Trying to plan a trip to ride Gothics, Colden or Giant in a couple weeks. Anyone have info on lean-to's/shelters or beta on what may be a good trip for a first time ADK'er other than those but are accessable from the Keene Valley (coming from VT)? The plan is to skin to camp on saturday, summit and return to trailhead sunday.
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Hey, I was in that area for the first time at the end of October 2010. The slide path on the east side of Colden had a fresh dump of snow at the time and was looking like it would make for a nice run later in the season. Apparently, skiing the slide path on Colden is restricted, but I don't see a problem with it if properly equipped with your avy pack and with a partner of course!
The lean-to on that side of Colden is an easy skin about a half mile to a mile away, though I didn't track the distance. They were all full in October, might have better luck at this time of year.
There are pretty good maps of the area that show the lean to locations. I found a couple more when I spent three days in there. We still ended up bivy-ing on the snow one night. Hopefully you'll get better luck; lots of montrealers down in those parts.
There are a number of lean to's along the johns brook approach to gothics, some are public and others are part of the ADK Club. Also some heated huts in the johns brook area, those require reservations. On the ADK Loj side (Mary dam) there are more lean to's. I personally have used a tent 2 of the 3 times i have been in there as it gets quite cold. First trip we saved weight with a tarp and slept/ froze in the lean to as the temp dropped about 10 degrees lower than forecasted to somewhere in the -6 F region. I would start with the adk.org website, pick up a guide book, and possible the adirondack slide guide book. Also be aware of the snow pack up there, the slide paths coincidently enough are the perfect angle for slides. Enjoy
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:37 am Posts: 31 Location: Vermont
There is sick stuff in the adirondacks. I never see any other splitboarders out there. I was up there 2 weeks ago, tried to do the southeast slide on colden, the only problem is that at the time there was about 4 feet of the lightest snow on the east coast I have ever seen, but absolutely no base. Gothics is a great place to head. It normally gets really good later in the season, Early march is a great time to head there. Many years people will build a snow cave at the base of the mountain or on the approach along the brook. Orebed lean-to is the closest leanto, but it is still a decent skin from there. I normally bring a tent and sleep at the base of the gothics and then spend the weekend there. You won't get bored if you spend multiple days.
Someone was talking about the slide path on colden, must be talking about avalanche slide, or avalanche pass. It is off limits because it runs out right onto the trail and it has slid very recently as evidenced by the 30 foot pile of pixy sticked trees at the trail, it was several years ago, but it is prone to sliding and a lot of people pass right below it. It is probably one of the most popular areas in the high peaks as people head to avalanche lake or lake colden.
There is some very interesting stuff on Giant as well. I haven't made it over there yet, but I always eye it up when i am in the area.
Good luck exploring. The ADK's are my favorite east coast backcountry area
my avatar picture is from the top of the gothics. It is a great mountain
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:19 pm Posts: 454 Location: N. VT & Central Wasatch
lots of options in the dacks... and some long approaches too.
sounds like those seeking turns are tagging the numerous slides, select glades, above treeline terrain, and then summer trails to exit, and probably in that order. the adks have always seemed a bit darker and austeer to me compared to the greens or whites. everything seems a bit deeper, a bit more removed. access is often via longer summer hiking trails. still, scenery is stunning.
we've stayed up in johns brook at peggy obrien before, a GREAT camp. reses fill fast, so you gotta be on it. lots to ride up there, just look around.
wright peak would be a good first tour i think, the old ski trail comes right off the top. goodman writes about it. you can stay at heart lake at the loj, or bivy out up at elevation.
lots to explore over there... as you said gothics, giant, colden. add wright, marcy, big slide, algonquin. the list goes on.
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:55 am Posts: 30 Location: Adirondack Mountains, NY
I live and ride in the Adirondacks, and splitboard in the High Peaks weekly. We've had an awesome season this year, best snowfall in years, however conditions on the slides are highly variable, due somewhat to the brief thaw we experienced this past week (feb 15-17). Most major approaches will have good cover but surface conditions are a bit crusty with some fresh snow on top. The High Peaks received about 3-5 inches of new snow Friday night, and more is expected early this week.
Some peeps here rode True North on Gothics last Sunday (pre-thaw) and reported excellent conditions everywhere except the very top. The North Face of Gothics isn't holding much snow, so don't bother going up there (when conditions are good, the slide path on the far skiers right side is excellent). There's lots of other slides in the vicinity of Gothics/Johns Brook Lodge...check out the Adk Slide Guide by Drew Hass for photos.
I XC skied under the Avalanche Pass slide on Colden yesterday. Coverage looks decent but this slide is posted off limits to all winter activities due to avalanche danger (yes this is a source of debate here, but the ban is probably for the best). The Avy Pass trail is one of the most popular winter routes in the High Peaks, and it runs directly under the slide. On a busy weekend hundreds of tourons might pass under the slide. Forest Rangers are not amused by people who ski/ride the slide. If you can't resist, go for an alpine start and get back to your car before they see your tracks. They will be watching.
As for the rest of Colden, the West Ramp might be good, but I would expect the top to be pretty rough. You can get a report from the caretaker at Lake Colden outpost by calling the DEC office in Ray Brook for contact info. The SE Slide on Colden is a nice decent but very flat on the run-out.
I've never ridden the Eagle Slide on Giant, so I can't comment on conditions. That's definitely up there on the list of potentially heinous approaches. Call the Mountaineer in Keene Valley and ask for advice.
General advice for splitting in the High Peaks:
- go light and fast, you'll be happy you did at the end of the day - use nordic kick wax on your split for the long, relatively flat approaches...its way easier and faster than skinning the whole way. One each of Blue and Green Swix will do, don't use anything warmer or you'll be left with a sticky mess - on some slides approaching from the top isn't always as easy as it seems - plan on bushwacking, usually worse than you think it will be - don't get lost, it sucks - get used to riding with your poles on some routes, and especially once back on the approach trail for the ride home...you can cover the ground without switching to ski mode - stop for frequent safety meetings