We plan to summit Giant (via the Ridge Trail) as a day hike on Saturday, June 1, 2002. I plan to add an in-depth route description, in addition to current trail conditions. Despite being "Black fly" season, we decided to go ahead and make the trek as part of a four-day trip to the area that will condition us for an early July pack-in to the Great Range that will cover 8 High Peaks (more on that later) in 4 days. It's likely (depending on how we feel) that we will traverse over to Rocky Peak Ridge and bag that summit as well.
Expected weather forecast: partly sunny, highs in the low 60’s with windy conditions present. We expect wind gusts of up to 50-55 MPH on the summit. Forecast as of 5/30/02.
Tim Dubois (mavs0), age: 35
Avid Adirondack Hiker with over 20 Adirondack summits to his credit
Katie Dubois, Age: 35
Tim's wife, Avid hiker with several high peak summits to her credit. Just finished rehabing off total knee replacement surgury that kept her out of climbing for over one year.
Dan Dubois, Age 37
First Adirondack High Peak attempt, but has hiked in Arcadia N.P (Maine).
Nick Dubois, Age 11 Tim & Katie's son. Solid Hiker with over 10 summits to credit (4 High Peaks). Has set a personal goal to become a 46er by the age of 15. Loves to scramble up bare rock slabs.
Ashley Dubois, Age 9
Tim & Katie's daughter. Swears she only enjoys hiking as a family activity, but is probably is the best natural hiker in the group. Has over 8 summits to her credit and she summited her first 4000'er at age 6. More endurence than you could imagine a 9 y/o to have. Shows promise as a rock climber (hasn't yet met a wall she can't master)
The Hike6/1/02, 8:30 AM - Arrived at the trailhead (directly across from Chapel Pond) for the Ridge Trail. Conditions were mostly sunny, with some high haze and about 70 degrees.
Entering into the woodline, we signed in and moved out. The first .5 miles is a nice stroll through a "typical adirondack forrest" and accends nicely up about 500 ft via some well designed switchbacks. At .5 miles we reached a nice lookout out that looks down to the trailhead area and Chapel Pond. From there, we moved forward to "Giant's Washbowl" at .7 mile. The washbowl is a small mountain pond that collects run-off from the mountain, very scenic.
From that point at .7 miles to 1.6 miles, the trail moves steeply up to the first "false" summit. This summit is the actual start of the summit ridge. The real views of this hike start there. The next 1.2 miles moves along this rather long summit ridge with the trail alternating between steeper and moderate sections. Views are fairly steady as you move into and out of the wooded areas. Starting at about 2.6 miles you begin to see (through the trees) the impressive west face (with it's recognizable slides) of Giant.
At 2.8 miles, a trail splits to the left that traverses over to the adjacent high-peak (ROCKY PEAK RIDGE). We continued strait ahead and ambled up to the summit. The summit was crowded (10-15 others) so we only spent about 20 minutes there. Wind were pretty steady at 35-45 MPH. The view, which were slightly obscured by the haze were expansive.
Side trip to Rocky Peak RidgeWe returned to the junction with (Rocky Peak traverse), and Tim, Dan and 9 y/o Ashley were feeling pretty good, so we decided to "grab to next peak".
You descend quite steeply (800') off Giant and into the col between the two. The col is short, quiet and nice. All to soon, we began the 600' ascent up to the summit of Rocky Peak Ridge. Once there, we were greeted with 50 MPH wind (with gusts to 70 MPH) over the very exposed large summit area. We were the only ones there, so after adding to the impressive cairn on the summit, we took a few photos, enjoyed to impressive views and began the taxing route back over to Giant.
Once we reached the junction on Giant descend to the first false summit and met back up with Katie and Nick, and then returned to the car. No bugs at all, which was a pleasant surprise.
SummeryThe Ridge Trail to Giant Summit: 3 miles (3050' ascent)3 hours
Round trip traverse to Rocky Peak Ridge: 2.6 miles (1400' ascent) 2 hours
Total trip: 8.6 miles (4650' ascent) 8 hours.
And, as I figured, Ashley (who turned 9 on May 13), was the best hiker in the group. She was the trail leader the whole way and was the least fatiqued at the end of the day. In fact, as I was gingerly pulling my boots off at the end of the trip, she actually said "That was fun Dad, but can we do a bigger mountain next time". I threw my boot at her, but in my weakened state, missed her by a mile.