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Old 11-04-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
DDinBoston
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Overnight advice - ADK Loj ->Lake Colden->Algonquin->ADK Loj

Hi everyone,
I figured I'd ask for any input on a planned trip next weekend (11/12/10) to the High Peaks region. Sorry I don't have the trail names in front of me right now, but I think you'll get the picture. Here's the plan as it stands now:

1.) meet at the ADK Loj @ noon or as early as possible (coming from Boston so it will take a while).
2.) hike 5 miles to one of the Lake Colden lean tos.
3.) stay the night at lean to
4.) next morning, hike up to Algonquin and continue down the other side
5.) back to ADK Loj
6.) stay the night in Lake Placid

We are all experienced in winter hiking/camping, but I'm hoping someone can give me an idea of conditions right now in the area, what to expect from that route, and is this plan reasonable?

My biggest concern is getting to the lean-to before dark.

Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:28 PM   #2
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Sunset right now is 5:45 pm. That gives you a little bit less than 6 hours, if you start hiking right at noon. Maintaining a 1 mile an hour pace shouldn't be hard at all, although the going will be slow with full packs through avalanche pass.

As for winter conditions, expect them. I encountered 5 inches of snow on the summits of McKenzie and Moose two days ago, and they aren't even high peaks. There was also a fair amount of ice on the south side of McKenzie. Bring crampons and snowshoes for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if you also saw snow in the vicinity of Marcy Dam and Lake Colden.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:46 PM   #3
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It is very likely that the trail alongside Avalanche Lake will be treacherous w/o some kind of traction aid. Those hitch-up-Matildas in particular can be nasty when ice covered, and a slip will result in a cold dip in the lake.
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Old 11-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #4
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Don't forget that Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 7. According to this chart, sunset will be 4:33 on the 12th.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA Ridgerunner View Post
Don't forget that Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 7. According to this chart, sunset will be 4:33 on the 12th.
That's an excellent point. If could be pretty hard to get to Lake Colden by 4:30 with a noon starting time and a route through avalanche pass with full packs.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Very true, that could be a tough scramble.

Might be easier to stop at the Avalanche Leanto, if that's an option. Then you could walk through the pass and over Algonquin with day packs the next day, and circle back a bit to collect your camping gear...
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:16 PM   #7
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Another option might to do the loop in reverse, and camp at the designated campsite that is partway up the trail up Algonquin. It's a lot closer to the Lodge than Lake Colden is.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #8
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I would be more concerned about going over algonquin with full packs. adding another night at Colden would make it much easier.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:02 PM   #9
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I would be more concerned about going over algonquin with full packs. adding another night at Colden would make it much easier.
It's been done before. I've carried full packs over a number of High Peaks, including Algonquin.

It's still a good point that carrying full packs over Algonquin in winter-like conditions with snow and ice could be difficult.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:40 AM   #10
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I'll point out that getting a lean-to at Lake Colden is not always an option, even in the winter. Assuming that you go to the first lean to on the point, and it is full, you'd have to move to the next, and repeat until...... This can sometimes take a while from the time you start looking until you actually find the lean-tos. I would take it from your post that you do not have too much familiarity with the Lake Colden area. Just be warned that, if you are not very familiar, and you have bad luck with the lean-tos, you may be looking at 45 mins-1 hr of lean-to hunting AFTER arriving at Lake Colden. My recommendation for you is to leave at an earlier time from the parking area-if possible. I would say leaving at 9 or 10 AM would be a better choice.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:14 PM   #11
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First , yes theres the lean-tos, then the weather, trails are light snow at the LOJ from what im reading to ice and snow at the peaks, 3rd, that trail up to algonquin is very steep and about 1.5 miles, then you still have to climb algonquin, so why this route with full packs,Just to camp??? Hmmmm, might as well drop pack and get iroquoius while at the junction . Check out the trip reports over on adkhighpeaks.com, as i think there are new TR and pictures.. last, conditions on top of algonquin , cold ,windy, all with full packs...just my thoughts...Why this route? found one: http://forums.adkhighpeaks.com/showthread.php?t=12976
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:31 PM   #12
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Thanks for the help guys. We may need to rethink the itinerary based on your posts. That's what I feared, but better to find out now then on Friday! After reading this stuff, we may end up just sleeping at a lean to at Marcy Dam. Then we could leave our heavy stuff behind, get up Algonquin, and double back the next day.

That would make it a more enjoyable trip to me.
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:53 AM   #13
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Are you definately looking to camp out? If not, stay at a hostel or something. If you are, and DO want to stay at Marcy Dam, let me reccomend making a loop out of it. You could take the Whales Tale Mtn. Ski trail (or make a longer, trip around the Van Hoevenberg trail with no climbing) up and over to the Algonquin trail, and nab Wright Peak. This would give you some warning as to wha to expect atop Algonquin. If all seems favorable, continue over Algonquin to the junction. Return by way of Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake & Camp. From the junction down to the Dam is about 3-5 hours, depending on your speed. If you are a faster group, then you could add in a 1.5-2.5 hr round trip to nab Iroquois Peak as well.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:57 PM   #14
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The trail up to Algonquin from Lake Colden and Avalanche Lakes area is very steep and often muddy. That portion of your trip will definitely be "one to remember." I did your trip solo and was glad that I did not have to listen to anyone complaning about my route choice.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:33 AM   #15
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We went into Colden this past weekend...some thoughts...

- We were thinking we would drop packs at the Avalanche lean-to, loop around the east side of Colden and come back north through the pass. We couldn't find the avalanche lean-to. It's there, just hidden.

- Going around Avalanche Lake was really tough- like all those above said- one mile/hour max.

- If you're going to the Holden lean-tos, I recommend travelling around the west/Algonquin side of Lake Colden. We travelled down the east side and the blow down made it really difficult travelling. We came out the next day around the west side no prob.

- There are only 4 lean-tos at that end of Colden- get there early. Two of them are right on the lake and very exposed to the wind coming down the valley. TBPDPTI is right about securing one, we burned some time finding a "home" for the night.

- It's definitely winter up there. Probably 2-3 inches of packed snow. We didn't need our snowshoes, but got plenty of use out of the microspikes.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:18 PM   #16
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Thanks for the up-to-date info Hilltop (and others)! You just solidified my notion that we should probably be camping somewhere else that night. There is no sense enduring the misery of what you describe just for the sake of doing a loop. A loop is nice, but lets not go crazy here! It will be a lot more enjoyable for me to camp at a closer lean-to on Friday night (Marcy Dam) and just do an out and back the next day.

Thanks again guys for your help! I appreciate it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilltop Harrier View Post
- We were thinking we would drop packs at the Avalanche lean-to, loop around the east side of Colden and come back north through the pass. We couldn't find the avalanche lean-to. It's there, just hidden.
It was replaced a few years ago. The new lean-to is off the trail, up the hill to the west a few hundred feet.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:44 PM   #18
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It was replaced a few years ago. The new lean-to is off the trail, up the hill to the west a few hundred feet.
Yeah, we spoke to a Ranger friend after we came out. He told us the same thing. I guess if we didn't get a Colden lean-to that night, I'd be a bit disappointed that we didn't find it. But everything worked out.

Thanks for the info
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