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Old 09-28-2004, 07:35 AM   #1
shaggy
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Question Gray from marcy?

I want to do Gray this year and was thinking of making it a loop. I was thinking of following the ridge line from Marcy to Gray, and then taking the traditional lake tear herd path down to four corners. According to the guide book the marcy to gray hike "involves traversing some of the thickest scrub imaginable with no continuous herd path yet developed".

Has anybody hiked this route? I feel funny "bushwacking" so close to an alpine zone (or maybe it is an alpine zone, not sure), and was wondering if there was somewhat of a herd path developed yet? any input would be helpful. thanks

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Old 09-28-2004, 08:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggy
I want to do Gray this year and was thinking of making it a loop. I was thinking of following the ridge line from Marcy to Gray, and then taking the traditional lake tear herd path down to four corners. According to the guide book the marcy to gray hike "involves traversing some of the thickest scrub imaginable with no continuous herd path yet developed".

Has anybody hiked this route? I feel funny "bushwacking" so close to an alpine zone (or maybe it is an alpine zone, not sure), and was wondering if there was somewhat of a herd path developed yet? any input would be helpful. thanks

Shaggy
Just climbed Gray from Lake Tear last month. Horror tales from other hikers that day discouraged us from even attempting a bushwack to Marcy. Proximity made it tempting, but we decided against it.

By the way, the path from Tear was fairly short, but not the pleasant experience I was hoping for!
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:42 AM   #3
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Shaggy, I have done the traverse from Gray to Marcy. The herd path is distinguishable (you need to look closely) and the scrub is thick. I suggest starting from Gray, which has a defined trail leaving the summit to the start of the herd path. I believe to locate the herd path from Marcy will be troublesome.
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Old 09-28-2004, 09:07 AM   #4
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If you have to hike Gray the traditional way (from Lake Tear) it really isn't that big of a deal. It took me 30 minutes up, with only a few steeper pitches. 20 minutes down.

I too have heard the horror stories going from Marcy to Gray. Experienced hikers lose gear up there all the time. That tells me "thick!" terrain. Not necesarily something I need to experience to save a few hundred feet elevation loss/gain.
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Old 09-28-2004, 11:23 AM   #5
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I think Gray to Marcy is a !GREAT! whack. The trail is rather good, and as long as you have pants on, the scrub is not too bad. I would however advise against Marcy to Gray if you have never have gone Gray->Marcy. The Gray->Marcy trail litterally ends with climb up out of the treeless zone, onto a rock slab. One second we were in waist high pines, the next we were in the alpine zone.

Compared to the whack of cliff we did last weekend, the Gray whack is a breeze. Enjoy it!

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Old 09-28-2004, 08:34 PM   #6
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Ok, I did not realize that it was that quick, and the marcy path was that bad. thank you.

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[QUOTE=Kevin]If you have to hike Gray the traditional way (from Lake Tear) it really isn't that big of a deal. It took me 30 minutes up, with only a few steeper pitches. 20 minutes down.
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:41 PM   #7
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yeah, I am a little gunshy from all of the other posts, but I can relate to your story. Cliff was the most humbling mountain that I experienced this summer. Completely overestimated it. I did all of the bushwacks associated with the 46 peaks this summer except for Gray. The fact that you even compared the Gray path and Cliff in the same sentence makes me have a new respect for this bushwack. I am thinking twice about it now... thanks for the info

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Old 09-28-2004, 09:25 PM   #8
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I think I should clarify. We did not take the path up Cliff. We took our best direct line to the summit directly from flowed lands. The path up Cliff was a breeze. (we took it down). If you had a problem with the path from Uphill brook to Cliff, then the whack from Gray is definately difficult. The path up gray is breezy, and would make a good combo with Skylight from Lake Colden.

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Old 09-29-2004, 10:35 AM   #9
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For what it's worth.....

Shaggy,

The bushwhack from Mt. Marcy to Gray Peak is not as difficult as it seems. If you have a basic sense of direction and compass skills, are not bothered by a lack of visual cues from your surroundings, and are able to "read" herdpath evidence, you will be able to traverse the ridge (summit to summit) within 90 minutes. If the time seems a wash between descending the marked route from Marcy to Lake Tear and ascending Gray via the usual herdpath then think of the adventure of taking the "path less traveled"!

I would recommend Marcy to Gray rather than the reverse only because of the prominent rock face that can be easily seen on the ascent to Gray from Marcy (from the east). We took a bearing on that landmark (wrote it down) and had it as a back up in case we got sidetracked on the faint, but discernable herdpath.

When you literally "submerge into the sea of balsam", just pay very close attention to staying with the flow of past traffic. Go slow, watch for signs of boot tracks (that's about all you can see) and keep your group within arm's reach of each other. The path does meander a bit. It is not a direct line.

In the Fall/Winter Issue of Adirondack Peeks Magazine (Volume XXXVII, No. 2), I wrote an account of my group's journey from Panther Gorge hiking the summits of Haystack, Marcy, Gray and Skylight. It was titled "The Ultimate Circuit". I will close this thread with an excerpt from that narrative.

"Rather than descend to Four Corners and then ascend Gray via the Lake Tear outlet herdpath, we opted to bushwhack across the ridge from Marcy to Gray. As we descended towards Gray, we began to discover small cairns headed in the same general direction. When we arrived at the edge of timberline, a cairn and an "arrow" constructed of hand-placed stones was placed on a flat section of rock. It pointed to the start of the herdpath. A compass bearing towards a prominent rock wall on Gray was taken in case the herdpath or our route "reading" skills faltered. Although there were several moments of uncertainty, we kept making progress toward Gray. At one point, as we were fighting through a very thick stand of balsam, we glanced up to discover two bushwhackers coming towards us headed for Marcy! It was so surprising (and reassuring) to see someone else in this mess headed on the same path. We exchanged hellos and encouraging messages that we had chosen the correct path. As quickly as we appeared to each other, we vanished from sight, engulfed by the dense, spruce sea. The trees seemed almost united as they prodded, poked and hindered forward progress. Painful at times and bloodied by the experience we finally reached the canister of Gray Peak shortly after 3:00 PM." (Note: We left Marcy's summit at 1:45 PM)

I hope I have shed some light on this adventure for you. Whatever you decide, good luck to you.

Pete Hogan
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Old 09-29-2004, 06:30 PM   #10
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Yeah Percious, I did not realize that you took that route up... I found the route that you took down to be humbling. It looked so short on the map and the trail let me pass a a slow late of speed... I now decided that I will not do it solo, but may later on if I have proper company. thank you for all of your input.

And Pete, that was a great quote to throw in. really painted me a good picture. Really does sound like you experienced the ultimate circuit. do you have other articles published?
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Old 09-29-2004, 09:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggy
I now decided that I will not do it solo, but may later on if I have proper company.
I plan on doing a Grey to Marcy bushwhack but Shaggy, you can't come with me because most mothers don't consider me to be ''proper'' company.

P.S. I've enjoyed this thread greatly and had planned a Loj-Marcy-4 corners-Grey- Marcy loop but hey! why bother with 4 corners? Might as well do Marcy-Grey-Marcy.
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Old 09-30-2004, 07:26 AM   #12
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I plan on doing a Grey to Marcy bushwhack but Shaggy, you can't come with me because most mothers don't consider me to be ''proper'' company.

P.S. I've enjoyed this thread greatly and had planned a Loj-Marcy-4 corners-Grey- Marcy loop but hey! why bother with 4 corners? Might as well do Marcy-Grey-Marcy.
haha "proper" is code for "boring". Have a good trip
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Old 09-30-2004, 06:06 PM   #13
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Shaggy,

The one day, counterclockwise circuit of Haystack, Marcy, Gray and Skylight from Panther Gorge was one of the most remarkable adventures of my hiking life. My partners for that awesome trip, George Tongue and Barb Blum, made it extraordinary and to this day we all agree that the "ultimate circuit" is one of the most scenic hikes in America. Getting to and from Panther Gorge from Elk Lake required two additional backpacking days, but those three days in one of the most remote sections of the High Peaks is a memory that will be cherished forever.

As far as your question regarding other publishing credits, I have written extensively and published on occasion - mostly in the adventure education area.

Anyhow, once again, whatever route you decide on...happy trails!

Pete Hogan
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Old 10-04-2004, 11:10 PM   #14
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I hiked those 4 mountains from Panther Gorge this summer also, coming in from Elk Lake. The hike is simply amazing, 4 of the 8 highest mountains in the Dacks. The views are amazing.
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Old 10-08-2004, 11:13 PM   #15
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I did the Gray-Marcy traverse in october 1999, and I just did the Marcy-Gray (reverse) last weekend. Either way it's not that nasty. The path is easy to follow if you pay attention. If you loose it, you'll realize it VERY quickly... Retrace your steps and you'll get back on it (my compass stayed in my pack all the way!). Long pants are a must.

If you descend Marcy's summit cone, just find the numerous cairns that go in straight line with Gray. At the end, there are 2 "entrances" in the bush (both involve a tricky 5' jump from a rock step). Take the right one. The woods are thicker on Marcy's side of the col.

As someone else wrote, that path will not save you time, but it's a much more fun way to climb Gray

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Old 10-11-2004, 01:11 PM   #16
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I did the Gray-Marcy traverse in october 1999, and I just did the Marcy-Gray (reverse) last weekend. Either way it's not that nasty. The path is easy to follow if you pay attention. If you loose it, you'll realize it VERY quickly... Retrace your steps and you'll get back on it (my compass stayed in my pack all the way!). Long pants are a must.

If you descend Marcy's summit cone, just find the numerous cairns that go in straight line with Gray. At the end, there are 2 "entrances" in the bush (both involve a tricky 5' jump from a rock step). Take the right one. The woods are thicker on Marcy's side of the col.

As someone else wrote, that path will not save you time, but it's a much more fun way to climb Gray
I guess that I am not as concerned with my navagation skills as I am with destroying plant life in (or near?) an alpine zone. That does sound like a lot of fun to me (that is why I brought it up) but if it is way to high impact I don't want to do it. I would rather walk a designated herd path than bushwack. would you consider it somewhat of a path?

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Old 10-11-2004, 03:32 PM   #17
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Yes. It is definately a path. You dont have to worry about destroying vegetation.
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Old 10-12-2004, 10:15 PM   #18
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I did the marcy --> gray bushwack and didn't find any trail at all, just beat my way through the THICK brush. Since it was in January, there was significant snow, making it much easier, although tough. If you have good pants/jacket, u can just bust right through the brush.
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:06 PM   #19
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Yes. It is definately a path. You dont have to worry about destroying vegetation.
Somebody else has already destroyed it for you
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