ADK 46ers

Number of Peaks Climbed 3
Peaks Climbed Rocky Peak, Donaldson, and Emmons
Peak Height Ranks 20, 33, and 40
Trailed / Trailess Peaks 1 / 2
Peak Numbers 35, 36, and 37
Total Elevation Gain 9426 feet

The hike

The hike


Like some of our other trips we had great ambitions and extremely tight plans to meet those ambitions.  On 24 May, Kristy flew to San Diego for a meeting on 25 May.  On 25 May I flew to Albuquerque to support a meeting on 26 May.  Kristy attended the meeting on 26 May as well.  Because there was no San Diego -> Albuquerque flight late enough for her to catch on 25 May or early enough for her to catch on 26 May, she drove up to LA on the evening of 25 May and caught a flight out of LAX in the morning.  After our meeting we started moving east - at least we tried!
We had a three-leg flight plan starting in Albuquerque getting us to Denver at 2030 on the evening of 26 May. That flight was delayed 2 hours because of violent weather in Denver.  This, fortunately, also delayed our flight out of Denver to Chicago so we didn't miss that, but didn't get into Chicago until almost 0200 on 27 May. Fortunately, our 0630 flight to Albany DID get off the ground in time and even got into Albany a little early. 

27 May 2010
To the Giant of the Valley: Tired and hungry, we loaded our gear and luggage into the rental car and headed up the Adirondack Northway, excited to be back after a long Winter plotting and planning how to divide up the remaining peaks into manageable trips and ambitious to bag high peak counts early on to make finishing up this year possible.  We stopped along the way to buy water for the hike and breakfast for the drive, which was otherwise uneventful.

We were on the road and standing in front of Giant before noon - ready to head up the Zander Scott trail to get Rocky Peak.  All the way up to the break off toward Rocky Ridge we were doing great, then the previous events of the week really started to catch up with me.

Trail junction for Rocky Peak Ridge and Giant - we've been here before!

Where everyone but us has been before: I slowed us down more than a little, but we made it over to Rocky Peak and back.  I even found enough left to suggest we head up to Giant before heading down.  Admittedly, we're only talking about an additional 550 linear feet to the peak to summit Giant from the trail junction, but that should give you a good idea of how frustrating it is to have to basically climb all of Giant again after missing Rocky Peak the first time around!  But we took a nice rest on Giant, enjoying the sites and some well-deserved nourishment.  But as all days end and we had all of Giant to put behind us again down to the car down the mountain we went.  We got back to the car about sundown.

Money Shots: Rocky Peak (35) - Summit 2010-05-27 15:10 EDT

More time on Giant - just as fun the second time...

Off to Tupper Lake where we stayed at Shaheen's Motel. Highly recommended!  But arriving in Tupper Lake at about 2130 severely limits dining opportunities!  So we ended up getting delivery pizza (I got pizza, Kristy got a sub and a salad) and were finally eating at about 2300 and were in bed by about 2330.  That was our first "real" meal since the airport dinner in Albuquerque - if you can call that a "real" meal.  Otherwise, it was trail food (dried fruit, peanuts, pop tarts). 

28 May 2010
To Coreys:  We slept like logs, but I had us up by 0600 and we were out the door and on the trail by 0800.  A little later than we'd planned to get started, but give us a break!  There was a group in the parking at the time that we arrived.  We said, "hi," and headed off down the Ward Brook truck trail before them.  At times we could hear them behind us.  We were not moving quite as fast as we normally would on the long, flat road bed because of the busy week so far behind us, but the group behind us seemed hesitant to pass.  After several points where they got close to us then dropped back they finally decided to pass us shortly after turning off onto the Caulkin's Brook herd path, which was a bit of a relief because we were felling a little pushed with them behind us.  Perhaps they were waiting until after hitting the herd path because they knew we were heading to the same location and wanted to be sure they didn't miss the herd path.  Before long they were out of sight ahead of us.

Donaldson: We had no problems on the herd path which is remarkably well maintained.  We were on Donaldson by about 1215 and had a nice lunch and prepared to make our way out to Emmons.

Money Shots: Mount Donaldson (36) - Summit 2010-05-28 12:15 EDT

Emmons and advice: Shortly after leaving Donaldson for Emmons we ran into the group from the parking lot heading back from Emmons.  Their plans were to cross back over Donaldson on the way to Seward, then down Seward to the Ward Brook truck trail and back out to the parking area that night.  We told them of our experiences on the North face of Seward and that we'd heard less than favorable accounts of the col between Donaldson and Seward and cautioned them about their plans and that we didn't think they could make it out before dark, then continued on to Emmons.  We reached the peak at about 1345, tired but grateful we'd put these peaks on our list and after a short break headed back to Donaldson.

Money Shots: Mount Emmons (37) - Summit 2010-05-28 13:45 EDT

We had made relatively good time to Emmons. The route back to the parking area was a good long walk and we finally made it back down to the parking lot at about 2000 for a 13.9 mile round trip in about 12 hours.  So we were back in Tupper Lake BEFORE dark and were able to clean up, enjoy a relatively decent meal, and get in bed at about 2200.  What luxury!

Seymour - more or less:
Sometimes hotel hiking seems a little extravagant, but since this trip was planned for Rocky Peak in the East High Peaks and Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour in the Western Wilderness (with no reasonable campsite location for separate campaigns up Seymour and Donaldson/Emmons) this was really the best option. Saturday morning we hit the trail for Seymour at about 0730.  A little earlier than the day before.  With only one peak to summit and a round trip about 2 miles shorter than the day before (only about one mile of which was actual climbing) we had great hopes of getting in and out relatively early and didn't feel the need to get moving too early.  Unfortunately, the two previous hikes had taken their toll on Kristy's feet.  Her heels had been torn up pretty badly.  She had hoped that the initial pain would subside after we'd gotten moving on the trail.  Unfortunately, after about 1/4 mile it became obvious that the condition was worsening and we had to call the hike.  So our plans to bag four peaks on this trip were foiled.

Next trips:  With Rocky Peak taken off our orphan list and Donaldson and Emmons knocked off the list we have a full nine peaks in five groupings to get in probably no more than two possible trips if we're going to complete the 46 this year.  That's an acheivable goal, but it will be hard work.  Bagging Seymour this trip would have made a huge difference in those stats (eight peaks in four groups), but we'll just have to see what the future holds for possible trips, hiking weather, and our stamina.  A possible scenario to wrap up this year might be:

4 day trip: Marshall/Iroquois from Lake Colden (two days total), Allen and Seymour each on day hikes.

3 or 4 day trip: Basin, Haystack, and Saddleback from Slant Rock, and Blake and Sawteeth each on a long day hike. Basin, Haystack, and Saddleback may be a single outing from Slant Rock if we have no problem with Spiderman Rock getting to Saddleback from Basin.  If I can't do Spiderman Rock (because of my fear of heights) then we'll get Haystack and Basin from Slant Rock and relocate to John's Brook Lodge area one day and get Saddleback via the Range/Orebed Trail the next day.

Our latest peaks were Rocky Peak, which we had to abandon in October 2008 on a half-day hike up Giant, and Donaldson and Emmons in the Seward Range. We didn't consider Donaldson and Emmons orphaned, though we had intended to summit both on a previous hike up Seward. Ironically, that hike was on the same trip as the hike up Giant that we had to cut short in 2008, which turned out to be a very bad year for progress on the 46.

Child stats: Rachel - 2 years earlier this month, Merrick - 4 months.