Lake George

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Haystack & Basin Mountains - 2/25/13

I take my mountain days when I can get them.  Monday's forecast called for light winds and temps close to freezing.  I've been wanting to head to Haystack on a windless day and this was the first chance, so I took it.
I planned to start at The Garden and climb the Phelps Trail to the State Range trail.  I was then going to make my way north along the Great Range, and if the stars aligned, I would get all the way past Upper Wolf Jaw.

Well the day turned out to be a comedy of errors.  No problem with my pace.  I got started at 6:15 and traveled the first 6.9 miles to Slant Rock by 8:40.  First mistake... just past Slant Rock I mistakenly turned left onto Shorey's Short Cut.  I made the same mistake in summer.  The sign says Mt Marcy straight ahead, and State Range Trail to the left.  It only added .3 miles onto the hike, but Shorey's adds a lot of unnecessary vertical in that extra distance. 

Bushnell Falls Leanto

Slant Rock

Slant Rock Leanto

This sign has messed me up the last 2 times.  Hopefully I'll get it right and stay right  next time

No big deal on Shorey's, it just made extra work for me.  I reached the State Range trail and followed in to Little Haystack.  I made the decision to stay in my snowshoes going down the Hillary Step on the south side of Little Haystack.  That was probably a mistake, but luckily I made it down OK.  I proceeded up Haystack with no issues and reached the summit at 10:30.  Still great progress.

Sign on the Phelps trail to Mount Marcy

Little Haystack from the shoulder of Mount Haystack 

Little Haystack again

Looking to the summit of Mount Haystack

the summit!

Visibility wasn't great.  I couldn't see the summits of any of the surrounding peaks.  They were all in the clouds.  At least I could see the lower parts of the mountains, and the wind was negligible as was predicted.  That was great!

Little Haystack

Looking towards Mount Marcy

This feature on the east side of Basin Mountain is interesting

The summit of Mount Marcy almost visible

Haystack and Little Haystack from the shoulder of Basin Mountain

I left Haystack and made my way north on the State Range Trail past Shorey's Short Cut and up to the summit of Basin Mountain.  It was 11:15 and all was going well, except the lack of visibility.  I started towards Saddleback Mountain and quickly came to the point on the north side of Basin where the trail broke of the mountain in 2012 and the trail crew did a little reroute.

There is a steep descent at that point, then the trail hooks right at the edge of a cliff.  The descent was icy and it made my knees weak to look at it.  I wasn't to keen on putting on my crampons and relying on them to prevent my loss of traction, although I'm sure they would have done just fine.

I took my pack off to have a snack and noticed that my crampons were no longer tied to the side of my pack.  They must have come loose and fell off.  Well that ended any thought of continuing down the north side of Basin.

I turned back the way I had come and found the crampons on the south side of Basin, just a little ways below the ladder, maybe a third of a mile from the summit.  I didn't want to turn around again, so I went back over Shorey's Short Cut and back down the Phelps trail to the car.

This picture and the next are from the summit of Basin.  Nothing was visible

On the way out from John Brook Lodge I stopped to look at the newly redone Wm. Howard Leanto


I signed out at 3:15, so the trip was exactly 9 hours.  I wasn't successful in getting the 6 peaks I was hoping for, but I got 2 and an excuse to go back in the near future.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance: ~20 miles
Hike Time:  9 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 5000'

My route for the day (Click image to enlarge)

Topo of the Route

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