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Old 06-17-2017, 08:47 PM   #1
jessdrone
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Best way to climb haystack

What are your favorite ways to climb haystack?
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Old 06-18-2017, 03:11 PM   #2
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I Heart Haystack

From a base camp at Panther Gorge, combined with Marcy, Skylight, and Gray.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
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And what wold your fav trail-head be for getting to Panther Gorge? Long walk from Elka Lake? From Flowed Lands? Heart Lake?
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:30 PM   #4
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And what wold your fav trail-head be for getting to Panther Gorge? Long walk from Elka Lake? From Flowed Lands? Heart Lake?
I actually enjoy the hike up from Elk Lake, though taking the route from Upper Works is a close second. I'm thinking of doing just that as part of a backpack / base camp trip going from UW to PG (with a stop at Cliff/Redfield along the way), then down Bartlett Ridge and up the Elevator Shaft to Colvin and out Lake Road.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:50 PM   #5
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Having done Haystack every way possible numerous times each, my preferred route for a day-hike is from the High Peaks Info Center. Admittedly, there is the psychological (and physiological) burden of re-climbing those pesky 700 feet back up to the Phelps-Van Ho junction but I prefer that to the very long hike back out to the Garden. Also, since you are right there at the junction you can always scoot up Marcy for an added bonus.
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Old 06-20-2017, 02:39 PM   #6
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From a base camp at Panther Gorge, combined with Marcy, Skylight, and Gray.
debmonster, I'm planning to do this set, but coming from Colden. Gray->Skylight->Haystack->Marcy->Loj, so I'd get the full traverse of Haystack, but only the north side of Marcy x2. Am I missing much by not doing the south ascent of Marcy via Schofield Cobble?
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Old 06-20-2017, 03:08 PM   #7
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To me, the hike from Elk Lake is BORING!!! However, there is the great section of above treeline hiking past the LT at Panther Gorge.

The trip from the Garden or from Marcy includes that wonderful view from Little Haystack.

Take your pick, either way is long. Some dull parts on each, but the end result is great.
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Old 06-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #8
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debmonster, I'm planning to do this set, but coming from Colden. Gray->Skylight->Haystack->Marcy->Loj, so I'd get the full traverse of Haystack, but only the north side of Marcy x2. Am I missing much by not doing the south ascent of Marcy via Schofield Cobble?
The climb from Schofield Cobble to Marcy is all open terrain with bare rock and scrub; every direction offers something interesting to see. If you've hiked Algonquin's south side, it's like that but more. One of my favorite places in the High Peaks.

The climb from Bartlett Ridge to Haystack is notable for its steepness. It's very rugged but does not traverse open terrain (i.e. it is flanked by woods). Only the top end of the trail emerges onto open, bare rock. I've been up and down this challenging route and I think it's well worth the visit ... but I still prefer the south side of Marcy.

I assume you know that you lose/regain a crapton of elevation between Skylight and Haystack by way of Panther Gorge. Marcy, Skylight, and Gray is considered by many to be a challenging day-hike. Adding Haystack (by way of Panther Gorge) really ups the ante.

If you were not aware of this significant loss/regain, I offer you this alternative route:

Gray, Skylight, Marcy, and Haystack.

When you're standing on Haystack, you have the option of returning via the Loj by backtracking to the VanHoevenberg/Phelps junction (north of Marcy) or descending into the bowels of Panther Gorge, climbing up to Four Corners, then continuing on to the Loj via Lake Arnold or Avy Pass (my feet hurt while writing this).

Good luck!
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Old 06-20-2017, 05:42 PM   #9
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Gray, Skylight, Marcy, and Haystack.
When you're standing on Haystack, you have the option of returning via the Loj by backtracking to the VanHoevenberg/Phelps junction (north of Marcy) or descending into the bowels of Panther Gorge, climbing up to Four Corners, then continuing on to the Loj via Lake Arnold or Avy Pass
That would be my pick...
I would also suggest doing this route on young legs....
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:23 PM   #10
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Haystack to Panther Gorge = about 1700' of elevation loss, 2/3 of which is very steep. Nothing wrong with that, unless of course you're a pair of knees.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:02 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by daft jules View Post
debmonster, I'm planning to do this set, but coming from Colden. Gray->Skylight->Haystack->Marcy->Loj, so I'd get the full traverse of Haystack, but only the north side of Marcy x2. Am I missing much by not doing the south ascent of Marcy via Schofield Cobble?
Since you're starting/ending from the north, I totally agree with Trail Boss' route recommendation and will second the idea to enjoy Schofield Cobble on your way up from Skylight. It's a very cool and unique place. But I love the rugged approach from the south side of Haystack too, so maybe you should return another time to enjoy that as well.

As you can tell by the many comments about the elevation loss from Sky to PG, it probably only makes sense to include Panther Gorge if you're starting/ending there. The elevation loss at the end of the day didn't bother me much, but it's probably because we knew that we were on our way "home" to camp and dunk our feet in the refreshingly cold stream!
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:05 PM   #12
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Haystack to Panther Gorge = about 1700' of elevation loss, 2/3 of which is very steep. Nothing wrong with that, unless of course you're a pair of knees.
Yes, another reason why I prefer to go UP from PG to Ha/Ma.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:32 AM   #13
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Makes sense, thanks all!
I had noted the significant elevation change down and back out of Panther Gorge, but I think I may have been underestimating its implications..
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:22 PM   #14
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Looking to hike Haystack this August by way of parking at Gardens-->Haystack-->Basin-->Saddleback then back to the car at Gardens.
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