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Old 05-22-2017, 06:50 PM   #1
SpencerVT
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Kilburn, NW Kilburn, Sawtooth 4, Stony Creek, 3 Sentinel range Peaks this weekend

It was an awesome Adirondack whack-tastic weekend.

FRIDAY:
Work has been going well, so I bagged Friday and cruised up to Lake Placid to climb Kilburn and NW Kilburn.
It was very cold. I took the Old Iron Rd (aka barely discernible path near Monument falls on Route 86) approach to Kilburn from the west side. It had rained earlier and I kept getting douched with wet conifer branches which got me pretty wet despite my rain gear. Kilburn wouldn't have been too thick or hard had it not been for the wet conditions.
After the summit I whacked down to the col between Kilburn and NW Kilburn, and then started the ascent of NW Kilburn. NW Kilburn must be Stewart's bastard cousin or something, because the crown of this mountain was relentless conifers all growing 1/32nd of an inch apart for what seemed like an eternity. Finally I topped out and by then the weather was clearing up. The sun came out and the trees dried out which made the rest of the hike a lot more pleasant. The top was actually fairly open, in stark contrast to the ascent. Absolutely no sign that humanity had ever visited this summit, no herd trail, no small clearing, nothing.
I then descended the west side down towards the Old Iron Rd. Horrible. Almost unsurpassed in awfulness. I could feel the spruce curse - the ghost of conifer past - of Stewart mountain whispering like a devil on my shoulder: "you're screwed" into my ear as I plowed through hellishly thick Class 5 conifers of doom. After what seemed like the length of the Pleistocene Epoch I birthed from the evergreen womb of madness and pain onto the Old Iron Road, chewed up and spit out, once again into an open world where I could see more than 2 feet in front of me.

SATURDAY:
I took the annoyingly long ~4.5 mile trail towards the Ward Brook Truck trail near the Blueberry Shelter. Then near the border of the Ampersand Club property I began the whack to the ascent of Sawtooth 4. Perfect weather. Few bugs, nice breeze. If my goal had been to choose the worst possible route to the top of Sawtooth 4, then I succeeded. I went up the steepest face, where I had to crawl through the thickest god-forsaken conifers of nature's fury and mayhem. Some cool peak-out views of the Seward range at the top and metal remnants of the old canister frame.
I chose a different route on the way down and it proved to be 5 times better than the path to hell I chose on the ascent. I went slightly east into a gully/col area which proved to be way, way more open then my b-line up the southern front.
I got back to my truck and then cruised out of the Coreys Rd to Route 30, where I parked at a boat landing and then began the whack up Stony Creek Mountain going from north to south. The whack started out nice and easy. I was dancing like Julie Andrews in the Sound Of Music. There were newborn kittens and butterflies hatching from a chrysalis abounding around me, and we were all singing Judy Garland songs in unison. But then the top 1/5th of the mountain turned to a world of pain. Cliffs, relentless blowdown and stupidly thick conifers bled all over my hopes and dreams. I had to crawl at points. Finally, I stumbled onto the summit. It was hard to find the true summit, because, like NW Kilburn, there was no sign of humanity having ever visited there. But I found what looked like the highest point and then began my descent. I made it back down to Route 30 just at dark. A 17 mile day with tons of bushwhacking. I was so exhausted. I headed back to Lake Placid and went to Wiseguys which is awesome because it's open super late and I ate like their entire menu plus a few tables and the carpet.

SUNDAY:
Sunday I did a Slide Traverse in the Sentinel Range. I climbed Sentinel Benchmark, then Slide, then NE Slide.
The woods in this area was shockingly open and easy going for Lake Placid area mountains. You could like hike and juggle a live baby at the same time and not hit anything, in fact I did. I indeed juggled a live baby while hiking up to Sentinel Benchmark and it didn't hit a thing the woods were so open. You could juggle contact lenses and put a ship in a bottle while simultaneously hiking and it would be no problem man. Seriously though, compared to yesterday, it was pretty straight forward.
I couldn't believe how far up the deciduous forest went and even on the ridge going from peak to peak, the spruce forest was more open matchstick type forest with plenty of room; only a couple hairy spots the whole day. I really enjoyed these three peaks. I have now climbed all the 3000' peaks in both the Sentinel Range and the Sawtooth Range. It was a whacktacular weekend, lots of fun.


Looking back at Kilburn from NW Kilburn

Lake Placid from NW Kilburn

Conifers: 1; Spencer: 0.

Seymour and Seward from Sawtooth 4

Middle Saranac Lake from Stony Creek. I made it down by dark. I brought an arsenal of gear - enough to spend the night in the woods if need be because I started this hike so late. Always big on safety.

Sentinel Benchmark. It was cool to see this old marker

Peak out view from Slide Mountain - you can see the Lake Placid ski jumps.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:08 PM   #2
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Wait, wut? You didn't descend via Kilburn Slide? You can juggle triplets down that open route!

Amazing weekend of bushwhacking! You look remarkably unscathed by all that flagellation!

For future reference, NYS GIS Orthoimagery is quite good for locating thick and thin spots because the imagery was recorded without foliage. Here's Kilburn NW and Kilburn Slide. You can see its summit is blanketed with dense conifers.

https://orthos.dhses.ny.gov/?Extent=...che,2009_cache

If you pan down to Slide Mountain, you can see the woods are deciduous and, comparatively speaking, open enough for juggling.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:04 AM   #3
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I am embarrassed to admit I wasn't even aware there was a Kilburn slide! Yikes!
I have never used orthoimagery for climbing as far as I can recall. I think I'll stick with avoiding using it just to keep mixing it up. I wish I had taken that Kilburn Slide though.

I did stay pretty unscathed on my face - my hands and wrists are another story - they look like they were a ball of yarn and I had my hands amongst a pile of cats all weekend.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:12 AM   #4
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http://adkhighpeaks.com/neil/outdoor...2013_0100.html

http://adkhighpeaks.com/neil/outdoor...2013_0110.html

Picture of Kilburn slide from Lake Placid.
http://adkhighpeaks.com/neil/outdoor...lton_0066.html

Trail Boss and I found the descent from the summit of Kilburn NW to be very steep but not too-too thick. Going up K-NW from the col that separates it from the Kilburn ridgeline was indeed pretty thick.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:37 AM   #5
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Btw, I've whacked over to Slide 2-3 times from Kilburn and Sentinel and when you get near the top of Slide there are several football field-sized areas of blowdown. I've always curled under the east side of Slide North then headed up at an angle. Like the two markers here indicate the route and the blowdown.

I finally learned to contour way around the blowdown by going further south before aiming directly for the summit.

Did you encounter any of the blowdown near the summit?
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
I am embarrassed to admit I wasn't even aware there was a Kilburn slide! Yikes!
I have never used orthoimagery for climbing as far as I can recall. I think I'll stick with avoiding using it just to keep mixing it up. I wish I had taken that Kilburn Slide though.

I did stay pretty unscathed on my face - my hands and wrists are another story - they look like they were a ball of yarn and I had my hands amongst a pile of cats all weekend.
Satellite imagery is just another tool for route planning. Although I respect your right to constrain route-planning parameters as you see fit, you're missing out on some fun stuff (exhibit A: Kilburn Slide).

I learned this practice from Neil and it can help transform an otherwise workmanlike (and featureless) ascent into something quite interesting. Satellite imagery can reveal a vly, rock-outcrop, waterfall, slide, or other intriguing geological feature that you may wish to include in your route (or avoid).

For example, the traditional route to Lost Pond Peak, up the east side from Indian Pass Trail, is usually described as an arduous ascent through thick, featureless woods. Our route was from the south and included a vly (visible in satellite imagery) with a memorable view of Iroquois. We followed drainage upward and, just south of the pond, we turned west to explore beautiful marshland along Roaring Brook (visible in satellite imagery). We continued to the shore of Lost Pond for lunch (not all hikers who ascend from the east even get to the shore of the pond) and then on to summit (and then on to Street and Nye). It was one of the best bushwhacks I've ever done and that's a whole lot more than what most people can say who ascend Lost Pond Peak from the east.
https://flic.kr/s/aHskghBAwQ

FWIW, I wear dollar-store gardening gloves to avoid "cat scratches". After about a half-dozen trips, they're ready for replacement.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:11 PM   #7
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Neil:
Yes - just before the final top-out to the summit of Slide I encountered a blowdown field on my way over from Sentinel Benchmark. I recall that one well - what I did was actually go to the west around it, then I scampered up the last cliffy incline and there was a slight trampled clearing with views which people either have thought was the summit high point, or had visited to get some views.
From there I headed northeast a few hundred feet to the true summit of Slide.
I really liked the Slide peaks in the Sentinel range, as well as Sentinel Mountain - I would do those again. Sometime I would like to try an approach from the north to Stewart to see if it's any less hellish that way.

Trailboss:
You may have convinced me to use the orthoimagery. There are some interesting terrain-finding advantages I hadn't considered. I plan to approach Cheney Cobble from the east/Boreas Ponds side, but the imagery might be helpful in picking a better trajectory up that notoriously difficult summit.
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:07 PM   #8
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Spencer, is Sentinel Benchmark (or Sentinel 979) what I would call Slide South? If so then we're not talking about the same blowdown field.

Speaking of Cheney Cobble have you done any of the peaks in Hoffman Notch? I was thinking of going in soon and bagging Hoffman and Texas Ridge. I just did Texas from Bailey Hill and now I want to do it from Hoffman. I'm working on the 4 compass point 3K list. Haha! Just kidding.

Btw, last fall me and Tom Penders circumnavigated Cheney Cobble from Boreas Ponds if you want any info. (there was some thickness along the way IIRC :-) )
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:11 PM   #9
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Trailboss: I wear rubber gardening type gloves. They don't puncture easy and the rubber is thicker against sharp branches and twigs. Plus the rubber can be used on a phone touch screen so I don't have to remove them to check a navigation device. I also wear wide Under Armour armbands. So my cat scratches on my hands and arms are all still despite wearing that gear! It wasn't too bad though.

Neil: I'm planning on heading up to Hoffman soon. Do you think Hoffman and Texas are doable in the same day? I bet they are. Let me know when you might be going man. Things are really weather-dependent right now because it's just been raining so much.
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