My regular two partners being out of commission for the weekend, I had to find someone who was willing to come freeze his a** off with me in the Adirondacks. Working on my 46ers, Iroquois was the only one left on the Macintyre range I hadn't done and it's not a long hike so even if the candidate is a little slower, we can still make it out in reasonable time. So I finally found my wife's cousin to come along, I know he's in good shape and I won't have to wait for him too much. We booked a 45$ motel in Lake Placid and headed down on Friday night. We decided on the way to try to get a glimpse of the sunrise on top of Algonquin so we got our back packs sorted out and hit the pillow at 9. 3 AM came along pretty quickly but we didn't have a hard time getting up. We had breakfast and drove down to the Loj where the parking lot was deserted (first time I got the closest parking spot to the trail head).
We finally hit the trail under the dime light of our head lamps at 4 am. We followed the trail towards Marcy dam until we hit the first junction and then took a right following the yellow trail markers towards the Macintyre range. At our first break, we put on our micro spikes to make it easier to travel on the mix of thin ice and snow that was covering the trail. A few time alone the route, I turned around out of habit to get a view but obvious I didn't see much other then the city lights of Lake Placid which was pretty fun to see. At around 6, we got to the junction to Wright and Algonquin when I realized the sky was getting brighter. I feared we weren't going to make it in time for the sunrise so I picked up the pace a little bit and Dave (partner) managed to keep up. As soon as we got out of the trees, we were hit which strong winds. That combined with the sub-freezing temperatures made it cold fast (mountain forecast.com called for a wind chill of 0 degrees F for the summit of Algonquin). We hurried up to put on some extra layers before continuing towards the summit to try to get there before the sun broke the horizon. At this point, the sky was bright enough that we turned off our lamps, and in my mind it was just a matter of time before the sun came up. Thanks to the mountains which were high enough to block the sun for a while, we get to the summit with just a few minutes to spare. It was too cold to stick around and do nothing before the sun came up so we took a few pictures at the summit and bolted for the trees. At the tree line we sat down to warm up and take a break just in time for the sun to come up just beside Marcy. For future hikers on this trail, on your descent towards Boundary, just before you hit the trees, there's a cairn and a "<---trail---" sign. If you want to go to Iroquois, go right at the sign, if you want to go back down towards lake Colden and Avalanche lake, follow the sign and go down. I initially went left and after ten minutes of going downhill, I realized that something wasn't right. I looked at the map and realized I had made a wrong turn. D'oh! We went back up to the cairn and we were on our way to Iroquois.
The way to Iroquois (once you hit the right trail) is pretty straight forward and you should be on top of Iroquois within 30-45 minutes. Now that the sun had come up, we started warming up and I decided to take my time a take a few pictures (see images below). We headed back over Boundary peak and then took a right to go down to the lake (where I had turned earlier). Good thing we had our micro spikes. The ascent to Algonquin and Iroquois could have been done with full on crampons it was so icy. But micro spikes got the work done even though some spots were a little iffy. We made our way to Avalanche lake where we started to run into a few people. After taking our time, taking a few breaks and talking to some folks, we finally arrived at Marcy dam. Lots of people were there taking pictures and relaxing... we just made our way past everyone on our way to the parking lot. At 12h30, we hit the parking lots, warmed up the car, got changed and headed to Lake Placid for lunch. An other successful weekend hike in the Adirondacks and an other 46er off the list. Already can't wait to be back at the end of November.