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Old 11-20-2017, 05:19 PM   #1
tenderfoot
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Bear Den hammocking

Trying to pop up end of this week. Thinking of Dial & Nippletop.

Initial plan was to hike in AMR Lake Road, camp at Gil Brook and then full-pack over [groan] Elk Pass and work our way down the ridge Nippletop -> Dial -> Bear Den. Could reverse it but we prefer to take the steep part of Elk Pass going up.

I noticed that Bear Den seams to be less than 3500' and Noonmark shoulder is less than 3'. We we could start off up the HG Leach Trail and once we cross into State land look for a spot 150' off-trail to string up our hammocks. We could skip Elk Pass altogether with this - doing an out and back.

But I believe this area is new growth and we might be hard pressed to find a tree thicker than your leg? And we'd have to top off water before reaching camp too.

Other option is set up camp at Roaring Brook Falls - is that out of earshot of the highway?
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:56 PM   #2
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The second growth area from the 1999 fire is not that big - there's plenty of unaffected woods in the area. When you hike over the Noonmark shoulder, you will be in the affected area for a while, and yes, hammocking would be difficult there. But you will already be past the affected area when you get to the col between the Noonmark shoulder and Bear Den. The col is at about 2800'.

I think you would be able to hear the highway pretty well from the RBF campsite. The campsite is only about 100 yards from the road, as the crow flies.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:02 PM   #3
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You can see the extent of the new-growth forest in this satellite image:

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...17&b=sat&a=mba

My guess is you could descend into the saddle, between Bear Den and Noonmark's shoulder, and then exit the trail and follow the eastern drainage until you find a suitable spot (and maybe some flowing water).
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:14 PM   #4
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trail down from NM shoulder goes left towards Dix then hard right under cliffs of shoulder it wanders down a bit then a left turn starts descent to coll and a bit of water. At that turn straight ahead are 2 lower open rock nubbles. On either side is protection from wind and mid size deciduous trees.
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:42 AM   #5
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Gil brook campsites are nice and you should have easy picking for a good hammock spot but I would not want to lug a full pack up Elk pass. I second Trailboss on the drainage idea. Would make for a more exciting adventure anyway. Happy trails.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:45 PM   #6
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This is great feedback. We camped Gil Brook when we did Blake & Colvin last time up. Were looking forward to treading familiar ground, but the idea of doing the full circuit under full pack, while not enough to scare us off, is enough to look at other options. Looks like making camp in the area suggested cuts the full pack part of the trip in half.

CalTopo seems to say that there is more elevation - doing the ups and downs of the Bear Den route twice. The Gil Brook loop also appears half mile shorter and has known water for our camp site. I can carry a bit extra if camping on noon mark shoulder and we should have enough time to explore the drainage. And of course the ridge is dry so we'd be lugging a few liters each up Elk Pass if we took that route.

Keene Valley calls for showers Sat AM - I am thinking with a bit of elevation we can wake up to snow rather than rain.
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