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Old 11-17-2009, 01:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 265
Fay near Jay on Columbus Day

A little late on this trip report but what the hay,

But during Columbus Day weekend I had the pleasure of climbing Fay Mt. which is on the eastern fringes of the Jay Range during peak autumn colors. Fay is a 2306 feet / 703 meters high peak and it is a bushwhack, there is no trail.

I chose Fay because at the time I was developing a painful heel spur in my left foot (I still havenít 100% healed), so I was looking for something easy but still changeling and with a great view while I was still able to hike. I initially saw Fay from Iron Mt which I climbed on Labor Day (Someday I'll finish that Trip Report) and knew I had to climb it.

Fay is described in The Discover the Northeastern Adirondacks guidebook. In the new 2009 edition they recommend going from Seventy Road in Lewis, this is the way I went.

In previous editions the Discover books said to start from Johnson Road, and cross private but unposted land to get to Fay. Actually in the previous edition the Discover guide they also describe how to get to two other peaks (Beech Ridge and Bluff Mountain) that are also on (the same?) private property. Both peaks are absent from the new edition. So if the landowners tolerated trespassers before, itís likely they donít anymore. So at least for Fay, the Seventy road approach which avoids any private property issues is the best way to go.

Seventy road turns to dirt about half way as you pass the entrance to a mine. Itís a hard dirt so itís drivable with a regular car. You follow the dirt road until it turns pretty much into a herd path when you get to a swamp (I'll call Fay Swamp) where thereís a parking area that can fit 3 cars. Thereís nowhere else to park, so if there are cars there already, you are screwed. This parking lot is also the jumping off point for Slip, Bald and Seventy mountains (and hopefully Bluff someday). When I went Columbus Day weekend there were no other cars there so I was lucky. Wintertime it is unlikely plowed so you likely can't get this far no matter what you drive.

From the parking lot, thereís an old tote road that heads northeasterly, paralleling Fay Swamp. Fay swamp is actually interesting, itís more a very swallow pond thatís the result of it likely being dammed somewhere by either a beaver or people which left behind a forest of ďmummyĒ trees sticking out everywhere.

According to the Discover Guide, when the old tote road turns north and heads down thatís when you leave. Well from a previous scope out on a rainy day a few weeks prior, I knew that the Discover guide was in error and the tote road never does that. So once the tote road passed the swamp I figured thatís as good as a time as any and I headed off into the woods on an easterly heading with a just a slight touch of south.

The first two thirds (distance wise) of the bushwhack are mostly flat, open and easy. Near the end of the two thirds you crossover a GNDN tote road that runs perpendicular N-S. From here the rest of the way becomes quite steep, with more than 500 feet of climbing in less than a ľ mile.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) from this 2nd tote road, someone flagged some of the route with blue and orange tape. It was the real tough type of tape that I couldnít remove. The flagging was not particularly helpful, whoever flagged it obviously had trouble keeping a straight course which is why they probably had to flag it. I didnít use the flagging to navigate but I ended up cris-crossing it a few times.

The only time the flagging was helpful was finding a (the) draw up onto the summit dome, which is lined by cliffs/high rock outcroppings. I donít know how hard it would have been to find this spot or an alternative without the flagging but itís obvious one of the more popular ways up as there is a herd path, the only one Iíve seen on the whole bushwhack.

At the top of the draw, the herd path splits and of course the flagging ends but either split will get you to the summit, the herd path in either split quickly peters out. Going left is probably the better way. (I went right going up but somehow came down the left way). But whichever, itís just a short boulder dash to the summit.

The summit is an open meadow with an ~270į view. The Jay Range which towers above you dominates, especially Slip and Bluff (Bluff Mountain looks like an awesome mountain to climb, too bad itís private, hopefully someday it will come into the forest preserve). Rocky and Giant as well as the distant mountains in the Hammond Pond wild forest are also wonderful. There are good views into the mid-Champlain valley including some of Lake Champlain, and of Fay and Hathaway swamps to the north. The colors were awesome especially on Slip and Bluff, a little hazy in the distance but otherwise it did it at the perfect time. Much of the mine was in view on the lower slopes of Slip but it didn't take away anything. Great view for such a little mountain and effort.

My only complaint was itís forested on the Northeast side blocking out what should be a great view of Pokomoonshine and Lake Champlainís widest part.

I did head off towards Blueberry, from Fay the forest was dark and dense with lots of rock outcroppings and deadfall to get around. There didnít appear to be anything there and with my foot I didnít want to push it. There might be something on Carson. Too bad you canít see either of these ďpeaksĒ from Fay to know for sure.

Coming down is pretty much uneventful, just head west with a slight touch of north. On the steep part Fay swamp is often in view thru the trees which gives you something to aim at, but as long as you head somewhat west, you will eventually recross the GNDN tote road and then hit the original tote road by the swamp or in the worst case scenario you will pop out on Seventy road somewhere.

Conclusion: Great view, no people, open forest bushwhack, not too lengthy, Fay is a great little mountain. I would highly recommend it, especially for anyone who is new to bushwhacking and looking to work on their skills.

The only concern is the lack of parking, I would recommend keeping relatively nearby Pokomoonshine in mind as a backup.

Time: About 1 to 1Ĺ hours up (It is steep) and about 45 minutes to an hour down. You are going to want to spend a lot of time on the summit.

Best time to climb: Late Spring or Fall (Lots of colors in fall). There are a lot of hunting camps along Seventy Road including a hunter's "Trailer Park" so it's probably best to avoid during hunting season. In winter you would have to park too far away and being that's there not one but two swamps around Fay, in summer the bugs might be unbearable.

Pictures from Fay here

And of Fay swamp from my original scope out and actual hike here

Qam1 - Everything & Anything on the Adirondacks
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