Leesa and I had been kicking around doing another Rocky Peak Ridge traverse. Our last one was on a perfect fall weekend in October 2011. On that trip, we started at New Russia and did Bald, RPR, Giant and Hopkins. It was a big trip with around 6000 vertical.
This weekend we're watching my sons dog so we had 2 dogs to take hiking with us. I wanted to stay on a trail instead of doing a bushwhack and the weather was looking great, so we chose today to do our RPR traverse. This time we started at Chapel Pond to have about 1000 less vertical for the day.
The were on the trail about 8:15 after having dropped a car at New Russia. Two groups had signed in ahead of us. The trail was pretty much snow and ice free until the junction with the Roaring Brook Trail, 0.7 miles from the summit of Giant. At that point, Leesa put on her microspikes. I stuck with bare boots.
|Round Mountain and Chapel Pond|
|Mike with Lulu|
|Footbridge near Giant's Washbowl|
|Still some ice on Giant's Washbowl|
|Lulu in the snow before the summit of Giant|
We caught up with both groups before Giant. Neither were heading towards RPR due to deep snow. We went to Giant first and enjoyed the bare rock summit and warm temperatures with almost no wind.
|Rev on the summit of Giant. Whiteface Mountain in the background.|
|The infamous ice step, coming down off of Giant while heading towards RPR. Still ice and snow covered.|
As warned, we encountered snow immediately as we started towards RPR. There was still a relatively firm snow spine, but snowshoes are definitely still helpful. The ice step (pictured above) was the trickiest part the the down and up to RPR. As we reached the summit, the snow disappeared due to the sun exposure at the top.
|Rev on RPR waiting for the rest of us|
|Giant from RPR|
|What a magnificent collection of High Peaks visible from RPR|
We ate some lunch on top of Rocky Peak and basked in the warm sun. It most have been at least 60 degrees on the summit. It felt warm and there was still no wind.
|The slides on Dix Mountain in the background center. The pointed summit is Hough Peak.|
|Looking east towards Lake Champlain in the background from the summit of RPR|
|Nice to see that the alpine vegetation on RPR is intact and has not been trampled.|
|Rev's had her snack and is ready to go...|
|A last look at Giant from Rocky Peak|
|Rev got her snack first, in order to keep peace.|
|Mike with both dogs, ready to head east along RPR|
|a last look westward...|
|Heading east along RPR|
Once again, as soon as we left the summit, we were back in the snow. This time there was no spine, since there is not much foot traffic from New Russia to Rocky Peak in wintertime. Snowshoes are definitely still quite helpful in getting though from Rocky to the saddle before Bald Peak.
|Pretty Lake Mary Louise still hidden by ice and snow.|
|A new sign...|
Once we left Lake Mary Louise, it was somewhat treacherous going down the steep section before the saddle to Bald Peak. The snow was rotten and deep and water was running underneath.
|Nice to get out of the snow on the exposed ridge sections.|
|The open rock below is the false summit of Iron Mountain. A great spot!|
We both love Bald Peak. It is a great destination on it's own from New Russia. It's a very pretty spot with great views. It's a 2500' vertical gain just to get to Bald from New Russia so it feels like you've climbed a high peak. It feels like one as well.
|The view rock west of Bald Peak|
|The large glacial erratic landmark just west of Bald Peak|
|Looking west at the same erratic|
|The summit cairn on Bald Peak. Rev claimed it first.|
The snow had disappeared just west of the Saddle between RPR and Bald so we were finally able to pick up the pace a little bit, only now we had to be cautious due to the fall leaves still covering the trail. Near the bottom where the grade eases up we able to throw caution to the wind and walk with a normal stride.
Giant and Rocky Peak were our guest dog Lulu's first 2 high peaks. She did great the whole trip! She loves the water and got wet and drank at every opportunity. Our dog Rev is not such a water lover. We signed out, tired from a full day with 2 dogs, snow and 3 peaks (Giant, Rocky Peak and Bald Peak). The dogs were asleep before I started writing this post.
Hike Distance: 10 miles
Hike Time: 8 hours
Total Vertical Gain: 4150'
|The trail from west to east (click image to enlarge)|