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Old 06-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #8
Trail Boss
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 906
Originally Posted by daft jules View Post
debmonster, I'm planning to do this set, but coming from Colden. Gray->Skylight->Haystack->Marcy->Loj, so I'd get the full traverse of Haystack, but only the north side of Marcy x2. Am I missing much by not doing the south ascent of Marcy via Schofield Cobble?
The climb from Schofield Cobble to Marcy is all open terrain with bare rock and scrub; every direction offers something interesting to see. If you've hiked Algonquin's south side, it's like that but more. One of my favorite places in the High Peaks.

The climb from Bartlett Ridge to Haystack is notable for its steepness. It's very rugged but does not traverse open terrain (i.e. it is flanked by woods). Only the top end of the trail emerges onto open, bare rock. I've been up and down this challenging route and I think it's well worth the visit ... but I still prefer the south side of Marcy.

I assume you know that you lose/regain a crapton of elevation between Skylight and Haystack by way of Panther Gorge. Marcy, Skylight, and Gray is considered by many to be a challenging day-hike. Adding Haystack (by way of Panther Gorge) really ups the ante.

If you were not aware of this significant loss/regain, I offer you this alternative route:

Gray, Skylight, Marcy, and Haystack.

When you're standing on Haystack, you have the option of returning via the Loj by backtracking to the VanHoevenberg/Phelps junction (north of Marcy) or descending into the bowels of Panther Gorge, climbing up to Four Corners, then continuing on to the Loj via Lake Arnold or Avy Pass (my feet hurt while writing this).

Good luck!
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