summit. Lets photo-capture the mother of all 'jump shots' from the top of the world. On the count of three, everybody, airborne. In a perfect world, above-the-tree-line gusts don't blow us away.

      1 · January 11, 2014

  • Lisa M.

    HI Marv, If you run this again in the Autumn, I'm in; but for now I have to pass as I already have plans that weekend. Enjoy! Looks like a great hike!

    January 2, 2014

  • Lisa H.

    I would love this, I know I can't. This year is my year of health and betterment. So I am going to do everything I can to get myself in great shape again. There is so much beauty in this world, and this is the only way I'd see it the way I like it. :) Have a great trip to all those who are going.

    January 1, 2014

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