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Old 05-07-2017, 08:57 PM   #1
AvalanchePass
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Silly Indian Head patch argument

Hi,

I appreciate that this post borders on the ridiculous but we're just having some fun so please be kind.


Our family always enjoys heading to the Mountaineer or the Loj after our hike and grabbing the associated patch as a memento.

We're planning a hike to Indian Head shortly. Here's the patch:




My son has always been a little compulsive about finding the actual summit marker at the top before "claiming" a mountain. I'm sure some of you will concur while others will find it a tad obsessive.

Rgardless, he is insistent that we need to hike to the summit of Indian Head to claim the patch. I've told him the patch refers to the vista, not the summit.

Here's the area in question:




His first argument is that the patch reads "Indian Head Mountain", not "Indian Head Vista".

I counter that Indian Head and it's views of the Lower and Upper Ausable Lakes are an iconic Adirondacks destination and all of the articles and trip reports that I've encountered have always focused on the vista, none have even mentioned the summit. Although the caption could be better, if someone is making an Indian Head patch they're clearly referring to the lookout.

His second argument is that the patch reads 2700 feet. The summit of Indian Head is 2680 feet. Elevation at the vista is around 2540 feet.

I argue that 2700 feet is often referred to as the elevation of the vista even though it is inaccurate. Here is one example online of many. Perhaps because the main trail reaches 2660 feet before the spur descends to the vista.

The map (below) at the trail register lists Indian Head at 2700 feet and it's clearly referring to the vista.


So help me put the whipper snapper in his place and confirm that the patch refers to the vista.



Last edited by AvalanchePass; 07-21-2017 at 07:31 AM..
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:04 PM   #2
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These patches are hardly "USGS approved" so I wouldn't rely on their accuracy.

That map is incomplete. There's a trail that runs over the summit. I recently updated OpenStreetMap's information for Indian Head and it shows all the trails plus the three outlooks. The one thing I overlooked to do is correct the location of the "peak indicator" (it is currently south of where it should be).
http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/44.1119/-73.8217

There's no indication of the actual summit (sign, cairn, benchmark, etc). If you walk from the southern lookout to the northern one, you've effectively traversed the summit.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AvalanchePass View Post
I'm sure some of you will concur while others will find it a tad obsessive.


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Old 05-08-2017, 07:18 AM   #4
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I'm with your son, tag the vista & the summit, everbody wins.
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:11 AM   #5
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I'm with your son
OK buddy, reported to the mods. Hopefully you'll only get a warning and not a ban.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:24 AM   #6
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I agree, I think the solution is just do both, then you've covered everything. That's cool your son is so into hiking and mountain climbing!
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:57 AM   #7
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First of all, your son should know that not every summit has a "summit marker" but really a benchmark. Surveyors only place as many as they need to produce an reasonably accurate map, and there sound's need to be one on every summit.

With Indian Head, the trail that runs along the ridge to the eastern lookout does go over the summit (2,700 contour elevation) where you may be able to find a Colvin benchmark. Then you can continue on to the eastern view and down to Gill Brook, or backtrack a few yards and complete the loop with Fish Hawk Cliffs.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:21 AM   #8
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Buy the patch for yourself and your son. When you feel you deserve it, you get it. When your son feels like he deserves it, he gets his. These are not anything official. Nobody checks to see if anyone stood on the exact spot. Some folks are purists and others aren't. Hike your own hike.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:07 PM   #9
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...With Indian Head, the trail that runs along the ridge to the eastern lookout does go over the summit
Tony, I noticed you referred to it as the "eastern lookout". I labeled it "Indian Head Outlook North" (and the other one as South). You know the land and lore best so do you feel it would it be more appropriate to call it "Indian Head Outlook East" (and the other West")? Or should one be "Indian Head Vista" and the other "Indian Head Outlook"?

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=17/44.11290/-73.82034

Let me know and I'll make the changes ASAP.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:55 PM   #10
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I now agree that it's more north than east of the main lookout.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:09 PM   #11
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For crying out loud!
Give the kid the Patch.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:53 PM   #12
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For crying out loud!
Give the kid the Patch.
Jim
Haha! By the sounds of it, the little guy doesn't just want the patch, he wants to emerge victorious from the debate with his old man.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:31 PM   #13
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OK, the patch clearly refers to the famous Indian Head Vista (have you ever even heard anyone refer to the summit of Indian Head). The case I made was salient and unassailable.

But because you guys are apparently as obtuse as the little guy I now have to climb this obscure viewless summit.

New plan is to retrace our steps from Fish Hawk Cliffs. Then up and over the summit via the Indian Head trail, checking out the "North" lookout before reaching the Gill Brook trail.

The impetus for this hike were the waterfalls along the East Branch Ausable River and Gill Brook. So will we be missing much by cutting out the section of Gill Brook between Fish Hawk Cliffs trail and Indian Head trail?

Unexpectedly my wife has decided to join us on this hike. 13 miles and 3000 feet of gain is a big ask for her. So I'm certain she'll have no interest in climbing back up to Indian Head from Fish Hawk Cliffs. I imagine she (and others) will take the Fish Hawk Cliffs trail over to Gill Brook and meet us at the intersection with the Indian head Trail.

I guess the other option is for my son and I to "tag" the summit while the others are at Indian Head Vista (you know the famous one they made the patch for?). The problem is that it will be difficult to ascertain when we have reached the unmarked summit.

AP
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:16 AM   #14
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OK, the patch clearly refers to the famous Indian Head Vista (have you ever even heard anyone refer to the summit of Indian Head). ...
There are several mountains whose summits are wooded and offer limited or no views but have a nearby lookout. I suspect these patches typically refer to the mountain's summit and not its nearby lookout(s).
Street, Nye, Marshall, Santanoni, Panther, South Dix, etc.

BTW, these patch collections stand to make the most profit by making patches for every possible peak and then some. For example, they sell patches for Marcy Dam, Mount Jo, and even Adirondak Loj. So it puzzles me why they combine peaks instead of milking this thing for all its worth: Wolfjaws, Street and Nye, Seward Range, and Santanoni Range. Seems to me they missed the opportunity to sell six more kinds of patches!

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... will we be missing much by cutting out the section of Gill Brook between Fish Hawk Cliffs trail and Indian Head trail?
Nope. The most scenic part of the Gill Brook Trail lies on AMR property.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:05 AM   #15
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There are several mountains whose summits are wooded and offer limited or no views but have a nearby lookout. I suspect these patches typically refer to the mountain's summit and not its nearby lookout(s).
Street, Nye, Marshall, Santanoni, Panther, South Dix, etc.
Indeed, well played. I would counter that the destination for these hikes is the summit while the destination on Indian Head is the vista. But, I'm swimming upstream here. The kid wins.

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Nope. The most scenic part of the Gill Brook Trail lies on AMR property.
OK thanks. That settles it. Back up from Fish Hawks, over the summit and check out the lesser known Indian Head lookout.

I assume my wife and others will head out to Gill Brook and avoid the climb back up Indian Head from Fish Hawk Cliffs. That appears to be the easier route after a long day?

Last edited by AvalanchePass; 05-09-2017 at 10:20 AM..
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:59 PM   #16
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Here's your best route. Up the first approach along Gill Brook to see all the waterfalls. Continue to the Fish Hawk Cliffs junction and turn right to Fish Hawk Cliffs. Then go to Indian Head. At the four-way intersection at the top of the ridge it is left to the main view, and right to the true summit. It is about a five-minute roundtrip to the actual summit, which does have a view. Then join your wife on the main lookout, and finally head down the direct trail to the Lake Road. Now you can return via Rainbow Falls, Beaver Meadow Falls, etc, or you can just walk out the Lake Road. No significant backtracking, and only climb Indian Head once.
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:27 PM   #17
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Mountains out of Molehills?
Give the kid the patch.
i really don't see the controversy.
jim
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:50 PM   #18
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With Indian Head, the trail that runs along the ridge to the eastern lookout does go over the summit (2,700 contour elevation) where you may be able to find a Colvin benchmark.
My son would be thrilled to find a benchmark, we'll spend some time looking around.

But it will be difficult to know when we've reached the summit. The trail from Indian Head Vista to the outlook at the end of the ridge seems pretty flat. You mentioned there is a view. Any other hints as to where we should start looking?

Below is my best guess using my routing software.

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Old 05-09-2017, 04:52 PM   #19
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Tony, I noticed you referred to it as the "eastern lookout". I labeled it "Indian Head Outlook North" (and the other one as South). You know the land and lore best so do you feel it would it be more appropriate to call it "Indian Head Outlook East" (and the other West")? Or should one be "Indian Head Vista" and the other "Indian Head Outlook"?
FWIW, someone has labelled the "main" lookout "Indian Head Vista" on Google Maps.
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:32 PM   #20
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Yes, what you label as he summit is indeed the summit.
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