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Old 12-30-2018, 03:25 PM   #1
quiggk
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Bald Mtn Skiing

Does anyone have experience skiing Bald Mtn in Old Forge? Wondering if you just ski down the hiking trail, also curious about a conditions report if anyone's been there recently.

Cheers,

Kennedy
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:19 PM   #2
snapper
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Won't say it hasn't been done but it's not anything I would ever attempt. I'll be interested in hearing if anyone has ever done it and what they thought of the trip. I already had one knee replaced, I think I'll stick to snowshoes if I go up that way in the future.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

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Old 01-02-2019, 12:34 PM   #3
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quiggk, have you ever hiked it in the summer? there are a couple of not too difficult pitches to scramble over. Not bad on foot, but not something I would like to attempt strapped to skis with average to good XC skills. Plus there are sections of the trail that wander what I would consider dangerously close to a very steep and high drop off. A few years ago a hiker was killed falling, while hiking, not skiing.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:55 PM   #4
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In the same area, my memory seems to think Rocky Mt would be a better candidate... This is based on a single hike 3 years ago, but I seem to recall more open woods and zero scrambles.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thanks Wldrns! Those were my thoughts exactly. You just did a much better job at expressing them.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

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Old 01-03-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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I lack the gumption to ski in the Adirondacks myself and I only get up that way in the summer anyhow, but to the best of my knowledge there is an official ski trail up Black Bear Mtn near Inlet. My 2006 ADK guidebook says that the trailhead is on 28 just north of a telephone building near Black Bear Trading Post and a quilt shop and across the street from Stiefvater's Motel. It says "look carefully in the trees about 20 ft up the road from the building for the trailhead". I imagine there may be information about it that's more current on the DEC or Inlet web sites, or somewhere on the wide web. I can attest that the views from the top of Black Bear Mountain are very nice, having taken the trail from the Uncas Rd side a couple of times years ago . The ski trail is open only in winter due to "wet trail conditions" so I never tried to check it out. Best of luck with your trip, wherever you decide to go.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:56 PM   #7
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There is a ski trail that goes AROUND black bear mountain, but not up it.

If one were to ski up the south side, they'd not make it far before they hit very steep, steppy scrambles to get to the summit.

If one goes to the north side, it's much easier pitch, but the forest is very dense conifers and the trail is very narrow. It would not be easy to get down safely. There's a few steps later on up near the summit, but nothing like on the south side.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OntarioSkiBum View Post
In the same area, my memory seems to think Rocky Mt would be a better candidate... This is based on a single hike 3 years ago, but I seem to recall more open woods and zero scrambles.
I have vacationed in that area for over 50 years. We used to take people up Bald who could not handle the scrambles on Rocky, there are some very steep small rockfaces that are a challenge for those of advancing age., or are less limber. Rocky is shorter, but I think steeper, than Bald. I would think either would be inviting a broken bone on skis, or worse, as Wldrns indicates. There is a phenomenal set of Cross Country trails associated with Fern Park off the South Shore Road just west of Inlet, and the McMartin Guide for the area indicates a lot of other ski trails. Or if you are set on Bald, use snowshoes and crampons, and stay away from the "edges", some of the cliffs are a long drop if you slip.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:04 PM   #9
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I almost forgot the steps and ledges on Rocky. My SAR team has trained there using a litter with low angle belay techniques to get down over those rocky ledge steps. Again nothing I would want to attempt on skis.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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Bald, Black Bear and Rocky Peak have all been on my BC ski bucket list. I have mountain biked portions of Black Bear and Bald mountain (with some hike-a-bike) and I'm certain that all three could be skied once typical mid winter conditions arrive. All three have sections that depending on ability / health insurance may require booting down. Finding a workable uphill skin track may be a challenge if you hope to preserve the hiking trail for downhill turns. I'm a McCauley Ski Area regular and might be interested in joining you if you plan on exploring any of the three. Other good options in the area that I have skied are Blue Mt & Woodhull Mt.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #11
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Of those three mountains, Rocky Peak has the best chance of success, but I wouldn't limit myself to the trail.

Good luck with Black Bear! The upper part of that mountain is an impenetrable fortress. There are cliffs to the south and east, and the west and north sides are ridiculously dense. The lower parts are open and hardwood forests, but the last few hundred feet to the summit are not even worth the effort IMO. Even in mid-winter, deep snowpack, those steep sections don't hold snow - they just turn into ice walls. Trust me, I've been up there in winter.

Bald is the same way. Most of that trail is not very steep as it is a ridge walk, but unless there's a ton of snow, you are going to be on rock spines.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:35 PM   #12
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My book says that the branch of the Black Bear ski trail that goes to the summit is for expert skiers only, but the loop is easy for anyone, or something to that effect. I've not been up Rocky in a few years, but I would never be brave enough to even think about skiing it, there are some parts that are very steep and pretty long.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:52 PM   #13
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Must be the north trail.

Could you ski it? Probably.

Would it be fun? Doubt it.

I had intended to ski it but I scoped the north trail in the summer knowing that the south trail was not skiable. It didn't look good to me. At least not worth my troubles...
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:33 PM   #14
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Hmmm,
I've been quietly watching this discussion.

It seems there are many assumptions, and no feedback yet from Mr quiggc.

So, I'll ask directly, Mr quiggc:

1. Are you on XC or AT equipment?
2. Are you planning to ski Bald Mt for the views? Or for the skiing?
3. Is there a particular reason why you are choosing Bald?

If you give us a bit more background, we could provide more useful info.
Ultimately, conditions are best discovered by your own boots/skis on the ground/snow.
What I might consider great conditions may not align with your assessments.
And there's a world of difference between XC and AT gear and skiing.

Wherever/whenever you decide to go, post a trip report so the rest of us (OK, me) can live vicariously.
Have fun and stay safe.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:09 PM   #15
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I wasn't going to mention this because I'm not sure how legal it is but here goes...

If one parks at the intersection of rt 28 and hollywood hills road and then follows the snowmobile trail on the north side of the highway for maybe a quarter mile one can bushwhack up the SW end of the bald mountain ridge. Once you hit the ridgeline, you'll find a snowmobile trail that climbs up to a lookout at decent elevation on the summit ridge. That snowmobile trail would be hoot on skis. I think part of that trail is on state land but most is on town of webb snowmobile trails so they would probably frown upon skiers but spring skiing when the snowmobiles are gone might be fun. Again, I'm only throwing it out as something that might be worth trying on the DL. I have done it on snowshoes with the full traverse over the summit and down the other side but not skis.
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:51 PM   #16
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Hey everyone, sorry for the late reply. Life got busy and I broke a small bone in my foot over winter break so didn't do much skiing.

I am new to BC skiing but hoping to get an AT setup next year. I mostly do bootpacks and ski down, hence my specific interest in Bald as it is not too far to bootpack up and get some turns down. I've only BC skied small mountains like Azure and want to try Lyon. I have hiked bald but not in a few summers, I remember the summit cliffs but not the dropoffs along the trail. I appreciate all of your info and it sounds like it might not be so much of beginners terrain.

I'm a confident skier and raced for a few years, but backcountry and terrain assessment are still new to me. I'll definitely checkout Blue and Woodhull Mtn as per SkyRider's recommendation, will reach out if when future plans arise. Looks like Black bear is more of a XC-skiing venue but I'd still be open to checking it out.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Also, Mr. Stripperguy, I'm a female.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiggk View Post
Hey everyone, sorry for the late reply. Life got busy and I broke a small bone in my foot over winter break so didn't do much skiing.

I am new to BC skiing but hoping to get an AT setup next year. I mostly do bootpacks and ski down, hence my specific interest in Bald as it is not too far to bootpack up and get some turns down. I've only BC skied small mountains like Azure and want to try Lyon. I have hiked bald but not in a few summers, I remember the summit cliffs but not the dropoffs along the trail. I appreciate all of your info and it sounds like it might not be so much of beginners terrain.

I'm a confident skier and raced for a few years, but backcountry and terrain assessment are still new to me. I'll definitely checkout Blue and Woodhull Mtn as per SkyRider's recommendation, will reach out if when future plans arise. Looks like Black bear is more of a XC-skiing venue but I'd still be open to checking it out.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Also, Mr. Stripperguy, I'm a female.
Sorry about that...it's hard to tell from here.
If you don't have AT gear yet, definitely get some, it will make the climbs much easier and faster.
And there is a bit of a difference between alpine and BC skiing, beyond the climbing aspect. Even the trees at places like Jay and Mad River seems trampled to me compared to pristine BC runs. Once there's adequate cover (3 ft or so) you shouldn't need to watch for hidden deadfalls. Anything still exposed will be obvious. When I'm choosing a line in unfamiliar terrain, I generally look for the drainages. That's usually where the fewest trees grow and will be the steepest and most consistent pitch. Undulating terrain is a pain, especially if the snowpack is deep.

If the cover is not that deep, stick to terrain you know or at least ski cautiously. Catching a limb or rock just under the snow is not that big of an issue, even if that causes you to lose a ski or fall. The issue is what do you fall on, or against. Watch for tell tale lumps that warn of hidden rocks, stumps, deadfalls.
I have a buddy that broke off his entire elbow by falling onto a hidden erratic. And another of my buddies impaled himself on a hidden stump after a fall.

One advantage of skinning up is that you know what the snow conditions are before your 1st turn on the way down. Even though I'm a competent skier, I still avoid the trees if there's a breakable crust or deep mashed potatoes.

Anyway, have fun out there and post some pics or a trip report when you earn some of those turns.
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:45 AM   #18
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And while we're giving pointers:

Remember in deep soft powder you will go slower than on packed snow. That's actually good! If you are used to flying through packed out glades at a ski area, sometimes it's very peaceful and easy at the same pitch in untracked powder.

Keep your tips on the surface to some extent; it helps avoid getting a ski under things.

Evergreen, maple and oak are usually your friends; beeches can be a pain, because they are often weedy and whippy. Be especially careful if you see lots of bent over, arched skinny beeches. That's often evidence of a prior ice storm, and there will be more "ski traps" under the snow.

Of course, look where you're going; but more importantly, remember that you will go where you're looking. So look at the spaces, not at the trees.

Have fun!
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:24 PM   #19
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Thank you stripperguy and TCD for your input! I will post a report or some photos when I go.
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