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Gothics True North Slide

 
Gothics True North Slide

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: New York, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.13288°N / 73.85714°W

Object Title: Gothics True North Slide

Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 7, 2009

Activities: Hiking

Season: Summer

 

Page By: MudRat

Created/Edited: Aug 18, 2009 / Aug 18, 2009

Object ID: 542379

Hits: 3918 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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Gothics True North Slide

This day marked day one of three consecutive slide hiking days, which would culminate by hiking Marcy’s East Face Slide from Panther Gorge. The day began at 1:05 p.m. at the Garden and I opted to take the South Side Trail to the Orebed Leanto. I’d never walked the length of this area to JBL before, but can’t imagine a better more peaceful path. It is moderate all the way and rather interesting in its proximity to a variety of pools and water flumes. The paralleling path to John’s Brook Lodge always seems long and rather boring to me…a way to get from one place to another and that is all. This had the opposite effect on my psyche or perhaps it was just the clear blue skies and 60 degree weather after so much rain lately.

I recognized Bennies Brook as I passed it and fought the urge to go up to the slide. I took this last year as a route up Lower Wolf Jaw via the slide. Soon after, I came to the various paths leading to JBL, UWJ, Short Job and others. I arrived at Orebed Leanto at 2:40 p.m., just a touch over an hour and one half after leaving the trailhead. Two sleeping bags were present from other hikers. I refueled myself and took my full pack just in case I didn’t make it back to the leanto in lieu of some other area to overnight. Ten minutes later at 3:00 p.m. found me at the drainage from True North Slide.

Several smaller streams cross the path between the leanto and the main drainage. The proper stream, however, is the largest and some fifteen feet in width with a “no camping” symbol on the opposite side. The path from the leanto also descends about ten feet in elevation via stone stairs to the water. I walked south southeast up the drainage which climbed only moderately. It was an easy rock-hop with no blow-down and came to a divergence a few minutes later. I took the right fork and quickly realized that I’d have to bushwhack into the woods and up the ridge if I wanted to catch the slide early. A hundred or so yards found me on the moss covered lower portions a few minutes later.

It began a with a width of about 100’. It was green and slippery at times on the lower portion even thought the grade was easy. Amazingly, until this point my feet were relatively mud free and totally dry. As I began hiking the slide, I depressed into the thick wet moss and felt the cold moisture wet my feet. I felt more “normal” with wet feet. I tried walking on the slab which is primarily covered with moss, but lost footing easily so I retreated to the thick green sphagnum. It offered the most sure-footed route up the mountain and lasted nearly the entire duration of the snaking slide. This experience was unique and comfortable on the feet though the steepness did increase with altitude. Gothics is not an easy mountain from any direction and my quadriceps burned with the effort.
The ledges on Armstrong drew my attention at various times. I mistook the lower ledges as Armstrong’s summit until realizing that I’d much farther to climb on the slide and the view didn’t quite make sense. The green sphagnum road led to various small ledges and to a unique view of Gothics’ false summit. Tall grasses and various pioneer trees grew in areas where sediment had collected. The reclamation process had begun. Bright sun illuminated large green bumps of moss at regular intervals as well. I kept the camera handy since the canvas was so diverse and rich both on the slide and surrounding mountainsides.

The slide dried considerably and became more “slabby” upon nearing the top. Blackflies joined in the climb as well as I neared the area where I knew a view off the west side might exist. The scenery was wonderful with views of lesser slides in the area as well as tomorrow’s objective on Saddleback which looked near vertical in some of my pics and had me slightly concerned until this point. The perspective from Gothics showed the slide to be flatter than I feared nearer to 40-45 degrees.

I stepped over near the edge when the trees west began to disappear. A few yards led me to a nice erratic from which to study the area of the West Face and its lower adjoining slide which crosses the Orebed Trail. It was steep…near 50 degrees with reverse ledges and plenty of moss. The 1000’ drop was awesome and a hangglider would have been a nice addition to my pack! It’s not something I’d consider climbing at my level of skill (and fear).

Continuing upward led to a bit more slab and loose sandy rubble before the final steep ledges appeared under hand. The wind had picked up to add a chill to the air so I put on my rain jacket as a buffer. Afterward, a careful climb up found me on the false summit in a sea of short spruce and finally blueberry bushes. I still needed to reach the summit proper, but that didn’t require genius level navigational skills or effort to attain. It was underfoot at 4:40 p.m.

I’d pushed fairly hard to reach this point since I wanted to get back to the leanto by dark and didn’t know the bushwhack would only take three and one half hours from the trailhead. The push had left my legs wobbly and my stomach aching for food. I tried to catch up with my food to pull me out of my slump while walking to the col between Gothics and Armstrong. Last year, I’d scouted a way to the top of a slide leading down from the col. I located the point along the path from where I’d bushwhacked over and pushed my way in and, after a few minutes, downward.

I still didn’t have enough sugar in my bloodstream, so my legs were wobbly along with my mind. The combination caused me to rush a bit. This haste caused me more effort since I missed the top of the slide and stumbled rather than walked. The added bushwhack was actually fairly open if not steep. I’d guess that it added an extra ten minutes’ ‘whack to the adventure before I finally slid down a steep embankment and onto the wet mossy edges of the slide.

The surrounding trees kept it well hidden and the moss thrived. It was slippery and treacherous at times. My route followed a combination of the drainage and the woods depending on the blow-down and/or mossy conditions especially after I lost footing, fell on my thigh and slid a dozen yards toward a pool below…nothing dangerous, just a wake-up call. I was descending quickly and my comfort level increased as I saw that I’d a couple hours of sunlight left. I tried to slow down and enjoy it a bit more. The moss never left the slide until I was nearly even with the lower ledges of Armstrong that I’d seen earlier from True North. Blow-down was constant, but not horrendous which was a stark contrast with TN since it was nearly bare of the annoyance.

This slide nearly parallels True North and I felt the mild turn as it lessened in grade and opened onto beautiful if not narrow slab. By now, I’d already taken my second fall and it was a bit worse…I fell forward onto my shoulder and tumbled a bit…I was all elbows and ***holes, though no worse for wear with “only a flesh wound” (Monty Python allusion) to show for it. Slab led to drainage which led to the convergence with the stream I’d followed up hours earlier. The bushwhack ended where it started at 5:58 p.m. on the Orebed Trail.

Orebed Leanto was occupied by two gentlemen (Mike and Graham). We spent a humorous evening before turning in about 9 p.m. The slight forward and western tilt of the leanto led to more humor during the night as well…
True North was a true and pleasant surprise as my expectations were fairly low based on various accounts I’d heard such as, “slimy” and “not really a slide”. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The views were wonderful, different and the moss was quite pleasurable underfoot. It was a less rugged route than any of the trails I’d taken from the Lake Road. If exposure is your thing, however, don’t look for it until the upper portions.

Armstrong Slide Descent


I’d pushed fairly hard to reach this point since I wanted to get back to the leanto by dark and didn’t know the bushwhack would only take three and one half hours from the trailhead. The push had left my legs wobbly and my stomach aching for food. I tried to catch up with my food to pull me out of my slump while walking to the col between Gothics and Armstrong. Last year, I’d scouted a way to the top of a slide leading down from the col. I located the point along the path from where I’d bushwhacked over and pushed my way in and, after a few minutes, downward.

I still didn’t have enough sugar in my bloodstream, so my legs were wobbly along with my mind. The combination caused me to rush a bit. This haste caused me more effort since I missed the top of the slide and stumbled rather than walked. The added bushwhack was actually fairly open if not steep. I’d guess that it added an extra ten minutes’ ‘whack to the adventure before I finally slid down a steep embankment and onto the wet mossy edges of the slide.

The surrounding trees kept it well hidden and the moss thrived. It was slippery and treacherous at times. My route followed a combination of the drainage and the woods depending on the blow-down and/or mossy conditions especially after I lost footing, fell on my thigh and slid a dozen yards toward a pool below…nothing dangerous, just a wake-up call. I was descending quickly and my comfort level increased as I saw that I’d a couple hours of sunlight left. I tried to slow down and enjoy it a bit more. The moss never left the slide until I was nearly even with the lower ledges of Armstrong that I’d seen earlier from True North. Blow-down was constant, but not horrendous which was a stark contrast with TN since it was nearly bare of the annoyance.

This slide nearly parallels True North and I felt the mild turn as it lessened in grade and opened onto beautiful if not narrow slab. By now, I’d already taken my second fall and it was a bit worse…I fell forward onto my shoulder and tumbled a bit…I was all elbows and ***holes, though no worse for wear with “only a flesh wound” (Monty Python allusion) to show for it. Slab led to drainage which led to the convergence with the stream I’d followed up hours earlier. The bushwhack ended where it started at 5:58 p.m. on the Orebed Trail.

Orebed Leanto was occupied by two gentlemen (Mike and Graham). We spent a humorous evening before turning in about 9 p.m. The slight forward and western tilt of the leanto led to more humor during the night as well…
True North was a true and pleasant surprise as my expectations were fairly low based on various accounts I’d heard such as, “slimy” and “not really a slide”. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The views were wonderful, different and the moss was quite pleasurable underfoot. It was a less rugged route than any of the trails I’d taken from the Lake Road. If exposure is your thing, however, don’t look for it until the upper portions.

Images

Gothics True North Slide ID Pic

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