Running Around Cleveland

A Weekend In The Clouds: Climbing Mountains in the Adirondacks

This weekend I got to take up one of my favorite hobbies, mountain climbing. Being from Ohio, finding quality mountains to climb takes a long drive. So with some of my guy friends, we took a 10 hour drive to Lake Placid, New York to climb some mountains in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks.

View from my campground at the Adirondack Loj.

Our first stop was to set up camp at the Adirondack Loj.

My sleeping quaters at base camp.

After setting up camp, we made our way to ritual last civilized meal at Tail O’ the Pup in Saranac Lake, New York.

Lobster, Clams, Ribs & Brisket. How can you go wrong?

It’s a fantastic all outdoor Clam Bake and BBQ restaurant.

Half rack of ribs and fried pickles. Nomnom.

At dinner, some of us came up with a rather aggressive plane to climb the 1st & 4th tallest peaks in the chain plus two others. To make this plan work, I was going to have leave my hiking boots at camp and use my trail running shoes. Yes, trail running shoes on a mountain climb, I must be a little crazy. After sometime visiting friends that I only see once year around the campfire, I headed to my tent for some sleep. The weather was perfect and I slept great.

The weather was looking great in the morning so we set our four peak plan into motion by running the 1st 3 miles of the climb.

The trail starts crossing a swamp. That's right there are swamps in the mountains.

The trails in the Adirondacks vary widely, even on the same trail. You can have your traditional dirt paths, stream beds, rocky trails, boardwalks to protect the flora, or out right rock climbing. The trail to Mount Marcy, the tallest peak, does not disappoint.

Some rocky trail across a stream.

Those high peaks behind the clouds, that's where I am going.

I love crossing the streams on these trips.

This rocky trail is where we finally had to give up on trail running.

At this point we were several miles into the climb of Mount Marcy. On a typical climb you would be able to look up and see where you are going, but those clouds we saw down below weren’t leaving.

Where's the peak?

Even with the low visibility we kept on going and started the real ascent in the climb.

No more trail running, time to start climbing.

Rock scrambling is fun.

With an intense .6 mile final ascent left, we encountered a ranger. The ranger gave us a warning to get on and off the peak quickly as a thunderstorm was due in very soon. Being on the highest point in the state of New York and being several hundred feet above the tree line, the top of Marcy is a very dangerous place to be during lightning. From the time estimate, we figured there was an hour till anything arrived, just enough time to make the rough final ascent and go down the other side.

Rocks we had to climb to the false peak of Marcy. Those clouds are getting heavy.

Look who's almost to the top.

Marcy conquered! 5344 feet. Does this make me a member of the Mile High Club?

Where’s the view? The clouds were so intense at the top, that we got lost trying to come down the opposite side of rock face. We also found out, after we got down, that the side we rushed down carelessly to avoid lightning was a 1500′ cliff that we couldn’t even see.

We made it down the back side of Marcy to take a break in the treeline and wait out this lightning. We ate a quick meal but no storm came so we headed up for peak number 2, Mount Skylight, 4th tallest in the Adirondacks.

Mount Skylight is mine, 4926 feet. 2 peaks bagged. Legenend says that if you don't bring a rock from the bottom of Skylight and place on this pile, the weather will get bad. I should have brought a rock.

The clouds had increased and we actually got lost walking on the rock of Mount Skylight too. But the thunderstorm had not come yet.

Our initial plan was to climb back over Marcy a 2nd time to reach the two lower peaks. But with the chance of storms still out there, we made a change in our plans and headed about halfway down the mountain to avoid the peak. This route added about 2.5 miles and some additional descending and ascending, but we felt it was safest with the warning we received from the ranger. This also gave us a chance to see some different scenery and trails.

Our view as we sat on a bridge to eat lunch.

A unique mile or so of trail that reduce impact on the environment.

The standard bridge in the Adirondacks, however most crossings don't have bridges.

It took a couple hours to get back to our 3rd mountain’s trail. But wouldn’t you know it, about a half mile from that trail, the storm we had been expecting all day finally came. We had to turn back from peaks 3 and 4. Overall a very successful day of peak bagging. The highest and 4th highest are now checked off my list in a single 17 mile day. And you can’t compete with the beauty of nature.

Have you ever climbed a mountain? Is climbing a mountain on your bucket list?

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love it! I’ve gone camping in the Adirondacks and climbed (er…scrambled up) Mount Dix (Dicks? I don’t know how it’s spelled) several times. What an amazing place to camp/climb/canoe/etc.

Comment by Becca

It’s fantastic up there. I’ve bagged 6 of the Adirondack High Peaks so far, but Dix is still on my to do list.

Comment by Justin

I never have climbed a mountain but I have done quite the opposite when I went snowboarding in the Rockies this past January. I will never forget being literally in the clouds and barely being able to see. Also the sense of accomplishment for me was at the bottom knowing I made it diwn all in one piece 🙂

Comment by Steph

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