Lake George

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

Friday, March 8, 2013

Macomb, South Dix & East Dix - 3/3/13

This was the last day of my vacation week.  I was hoping to finish my ADK Winter 46 on this day.  I needed the 4 lower mountains in the Dix Range, namely Macomb, South Dix (Carson), East Dix (Grace) and Hough.  The weather was pretty much the same as it had been all week (with the exception of the snowy Wednesday), cloudy and mild with light winds.
I was going solo on this trip, but I quite ofter go solo, and I'm used to it.  The easiest wasy to access these 4 is from the Elk Lake Road in North Hudson.  In winter, the gate is closed at Clear Pond, adding an additional 2 miles of road walking, each way to the total hike distance.

I went down the road at a brisk pace and reached the trailhead in 30 minutes.  I signed in at the summer trailhead register, and I was on my way.  It is roughly 2.3 miles to the Slide Brook Leanto and it is quite flat.  A slight uphill grade followed my a gentle downhill grade (great for skiing).

Just prior to the leanto, and just after a small footbridge, the Slide Brook herd path goes to the right, passing a designated camp site as it starts out.

Elk Lake from the Macomb Slide

Once on the herd path, it took 30 minutes to reach the base of the Macomb slide.  The trail had been broken out the day before by others, so I had no difficulties making good time on the trail.  The hike up the slide is steep, but easier under these snow conditions than in the summer.  I hiked up the butt slide track where I was able to get some traction with my snowshoes.

Looking up the Macomb Slide

It took 20 minutes to climb the slide.  As I was climbing, I was able to get a nice view of Elk Lake, but the clouds were rolling in.  At the top of the slide I re-entered the woods on the herd path.  I forgot how much steep climbing there remained after the top of the slide.  There is still another 600' or so that took me about 20 minutes.

Looking down from the top of the Macomb Slide

The summit of Macomb

I reached the Macomb summit at 9:20, only to find the clouds had totally taken over and there was no visibility.  I the pattern of this week there was no wind and it was mild, but there wasn't much to see.
I started towards South Dix (Carson) and found the existing track began to wander in search of the herd path.  It wasn't too confusing and I was able to continue on.  Occasionally I would get glimpses of the rock face on the western flank of South Dix.

The view I had from the slide is now gone at the summit

The Macomb summit disc

The western flank of South Dix

Within minutes I was on the rock and climbing to the top of South Dix.  I reached the summit at 10 AM, however I had just passed the herd path on the left heading towards Hough and it hadn't been broken out.  I decided to continue on to East Dix (Carson).  Once again the tracks wandered a little bit, but within an hour I was on East Dix.

The South Dix summit disc

...and the East Dix (Grace) summit disc

Still not much in the way of views, but otherwise a nice day to be out.  I backtracked to the herd path to Hough and decided to give it a chance.  I dropped down into the col between South Dix and Pough trying to follow the herd path.  In the col it vanished and I was in snow drifts to my thighs and spruce traps to my waist.

A designated camp spot in the South Dix/Pough col

As I turned around, I was quite surprised to see a designated camp site disc on a tree.  I didn't know any existed in this area.  I checked my elevation and I was at 3960'.  I saved a GPS waypoint at the location.

A closer look

I couldn't find any way to continue on up Pough without great difficulty, so I turned around.  My last winter 46er peak would have to wait.  I climbed back up to South Dix and back to Macomb.  When I reached the Macomb slide for the descent, I did my own butt slide.  It took exactly 2 minutes to drop 500' down the slide.  Awesome!

Once back to the Dix trail I went over to see if the Lillian Brook herd path had been broken out, and it had.  That would be good news for the next trip.  I followed it halfway up to make sure it was tracked.

After that, it was back to the Dix trail and summer trailhead, then the 2 mile walk on the road back to Clear Pond.  I signed out at 5 PM after 20 miles of walking and 3 more winter peaks bringing my W46er total to 45.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance: ~ 20 miles
Hike Time: 10 hrs, 10 minutes
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 4000'

My route for the day (click to enlarge)

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