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Old 07-20-2010, 10:15 PM   #1
Cyar88
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Trap Dike and Partial MacIntyre Range 7/16-7/18 Part I

*This is a copy of my post on the ADKHP forum, I didn't want to leave people out who may visit one forum and not necessarily the other*

I want to start of by saying this is my first TR on this forum and am glad I finally became a member. I have been venturing into the ADK high peaks for a few years now since I started going to Clarkson in 2007, this is just the first one I felt like writing up.

This TR is the first of two from this past weekend, the second half will follow tomorrow. Myself, KurtVon and a few others who go/went to Clarkson decided to have a summer reunion and tackle some ADK wilderness while we were at it. Our trip goal for the two days originally was Mt. Colden via the Trap Dike, MacIntyre Range, Phelps and Tabletop.

We all gathered miraculously at the Loj at the same time on Friday night around 9:45 pm. We loaded ourselves up and headed out the Van Hov trail around 10:10 in complete darkness. We made a good pace despite full packs, mud from the dayís rain, and minimal light from headlamps. We arrived at Marcy Dam around 11:10 with the intent of finding a lean-to . We reached a campsite a little ways beyond the first lean-to after much stumbling around and a close call with falling into the lake. We tried to continue on to find the others but ended up on the wrong trail so we returned to the campsite and sent Kurt and Dennis out to search for the others only to find out they were all taken. We all set up camp at the campsite and unfortunately Kurt and Dennis had to improvise a tent because Kurt forgot to pack his tent. We all settled in around 12:45.


Sunset as we drove up the Northway from NJ


Very well improvised tent

On Saturday, we planned to scale the Trap Dike and cover the McIntyre Range before heading back to Marcy Dam for the night. We pulled out of camp around 7:45 and headed through Avalanche Pass which was my first time through. I have to say that it really gives you a sense of what rain and wind can do. We quickly landed upon Avalanche Lake where we stopped for a while to take pictures and hang out on the shore. You could hear the waterfall coming down the Trap Dike and we knew it would be a very interesting morning. We came around the western edge of the lake across the Matildas and boulders until we came to the start of the herd path leading to the Trap Dike. If you didnít know it was there you wouldnít know that there was a trail there, I had my doubts about it but Kurt was able to recall from his past climb up the dike. You essentially cross the bridge on the southern edge of the lake and continue towards a small opening ahead. The trail ended up being more bushwack than some in our group cared for but nonetheless we made our way through and met the bottom of the Trap Dike.


Avalanche Lake

The Trap Dike starts out very manageable with relatively easy boulder crawling and a low grade climb until it begins to turn almost straight up. The Trap Dike is mostly Class 3 climb on a dry day but with the water flowing Saturday it felt closer to a Class 4 in more places. We took our time scaling the waterfall and were glad that the wet shoes on wet rock provided decent enough traction for most of our climbing. A couple of times we needed to pull each other up because of the exposure and lack of grip (and my lack of height in some cases haha). We safely made it all the way up the dike after an hour or so of climbing and Kurt found a cut over to the slide. The slide had fortunately dried up in places so we picked our way around finding the best routes we could without slipping down. The slide has lots of places for foot and hand holds that make a surface similar to what you might expect the surface of the moon to be like. The grade was steeper than I had expected but we kept our COG very close to the slide and used everything our calves could take to get up to the summit at noon. Ben and Kurt made it up a little after that due to getting stuck at a spot with a sketchy exit strategy caused by wet rock.


Looking down the Trap Dike half way up


Looking back down the slide (The darker areas are where it was still wet from Friday's rain)

After lunch and a few photos we took the trail down to Lake Colden and decided it would be to much to try and do the McIntyre range that day. We ended up going for a swim at Colden Dam until 4:30. We headed back up the West side of Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake through the pass to Marcy Dam. On the way to camp we stumbled upon an empty lean-to so we decided to break down and move in for the night because storms were rolling in and Dennis and Kurt didnít want to sleep under a tarp again. We fell asleep listening to the rain and wind blowing outside the lean-to.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:09 PM   #2
starzero
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Iíve always wanted to climb the Trap Dike and your description makes me want to have that adventure all the more. Great report Cyar88, you guys (yourself KurtVon et al) do some real good work.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
Bucknut
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Thanks for the TR. I'm planning on doing the Trap Dike the 3rd weekend of September.........Can't wait!
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:00 PM   #4
Cyar88
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Thanks starzero, I think that the Trap Dike, as dangerous as it can be, should be the only way to experience Mt. Colden. I am very lucky to have Kurt as a friend. He has saved me from injury on this trip as well as our Great Range traverse a couple of weeks ago.

Bucknut, I can guarantee it will be an unforgettable trip. I may actually be up in the high peaks that weekend on our fall break. I just might see you out there...
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:53 PM   #5
AntlerPerak
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The dike is very doable. It is a serious undertaking but as long as you pay attention it is an amazing adventure. Sometime ago, back in the eighties, my hiking buddy finished the 46 with a climb of the dike. He was so excited he wrote his "Dear Grace" letter on the summit of Colden. On the way home the next day we stopped off at the Boulders where he handed Grace the letter. Grace was impressed with the speed of getting that letter. It was hard to impress Grace. It was an unforgettable trip.
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