Lake George

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Allen Mountain - 2/16/13

The stars finally aligned to climb Mount Allen on Saturday.  Not just for me, but me and 14 others.  There were 6 in our group, 5 in another group and 2 couples.  I believe we all had a nice day on this trip.  It's not always easy to have a good day on an 18 mile hike, but this was a sunny day with temps in the 20's and it just felt good to be outside.

Our group was the 3rd group headed out.  We signed the register at 7:20 and headed out.  The Hudson River crossing wasn't bad.  There was less than a foot of water to wade through and garbage bags did the trick.  We all made the crossing and kept our feet dry.

No problem with the garbage bag method

Lake Jimmy was next, but no floating log bridge in winter.  The lake was frozen solid and the crossing was not a problem.  We continued on the old mining and forest roads past Lake Sally and soon were at the Opalescent River Crossing.

The Mount Adams fire observer's cabin

No one had crossed at the designated crossing area recently so we followed the broken out trail to where we crossed a few hundred yards to the north.  The frozen ice had cracked and broken in spots, but it was safe to cross.

Crossing the somewhat frozen Opalescent River

Shortly after the Opalescent, two of our group who had been using skis (Bill H. and Pete) ditched them for the remainder of the trek in.  Minutes later we caught up with the group of five at the trail junction for Flowed Lands.

Continuing on beyond the Opalescent

We passed them and continued on.  After we left the series of old jeep roads, we caught the couple who had been the first to head out for the day.  We passed them as well a little ways before Skylight Brook.  I was now in the lead for the day and making first tracks over the dusted over tracks from the previous day.

Our sign at the intersection with the trail to Flowed Lands

Shortly before Skylight Brook we passed the box toilet that sits on the left just 15 feet off the trail.  We commented that it seems like a strange place for a box toilet.  After crossing Skylight Brook we started our climb and soon hit Allen Brook.  There was no orange slime to look at.  In fact, the climb is much easier in snow conditions like we had.  We were able to walk right up the frozen stream bed on packed snow.

Climbing Allen Brook!

Of course the trail is still steep, and is one of the steepest in the High Peaks.  The trail climbs 2000' in 1.5 miles.  Looking back as we got higher on the stream bed, we could see the Santanoni Range behind us to the west.

Taras and Sam climbing the upper portion of Allen Brook

We had been making good time on the packed snowshoe trail.  As we reached the upper portion of the brook the tracks from the previous day were pretty much covered from blowing snow.  I had to kick each step into the snow to get a grip on the base below in order to climb without sliding backwards.

The Santanoni Range to the west!

An ice headwall near the top of Allen Brook

Looking down just before we entered the forested summit ridge

As were neared the top, we reentered the trees as we closed in in the summit ridge.  Shortly before 12:30 the first four of our group reached the summit.  About 20 minutes later the remaining 2 joined us.  This was ADKwinter high peak number 26 for me.

We ate our lunches and changed some clothes as needed, put some pictures, and it was time to go down.  Five hours of hiking for a brief stay at the summit.  That is how winter hiking goes.

To the north the sky was much darker than it was to the west

The Great Range in the clouds

I led on the descent to the top of Allen Brook.  Taras and Sam charged on ahead at that point while I waited for the 3 folks of our group that I had ridden with to the trailhead.  The descent down Allen Brook was awesome, especially the top portion.

Much clearer to the west

Taras and Sam made great time on the way out, getting back to the trailhead at 5:30.  Our remaining group of four followed at a slower pace at got out at 6:30.  We had to turn on our headlamps at Lake Jimmy for the last portion of the hike.

The broken clear ice of the Opalescent River

Besides the 15 persons we saw heading for the summit, we saw a couple who were skiing and pulling pulks. They also had 3 border collies with them.  They were doing a ski overnight trek.  Must be fun setting up the tent and having 3 dogs in the tent to contend with on a cold night after skiing.

Moonlight garbage bags and headlamps on the Hudson River

All in all, our trip was a great success.  Good companionship, good weather, and we all made it to the summit and back safely.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance: ~ 18 miles
Hike Time: 11 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~3500'

A lot of miles to a lonely summit, but it's a nice hike!

1 comment:

  1. We are hoping to do Allen this coming winter and would like to ski in the first portion. Curious as to why the people you were with ditched their skis? What are your thoughts on skiing the first part? Thanks!