Mount Colden Revisited (February 19, 2005)
Mount Colden summit
Height: 4,714 feet (1,437 meters)
Location: Adirondacks, New York, USA

This president's day weekend we celebrated George and Abe by heading to the Adirondacks and skiing and climbing.  Both George and Abe were avid outdoorsmen and enjoyed skiing and climbing themselves. 

We had a late start 0500 Saturday; we were planning on leaving 0200.  We stopped at the first ski resort north of Albany and skied the day there.  We stayed in a camp site at the ADK Loj. (North Elba, near Town of Keene) No space in the inn.  Saturday night was rather cold; I think we had single digits below 0.  The next morning after a quick breakfast, we left camp at 0800. Before us was probably 12.5 miles travel mostly over good packed snow trails but between one trail and the other lay 2000 ft of snow ice and rock.  The Trap Dike up Mount Colden has 2 vertical steps of ice, nothing too difficult probably 25 and 40 ft.  Lots of trapsing thru snow a little mixed exit on to the slab, the slab is a mix of snow rock and ice.  The ice is low angle probably 40 degrees like a glacier.  Just a big inclined skating rink. There's snow in the dike then the snow we had to traverse thru upon  exiting the dike and the exposed ice made for some slow and exhausting travel.  The ice on the slab gave Margaret the Willy's and we belayed most of the pitches up that.  It was very easy going but to call there you accelerate fast, then its 1800ft slide till the slide really begins to drop off.  We probably got to the base of the climb at 1100h and exited the dike around 1400h.  We made the summit probably a 0.5 or 0.75 hrs before sun set.   I was worried about our rate of progress; my main concern was to be on the summit and heading down in daylight.  The summit has an established trail with plenty of traffic so once we were on the trail we just had to keep moving.  We spent a few probably 20minutes on the summit, stowing gear and putting on the snow shoes.  A few pictures and then we were headed down.  The weather cooperated and we had a full moon which in the snow illuminates quite a bit.   The trail down from the summit to Lake Arnold, and then from lake Arnold to Avalanche Camp was rough and seemingly endless but once at Avalanche Camp, we were on the trail we hiked in on and had been over several times in our trips to the area.  Its the hiking trail equivalent of the NYS  Thruway.  We got back to camp at 2200hrs.  A total of 14 hours moving. 

Monday we quickly broke camp and got on the road home.  The weather was awful that night after about 0300h. It started snowing; 73 thru Keene Valley was a mess.  We did it all at btwn 15 to 20 mph.  At the steep part near roaring brook falls there was a real backup with many cars not able to make it up the hill.  I turned around thinking to go thru Elizabeth back to the thru way but after turning around a plow passed us, so I turned around and followed the plow.  It was a struggle getting up that hill but with lots of sliding and spinning the wheels, our little camry was the front wheel drive car that could. From there,  it was good all the way back.  On the Northway, we started out at about 40mph but as we drove south and the roads improved the speed picked up. 

Back in the city around 1515h,  all  our gear spread around the apartment to dry and a sound night sleep in a warm bed. Happy Birthday George and Abe.  (Click each photo to see enlarged images)

Click each snapshot to enlarge
Our Camp Site
Camp Site

Trap Dike Route
Trap Dike
Trap Dike Route-2nd Vertical Ice
2nd Vertical Ice
View on top of Mount Colden
"Ice Garden" View on top
Mount Marcy from Mount Colden
Marcy from Mount Colden

John by the boulder

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