Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hoffman Ridge - 12/4/11

This was a trip in Schroon Lake, NY that didn't turn out as I had hoped, but I'll report on it anyway to let others know what to expect.  I had wanted to hike from the Hoffman Road Trailhead to Big Pond and then follow the long ridge of Hoffman Mountain up to the summit and label this post as "Hoffman Mountain".   Alas, I was not successful, and the post became "Hoffman Ridge". 

I was on the trail at 8:30 and knew I had 8 hours until dark. If I wasn't near the summit by 12:30, I would turn around.  My trek followed the Big Pond Trail and was a very easy 1.50 mile walk to the north shore of Big Pond. 

Looking south at Big Pond

Nice unofficial camping site on north shore of Big Pond

I was at the pond at 9 AM. After another 1/4 mile, you leave the trail and bushwhack up the ridge. I had looked for trip reports and had only found an old one from 2005 that said the trek up the ridge wasn't as bad as some people said, but once you reach the summit and continue north towards Blue Ridge Mountain, that's where it gets tough.
The ridge has a moderate grade for 1.5 miles (which took me an hour), then you reach a point with a steep rock scramble that is covered in briers and slash. It took me 20 minutes to climb .2 miles.  From the top of the scramble, there is a good viewpoint looking south.  You can see Big Pond, North Pond and Schroon Lake.

Looking up the rock scramble... it's quite steep

Looking south (into the sun) towards Big Pond (R) and Schroon Lake (background)

View eastward from just above the scramble

At that point, the going quickly gets tough.  There is extremely dense pine growth you have to claw (or crawl) through.  It took me an hour to go .4 miles.   At that point, it was 11:20 and I still was only about 60% of the way to the summit.  I admitted defeat (gulp!) and cut my losses by turning back.

My route shown in blue

The route in 3D from Google Earth

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New York

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.2 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours
Elev at Trailhead:  1228'
Highest Elev. Reached:  2658'
Total Vertical Gain:  1700'

I'll attempt the summit again in the future, but I'll wait for warmer weather with more daylight, and perhaps an overnight.   Where there is a will, there is a way.


  1. Those pics show a depressing lack of snow for early December. Have you done the Hoffman Notch ski traverse?

  2. Mike I followed your link from Andrew Lavigne's site. If you decide to climb Hoffman again next summer and are looking for company, I might be interested to make a second run at it with you. I really enjoyed it. I'd like to spend some more time at the summit next time.

    1. Thanks. I'll keep you in mind. I really enjoyed it too, but just didn't plan enough time. Gives me something to shoot for again.