Posted on May 25th, 2012 8 comments Add a comment >>
An article on Backpacker Magazine’s website lists “America’s 10 Most Dangerous Hikes.” The one closest to the Adirondacks is Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
The mountain is infamous for its fickle and sometimes extreme weather.
“Known as the most dangerous small mountain in the world,” Backpacker says, “6,288-foot Mt. Washington boasts some scary stats: The highest wind velocity ever recorded at any surface weather station (231 mph) was logged here on April 12, 1934. And 137 fatalities have occurred since 1849. No surprise: Most are due to hypothermia—and not only in winter. ‘They call them the White Mountains for a reason,’ says Lieutenant Todd Bogardus, SAR team leader for New Hampshire’s Fish & Game Department. ‘We see snow right on through the year.’”
Other hikes that made the list include the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon, the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak in Colorado, the Mist Trail on Half Dome in California, and the Muir Snowfield on Mount Rainer in Washington. Click here for the complete list.
So if you were to choose the most dangerous hike in the Adirondack Park what would it be?
Topping my list would be the Trap Dike and the adjacent slides on Mount Colden. A hiker was killed in the dike last year, and several others have been injured on this route over the years. Another candidate would be the Eagle Slide on Giant Mountain. A fall in the wrong place could be disastrous.
Both of these are off-trail excursions. Any thoughts on the most dangerous trail in the Adirondacks?
Posted on May 9th, 2012 18 comments Add a comment >>
Just when you’ve thought you heard it all: five hikers from Florida who got lost in the High Peaks reportedly urinated on each other to keep warm.
The Albany Times Union first reported this tidbit earlier this week, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirms that this is what the hikers told forest rangers.
DEC spokesman David Winchell advises against this practice. “No matter what, getting wet in cool or cold weather hastens the loss of body heat,” he said.
Winchell said the hikers were woefully unprepared. They didn’t bring a map, compass, or other essential gear and seemed not to understand the difficulty of their expedition.
The five left Rocky Acres Inn in Schroon Lake about 10 a.m. last Thursday and drove to the Upper Works trailhead. They planned to hike to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve and around the Ausable Lakes and back.
That’s a crazy idea. There are no trails around the lakes. It’s about 12 miles to Lower Ausable Lake, passing by Panther Gorge. Once there you could sort of loop around Upper Ausable by climbing to the Colvin Range ridge, hiking over Blake Peak and Pinnacle, descending to Marcy Swamp, and following the trail back to Panther Gorge. The round-trip would be more than thirty miles, with strenuous climbing.
The inn called 911 when the five failed to return by 11 p.m. A state trooper located their car at Upper Works, and two forest rangers searched throughout the rainy night without success.
“The next morning six additional forest rangers joined the search, with two entering the High Peaks Wilderness from the north. At 10:05 am the group was located in the Calamity Brook area. They were wet and cold but otherwise healthy. After rehydrating and warming them up, Forest Rangers escorted them back to their vehicle,” DEC said in a news release.
Click here to read Brian Nearing’s report in the Times Union.
Posted on May 7th, 2012 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Now we know spring is here: Ron Konowitz has stopped skiing.
Most skiers probably think last winter was a lousy one, but not for Ron Kon. He skied 161 days, all in the Adirondacks. That’s every day for more than five months.
“I had a good year,” Konowitz said today. “I definitely didn’t get into the backcountry as much as usual.”
Konowitz did a lot of his skiing at the state-run downhill center on Whiteface Mountain. “The snowmakers did an amazing job,” he said.
After Whiteface closed for the season, Konowitz would hike up the mountain and ski down the remaining snow. He made a final ski trip down Whiteface just last week.
He last skied Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit, in early April.
A retired schoolteacher who lives in Keene, Konowitz is the only person who has skied all forty-six of the High Peaks. Or at least the only one to admit it.
Posted on May 7th, 2012 Add a comment >>
Peter Bauer, a longtime environmental activist, has been named executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, an organization formed in 2010 with the merger of two green groups, one of which Bauer ran.
In an interview with the Explorer, Bauer said he was drawn to Protect by the strength of its board of directors. “It was the right job at the right time with the right group of people,” he remarked.
Bauer will start his new job in early September. He is currently executive director of the Fund for Lake George, where he delved deeply into water-quality issues. Bauer went to work for the Lake George group in 2007 after resigning from the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. Three years later, the Residents’ Committee merged with the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks to form Protect the Adirondacks.
Chuck Clusen, co-chairman of Protect, said he was “totally exhilarated” by the appointment of Bauer. “No one is more knowledgeable of the Adirondacks,” said Clusen, an official with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Bauer said he enjoyed his time at Fund for Lake George, but he is looking forward to working on Park-wide issues. He believes the biggest threat facing the Adirondack Park is the fragmentation of open-space lands—that is, privately owned timberlands and farmlands.
He said the Adirondack Park Agency has failed to craft a coherent policy to guide development in the open-space lands. “So what they do is react to the bad ideas of developers,” he said.
Protect is suing the APA over its decision to approve a massive development near the Big Tupper Ski Area. One of the main objections to the project is that it will fragment timberlands.
Protect plans to open an office in Lake George. Bauer will continue to live in the Lake George region with his family.