Lake George

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wright, Algonquin & Iroquois - 2/28/13

Since these 3 peaks are all above treeline, the conditions can be vastly different from trip to trip, especially in winter.  I hadn't yet done them during the official winter season, although I had been up there before in deep snow.
My dog Rev and I headed there on the last day of February, on what was a decent day in terms of temperature and wind speed.  The temps were mild (low 30's in the valley) and winds were light.
We started from the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) at 9:45 AM.  Seven people had signed in ahead of us.  We ended up passing all 7 before the Wright Trail junction.  That meant we got to make first tracks.  There was 4-6 inches of new snow below 3500', and perhaps 8-12" above that elevation.  I wore my snowshoes the entire trip.

The sign just before treeline

I dropped my pack and we headed for Wright Peak first.  There was no ice and the above treeline rock was mostly exposed.  The snow was just in the crevices.  Visibility wasn't great, but without any wind it wasn't bad.
Looking at the summit of Wright

The side trail to Wright Peak is only .5 miles long and is in the trees for about half that distance before you get above treeline.  We reached the summit at exactly 11 AM.  We didn't stay too long since we had 2 more peaks to do.  As we were coming down, two men that we had passed were on there way up.  The other 5 had turned around before the junction.

 We returned to the junction and I picked up my pack and we continued towards Algonguin.  Shortly thereafter is a section that is sometimes tricky in summer or when there is ice, but now it was just snow and we climbed right up.

We noon we were on top of Algonquin.  I've been on the summit many times and I think the winds on the summit during this trip were the lightest I've seen.  We continued on to Iroquois.  One of the things I was doing on this trip was breaking out the trail for Cory D who was in the process of trying to break the record for the fastest ADK winter 46.  I knew he was going to be passing through later in the day.  I was doing what I could to stomp down the new snow on the trail.

 At the col between Algonquin and Boundary Peak, I brushed off the sign that points to Lake Colden.  It was covered in snow.  The path to Iroquois is an unmarked herd path and it bears right at the sign.  We continued on the herd path.  It was mostly discernible although I stepped off the path into deep snow twice.  12:45 PM found us on the top of Iroquois.  The view of the Wallface Cliffs was obscured by clouds.

At this point we began to retrace our steps back after I left a "Go Cory" message in the snow.  As we were reclimbing the back side of Algonquin we once again ran into the 2 men we saw earlier.  We were going to go down to Lake Colden and loop around and go back via Avalanche Pass.  They didn't head for Iroquois.
Wright was in and out of the clouds every few seconds on the way back

The trip back was fast on the now packed trail.  We stopped for lunch on Algonquin and the sun actually partially came out for 2 minutes while we were on the summit.  It then disappeared for the day.  From Algonquin we went straight back to the car and signed out around 3 PM.

On this trip, the snow had been sticking to the snowshoes while below 3500' since it was close to freezing.  Up higher, it was colder and the snow was nice and fluffy.  Any one who climbs these peaks in winter should be prepared with a compass in case a white out comes in.  It is quite common in winter and clouds kept blowing in and out on this day making visibility poor at times.  Above treeline it is easy to get disoriented if there are no easily identifiable landmarks.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  ~ 10.5 miles
My Hike Time:  6.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 4000'

A map of my route (Click image to enlarge)


A topo with the route

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