Lake George

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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Giant Mountain & Rocky Peak Ridge - Giant Mountain Wilderness - 1/10/13

When it's a powder day, I get the urge to grab my skis, but when the forecast calls for full sun and light winds, I start thinking of the mountains.  The forecast for this day was full sun, 10 mph winds and 32 degrees.  I decided to take a vacation day and head for Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR) in the Giant Mountain Wilderness near Saint Huberts, NY.
I arrived at the Zander Scott trail head at 8:30 and was on the trail at 8:45 with my dog Rev.  The Zander Scott trail is a very popular trail, but I was the first one heading up.
The trail climbs 3000' in about 2.9 miles to the summit of Giant.  There is no easy warm up on this trail.  The snow on the trail has been well packed down and I easily made good progess on my snowshoes.

Chapel Cliffs and Pond in the foreground
When I got started at 8:45, I noticed that there was full sun in the valley, but the summits were still in the clouds.  I was hoping that would change.  I reached the summit of Giant at about 10:45 and it was still pretty much socked in.  The summit winds were more than 10 mph that was forecast for the valley, but it was tolerable.
Clouds high, sun below...
Looking at RPR on the way up Giant
No visibility on Giant.  You can tell the wind is blowing the leash and Rev's coat
We didn't stay on Giant very long.  The trail to RPR was broken out, so we headed that way.  The descent is steep off Giant towards RPR, but in the winter I think it's an easier walk than in the summer.

RPR looked like it might has some visibility
Looking back at Giant from RPR

We travelled the 1.2 miles to RPR in about 45 minutes.  Unfortunately, when we got there, the clouds had settled in there as well.  The trail from RPR heading east to New Russia looked broken out, but I don't know if it is that way all along the ridge.

Summit of RPR
Still on RPR
Going back to Giant
Still clear down below, but not above
As we were getting back to the trail junction for Giant, it was beginning to clear a little, so we walked the .1 miles back to Giant to reassess the views.

A little more visibility

The sky was really changing at this point and every 30 seconds yielded a different picture.  I just kept snapping away on the summit and also on the way down.  It was now a little after 1 and the sun was shining brightly on the trail as we descended.  Look at the change in the sky in the pictures below!


Now it's a bluebird day!
The hike down was an enjoyable trot on snowshoes on hard pack snow.  Many have choosen to butt slide, but with the dog, I thought it'd be easier to stay on my feet.
 Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  7.9 miles
My Hike Time:  5 hours, 20 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 4280'

My route for the day (Click to enlarge)

My route on National Geographic TOPO (Click to enlarge)

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