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Old 06-18-2018, 09:58 PM   #1
cpoit
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Gothics, armstrong, upper and lower wolfjaw

Hello all,
My friends and I are hitting these mountains this Saturday and would appreciate any advice on these. I have heard of the gothics trail with the ladders on it and would prefer to do that trail on the ascent from st. Huberts. Probably don't want to do pyramid or sawteeth, just the 46er peaks. I have looked at a few route descriptions but I wasn't sure if the ladders part was the route just north of Sawteeth or the Route just south of Armstrong. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:58 PM   #2
Hear the Footsteps
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The ladder is between UWJ and Armstrong. There are ladders on the scenic route to Sawteeth
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:01 AM   #3
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If your doing a loop, you will go over Pyramid, if i'm not mistaken.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:08 AM   #4
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Hiked Gothics a couple years ago and loved it! The ladders were fun. If anybody ever wants to do Gothics by itself I would advise not doing the route I chose. We parked before the country club and hiked up the access road which adds quite a bit of distance to the hike! The last thing you want to do after a hike when you are worn out and tired is hike a 2 mile dirt road.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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Of course (like a broken record) I will strongly recommend getting the ADK High Peaks guidebook and map, which answers all these questions, rather than only relying on on-line descriptions.

This thread provides very confusing information, so I'll try to help a little:

>Sawteeth is in fact a 46er peak. If you are going all the way to Gothics, you might want to catch it on this trip.

>Not clear, but it sounds like you plan to come from the Ausable Lake Road side. If so, there are two commonly used approaches to Gothics from that side: The trail up to the Gothics - Armstrong col from Beaver Meadow Falls; and the Weld trail to the Sawteeth - Pyramid col from the end of the Lake Road.

The Beaver Meadow Falls trail has some small ladders along it. This may be the "gothics trail with the ladders" that you are thinking of. (Certainly Don is right - the BIG ladder is on Armstrong, on the way up from UWJ.)

The Weld trail is steep in spots, and of course involves going over Pyramid to get to Gothics, but to my recollection it does not have any ladders. The Weld trail does have the advantage that if you do decide to visit Sawteeth, it's quite a short and easy side trip from the col.

>So you can do a loop that includes Pyramid, or if you go up from Beaver Meadow Falls you can make a side trip to Gothics and then do a loop that does not include Pyramid.

>If you are going from the Ausable Lake road, you cannot park at the Clubhouse. You must park "before the country club." From the parking area, it's approximately one-half mile uphill first on dirt, then a bit on pavement, to the gatehouse, and the start of the Lake Road. (Also note that this parking area is VERY busy on weekends, and the parking is insufficient. If you visit on a nice weekend day, you will have to park along route 73 and walk a ways to the actual parking area.)

>The section of trail from Armstrong to Lower Wolf Jaw is generally very rough, with many steep rocky sections, so plan on going slower than usual there. In your proposed direction, most of the steep spots, and the big ladder, will be while going downhill. Personally I prefer to go up, rather than down those features, but your preferences may vary of course.

>Another reason to start at the LWJ end: regardless of which direction you go, LWJ is a side trip. Many parties plan this same hike. If they save LWJ for last, it's very common that they run out of time, energy or motivation for this side trip at the end of the day, and LWJ ends up being an "orphan" peak that they have to go back for later, on another hike. So if you can't visit often, and if you are intent on getting LWJ, that's another reason to do it first.

I hope this is helpful. Some of this may be confusing without the map and guidebook, but it will all be obvious with those tools in front of you.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HikerMike View Post
.. I would advise not doing the route I chose. We parked before the country club and hiked up the access road which adds quite a bit of distance to the hike!
Not really. The shortest route to Gothics begins at the Ausable Club Parking Area and ascends the Beaver Meadow Trail (5.65 mi/9.1 km).

If you choose to ascend via the Weld Trail, the distance increases slightly to 6.52 mi/10.5 km. All other routes are longer. So although it's a road, it's still part of the shortest route to Gothics.


The only way to start closer to the trail-register is to become a member of the Ausable Club (or be a guest).


There are no shorter routes to Gothics from the Garden Parking Area. Via Orebed Brook Trail it's 6.52 mi/10.5 km and via ADK Range Trail its 7.1 mi/11.5 km.


Quote:
The last thing you want to do after a hike when you are worn out and tired is hike a 2 mile dirt road.
The Lake Road is ~3.5 miles long from the dam to the Ausable Club Road. If anyone thinks exiting via a broad, smooth, downward-sloping dirt road is onerous, they have the option of using either the East or West River Trails. The West River Trail is more scenic but I can assure you the Lake Road is a much less challenging option, especially after a long day's hike.

The last leg is the Ausable Club Road and it's a short downhill walk. Easy-peasy.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:25 AM   #7
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Trying to remember exactly where we started the actual trail to Gothics. I know we hiked up the dirt road for a good couple miles or so and crossed a bridge on the right. Not part of that club so we actually entered on foot on a paved road first then entered the main area to a dirt road all the time dodging a bus that was shuttling people...So all in all this was easily 16 miles plus....So at the end of the day when you are tired from the actual mountain hike and its 85 degrees it's not exactly easy-peasy to do another annoying 2-3 miles just to get to your car. But that was my fault for not scouting it all out before.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:48 PM   #8
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You've described the route used by many hikers. The 'paved road' is the Ausable Club Road. The 'dirt road' is the Lake Road. The bus shuttles Ausable Club members along the Lake Road from the main entrance to the boat dock on Lower Ausable Lake.

I don't know how you calculated 16+ miles but it's less. Gothics from the Ausable Club Parking Area is on the order of 12 miles (round-trip). Even if you hiked Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw and Lower Wolf Jaw, it would still be less than 16 miles (14.4).

Quote:
So at the end of the day when you are tired from the actual mountain hike and its 85 degrees it's not exactly easy-peasy to do another annoying 2-3 miles just to get to your car.
The 'actual mountain hike' includes the approach portion from one's car to the base of the mountain (where the steepest ascent begins). You have the options of the Lake Road, East River Trail, and West River Trail to get to the eastern base of Gothics. They all rise ~700 feet over a distance of ~3.5 miles. The Lake Road happens the easiest option of all three.

If you think the Lake Road is "annoying", I recommend you avoid hiking to Allen. It's a ~9 mile hike to the summit where the approach portion is about 7.5 miles long. A good part of it is along old dirt roads.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:00 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the information. It looks like we are bringing two cars now and now I'm thinking of doing the cables route. If not mistaken that is the route starting from the Garden correct? Then hiking armstrong, upper and lower wolfjaw and leaving via Ausable from the 2nd car. Anyone have a mileage on that route or any advice on taking two cars to do that particular range.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:51 PM   #10
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Sounds like a good trip!

Yes, the shortest approach to the Gothics "Cable Trail" is from the Garden.

I don't know if you are planning this for a weekday or a weekend day. Be aware that Garden parking is VERY limited. On any weekend day, you will likely not be able to park at the Garden, and will have to park at the airport and take the Keene town shuttle, info here:

http://www.townofkeeneny.com/2018-ga...le-information

Everything I said earlier about going downhill on the Range trail, and the mental challenge of LWJ at the end of the day, still applies.

Also, the junction in the Wolfjaws notch between UWJ and LWJ is a little confusing. You'd expect it to be a "four corners" type junction, but it is not. For your plan, GET A MAP and make sure you go the right way at the end of the day so you don't end up with a long road walk.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:38 AM   #11
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What TCD said; Garden parking is limited. If you arrive late and the lot is full, you have to park a few miles away and take the shuttle bus back to the Garden (after 7:00 AM). The Ausable Club Parking Area offers free parking and more of it (but can still fill up).


Here's your proposed route (13.7 mi/22.1 km). Experiment with BRouter because it's a useful tool to estimate distance and ascent.

BTW, the so-called 'cable route' is about 200 feet of the ADK Range Trail. The cables (steel cable sheathed in garden hose) are there to serve as handrails in order to keep hikers on the narrow, bare-rock trail and off the nearby krummholz.

It's the bare-rock area in this satellite image. You can make out the trail as a snaking line running left to right.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:10 PM   #12
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To add to the other information in this thread- make sure you stay on the official trail across the summit. There's a short stretch where hikers have been cutting through (and damaging) alpine vegetation and soils to avoid about 15 feet of puddles and mud on the summit. The Summit Stewards have been trying to keep hikers on the main trail by brushing in informal trails with debris and vegetation, but one of the "unofficial" trails had magically opened itself when I was up there last week (I added a bunch more brush to the path while I was there).

In general, you should also be aware that there are steep stretches with open rock on any approach. While some sections may force you to be inventive with the exact route you take (both ascending and descending) please try your best to avoid the temptation to cut around sections of steep, exposed rock face through the trees- this kills the trees and results in the soil being lost.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:36 PM   #13
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Thanks for the information everyone. The BRouter tool is pretty interesting. I'll make sure our party stays on trail and out of the trees and brush. Thanks again.
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