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Old 09-28-2017, 12:51 PM   #1
bud
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 20
Chimney Mountain/Eagle Cave 9/25

After seeing the hot air balloons take off in the am in Warrensburg I decided to go to church and head up to Indian Lake. It was the last day of the Great Adirondack Moose Festival and I found that Saturday would have been the better day to attend. Sunday is when things are winding down.

From town we headed for Chimney Mountain, not far away. For those not familiar, the hike is just over 1 mile and begins on private property, Cabins at Chimney Mountain. It's a very scenic property overlooking Kings Flow and the cabins seem to be well maintained. There's a $2 fee to park which one can deposit in the "honesty box".

It's a nice hike to the summit which affords spectacular views. I was hoping to see lots of Autumn colors as there were reports this area was at it's peak for leaf colors. Instead there were many barren trees and a few yellows in sight. It seems the fungus affecting maples has defoliated many trees in this area. There are lots of great scrambles at the summit of Chimney and the area wasn't as crowded as one might expect on a Sunday afternoon.

My real goal was to get the geocache in Eagle Cave. This is the deepest cave in the ADKs and it closes soon to protect the hibernating bats. This was a bit confusing as a sign near the cave entrance says it closes 10/1 but internet sites list the closing date as 10/15. My coordinates for the entrance were a little off and I bumped into a group from Syracuse that had been crawling into every opening looking for the bigger cave. This group was determined although there are many crevices in the area. Some open up a bit and many dead end. When they saw me put on my headlamp, helmet, kneepads, harness and get out the rope they thought I was an expert and were willing to join me in the adventure. The easiest entrance is the one with the closure dates posted next to it, not far from the top of the ridge easily seen just west of Chimney's summit.

I brought repelling equipment as I'd read of drop offs and 90ft descents. The big drop is another entrance to the same cave. I had a few maps of the cave from online sources as well as printed instructions. The "birth canal" at the entrance was not nearly as bad as described by some. The difficulty mostly depends on horizontal giftedness. There are a few ways to get around the rock at the entrance, all about the same difficulty.We were searching a while in the first chamber as my map wasn't as accurate as hoped for. We should have stayed high as soon as entering the chamber instead of dropping to the floor along the slanted rocks.

We got to the dreaded 15ft drop off and found a rope with footholds as well as a very nice aluminum telescoping ladder. I'm not sure if the ladder's a regular here but it saved some ropework, so I was happy to see it.

The cave is fascinating and has lots of areas to explore. One should plan on spending a few hours there but it can get cold in the deeper parts. It'll close soon but Chimney mountain and the caves are well worth the visit. The geology of Chimney is interesting in itself and some of the climbs there will require ropes/others can be fun scrambles. It's weel worth the visit - especially when Eagle Cave is open.
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