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Old 10-31-2004, 02:23 PM   #1
adventureboy
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Question Dial, Nippletop, Blake, Colvin on Nov5-7

Greetings forum,

I am a bit slow finding these cool sites. Anyways I am planning on climbing nippletop/dial/blake/colving next weekend and was wondering about camping areas. This is the only region in the high peaks I have yet to travel to and climb in. I am thinking of hiking the lake road to the gill brook trail and making camp at elk pass. This way I don't need ot huff a large pack over bear den and the other mountains. I am figuring on then proceeding to nippletop and dial and back to camp for the first day. Day 2 colvin/blake and maybe sawteeth then out to the road.

Does this sound like it would be a feasible 2 day trip, weather depending. Also open to any other thoughts or ideas. These are the only trailed peaks I have left, then its on to the trailless.
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Old 10-31-2004, 06:44 PM   #2
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Hi, welcome to the forums.

That's a good plan. I did something similar when I climbed these the first time (I've dayhiked Dial and Nippletop over Bear Den and out Lake Road since). We used a camping spot on the left as you're heading up Gill Brook. It's just after the state lands sign about 1 mile from where Gill Brook intersects Lake Road. It's kinda obscured unless someone's already there, but it's an official site (has the camping permitted markers). There's another a little further up on the right if the first one's full.

Elk Pass has two areas designated for camping. Elk Pass does require some additional elevation gain and distance. With a full pack you may want to reconsider using it for a base camp. And it also allows you to keep your gear at the Gill Brook camp while doing Colvin and Blake the second day before heading out.

It's a very beautiful area. Be sure to follow the trail that runs immediately along Gill Brook when heading in -- lots of small flumes and waterfalls. On your way out, to save time, there's a 'shortcut' trail that leads directly to Lake Road (instead of the Gill Brook trail, which is a slightly harder hike and not something you'll want to do after already hiking 2 peaks that day). I think it's on the map.

FYI -- I was able to get 3/4 of these in a day (would have had 4/4 if I knew to hike further for Dial's real summit). If you're in decent shape and get an early enough start it's very do-able. The ascent of Nippletop is steep from Elk Pass, VERY steep as it gains something like 2,000 feet in about a mile. Nothing technically challenging, just relentless.

Best part is -- you can have camp fires in this area.

Last edited by Kevin; 10-31-2004 at 06:59 PM..
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Old 10-31-2004, 07:27 PM   #3
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thanks

Thanks kevin...I am in rather good shape and have never met a mountain in the high peaks I couldn't handle. If you think they are doable in a day I may just bring a bivy bag with me and some extra food. This would allow more time to climb something else the next day...what a great idea. You think there is time in the day as we are loosing daylight fast. I would probably be on trail by 6:30-7:00am. At any rate should be a good trip.
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Old 10-31-2004, 09:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by adventureboy
Thanks kevin...I am in rather good shape and have never met a mountain in the high peaks I couldn't handle. If you think they are doable in a day I may just bring a bivy bag with me and some extra food. This would allow more time to climb something else the next day...what a great idea. You think there is time in the day as we are loosing daylight fast. I would probably be on trail by 6:30-7:00am. At any rate should be a good trip.
I did it in the summer, but I didn't get started right away. I also only hike at a moderate clip, so I'm no trail runner. Expect 5 hours for Parking lot to Colvin - Blake - back over Colvin. The south side of Colvin heading towards Blake is surprisingly steep, so it takes a little more time than expected. Add another 30 minutes to Elk Pass, then another 60 minutes up to Nippletop. Nippletop to Dial is generally "easy", with a slight drop and climb just before you hit Dial (there's a false summit, the real summit of Dial has a nice view looking west, THE FALSE SUMMIT OF "SOUTH" DIAL HAS NO VIEW). Add another 2 hours round trip from Nippletop to Dial and back. Then from Nippletop down to Elk Pass out to Lake Road and to the parking lot expect about 3 hours. You'll be pretty tired by this time. I didn't hike out after nearly doing all 4 that day, but I wasn't overly sore the next day either. A lot depends on your pace, how often you rest, and this does not account for any extended summit time. By my estimates you'll be looking at 11.5 hours and quite a bit of elevation gain/loss (definitely over 4,000 feet). Think it comes out to 16-17 miles, 4-5 of it on Lake Road.

I always bring a headlamp. Bringing a bivy isn't a bad idea (in case you're too tired to hike out), but expect it to get cold at night and prepare accordingly. If it were me, I wouldn't plan a trip the following day. This is a pretty aggressive peakbagging expedition. If you time this right, start about 6AM as it's just getting light, you'll only be hiking on the Lake Road by headlamp for the last 2 hours.

The conditions on top (saw your other thread) can change greatly when you get above 3,000 feet this time of year. Jeepman's report on Giant was similar to my experience on Giant last Fall. There can be ice on top, so if you own crampons or in-step grippers than you may need to bring them. A lot depends on what Tuesday's storm will bring to the upper elevations. Early indications are a lot of warmer air coming up from The Gulf, so you may be clear with just muddy and wet conditions.

Expect the unexpected. It was in the 50s+ in the valleys but 30F above 3,000 feet this time last year. It was a sheet of ice with some snow. Because the sun's still so warm this time of the year, a lot of the snow that falls slowly melts and then re-freezes on the shaded north-facing and sheltered sides of the peaks.

Here's a picture of the trail heading up Giant October 25, 2003.


Last edited by Kevin; 10-31-2004 at 10:04 PM..
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Old 10-31-2004, 09:29 PM   #5
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Oh, and you could make it a loop, but I think going back towards Nippletop from Dial is/was easier. Going over Bear Den and the shoulder of Noonmark adds more elevation, and by this time in your hike added elevation will likely exhaust you more than shaving a mile or two off the inevitable death march that evening.

Here's some photos from that first trip where I did 3/4:

http://www.the-boogiemen.com/hiking/#Nippletop
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Old 11-01-2004, 06:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureboy
Greetings forum,

I am figuring on then proceeding to nippletop and dial and back to camp for the first day. Day 2 colvin/blake and maybe sawteeth then out to the road.

.
I did this same exact trip except colvin/blake/sawteeth on day one. Do not overestimate sawteeth. We hiked from the colvin/blake col down to the Ausable lake pass and up sawteeth, then back down on the scenic route circling the northern perimeter of lower ausable lake. the elevation loss and gain is spectacular.

I have to admit that I have never been on this land before that trip due to the fact that it is illegal to bring a dog, so I was unfamiliar with how things worked. Basically the sawteeth trail as well as about 7 or 8 "spur trails" are all marked with the same orange disk. you can get to a three way junction and not know which to take unless you used your compass. a few times we had taken the wrong trail, walked 10 minutes, came across a beautiful lookout, and then had to backtrack. A lot of the the scenic spurs were marked better than the real trail, and one major junction sign was torn off and broken into many pieces.

Would I do this hike again? absolutely, it was one of the best hikes of my life, but it took about 12-13 hours, and I just did not want you to overestimate your time. On that one day/night we saw a red fox, a pack of coyotes (saw 4 by headlamp staring at me, herd more), a "wild" bear (it looked scared and ran away from us instead of sitting begging for food), and 5 grouse.

enjoy the trip

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Old 11-01-2004, 04:29 PM   #7
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Lightbulb going for it all in a day

Kevin,

I am feeling like a bundle of energy for an obscure reason. The reason, I like a huge challange. I will be packing crampons, food, bivy/single tent, cold weather gear and a headlamp. The new plan is to hike to leave by 6 am and trail to colvin and blake then to elk pass up nippletop ove to dial over bear den and to the car. This may be turn into the death march I have experienced many times before, but i hate backtracking and avoid it like the plague. I sometimes find the "death march" to be cathartic and almost trance like. That wil be the subject of todays post. Feel free to respond. I will definatley post a trip summary next week. If that is riday, I relax on an easy trip saturday, and another climb sunday, maybe a slide on giant weather permitting. And then a long trip home! What a thrill
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Old 11-01-2004, 11:16 PM   #8
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Kevin,

I am feeling like a bundle of energy for an obscure reason. The reason, I like a huge challange. I will be packing crampons, food, bivy/single tent, cold weather gear and a headlamp. The new plan is to hike to leave by 6 am and trail to colvin and blake then to elk pass up nippletop ove to dial over bear den and to the car. This may be turn into the death march I have experienced many times before, but i hate backtracking and avoid it like the plague. I sometimes find the "death march" to be cathartic and almost trance like. That wil be the subject of todays post. Feel free to respond. I will definatley post a trip summary next week. If that is riday, I relax on an easy trip saturday, and another climb sunday, maybe a slide on giant weather permitting. And then a long trip home! What a thrill
You certainly SOUND like a glutton for punishment.

Again, it's half dozen/6 of another. Bear Den and Nippletop's shoulder are going to be formidable obsticles on your way out. There are nice spots to camp up there, but you have to be sure it's at or below 3500 feet. So if you have to, rest and hike the rest in the morning.

It's certainly not an impossible hike, and I share your enthusiasm in wanting to get as much accomplished while in the dacks as you can (Rochester is pretty far way). Be safe so you can come back and tell us all about it. Bon appetite!

If you're looking to shave a little more, you can sacrifice some aesthetics from the hike if you skip following Gill Brook and take the next trail on the left off lake road (maybe another 1/2-3/4 of a mile down). That's the shortcut trail I mentioned and it's easier than following Gill Brook for that mile or so. I do recommend Gill brook as it's got some impressive beauty.

BTW, how far along are you with your 46? (I assume you're looking to complete them someday, right?)
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Old 11-02-2004, 08:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin
Again, it's half dozen/6 of another. Bear Den and Nippletop's shoulder are going to be formidable obsticles on your way out. There are nice spots to camp up there, but you have to be sure it's at or below 3500 feet. So if you have to, rest and hike the rest in the morning.
Actually Kevin, those areas are part of the Dix Mountain Wilderness, so I believe camping is only restricted to above 4000' there.

Once you drop down off of the shoulder on Noonmark you enter AMR land and camping is prohibited.
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Old 11-02-2004, 08:35 AM   #10
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Actually Kevin, those areas are part of the Dix Mountain Wilderness, so I believe camping is only restricted to above 4000' there.
You may be correct.
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Old 11-03-2004, 01:07 PM   #11
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have a good trip, it sounds pretty crazy especially now since the weather might bring some snow... good luck
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:57 PM   #12
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20 to go before this trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin

BTW, how far along are you with your 46? (I assume you're looking to complete them someday, right?)

Kevin,

Yeah I believe it will be a one day feat of, well, mutiple wills. I have 20 peaks left and after this weekend should be down to 13. I am going to pass on sawteeth and concentrate on blake, colvin, nippletop, and dial on the first day. I will make it to the car aven if its dark. I am planning on doing Street and Nye saturday. I have done them before, but wasn't keeping records and cant remember the trip well, I was little. If my will and stamina dictate I am also planning on climbing Ester on Sunday befor my death march drive, 4.5 hrs, home. If any of you are in the area and see a guy passed out in the bac k of a green Chevy Colorado, its me. Be kind and buiy me a drink . I will definatley post to the results of what is most likely to be a fantastically unique weekend in the woods. I leave at 10 am tomarrow and will be sleeping at Chapel Pond. Later folks, I got to pack my bags.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:31 PM   #13
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Good luck!
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