I'm thinking about doing a winter climb of Mount Marcy with a friend or 2, since all of my previous Daks' plans have fallen through. Has anybody been up there recently? I'm looking for recommendations on trails for this time of year. I was thinking the John Brooks Trail or the Van Hoevenberg Trail, but I'm also curious about longer routes like the Haystack/Skylight/Marcy loop from Panther Gorge. Any recent conditions beta, too?
I was just there on Saturday 2/4. My buddy and I began at the Garden, hiked over Marcy, Skylight, and Gray, then walked out to Lake Colden and down to the ADK Loj. It was as busy on the peaks as I've ever seen it in winter, so the trails will all be very well broken out if you get there soon. I'm not sure about the route from Panther Gorge, though. We used snowshoes and microspikes.
Cool. Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I was assuming it would be busy considering how little snow we have this year. yeah, I think I will end up attempting the summit as a long day hike because I have to be back for classes and I can't kill an entire weekend. Is it possible to pull it off as a one-day trip if we get an alpine start? Current forecasts say the weather looks good Saturday (but with mountain weather, you never know, right?).
Yes, a one-day trip is possible. Something like six or seven miles each way by the most direct route (the Loj), if I recall correctly. (Minor additional detour added by damaged dam, if I remember the post-Irene news.)
It's only 7.4 miles and 3k' from the Loj, and about 9 from the Garden. With current trail conditions it's probably 6-7 hours round trip from the Loj if you just keep moving. You won't need snowshoes until you're almost 1/2 of the way there.
For a full day the Haystack/Skylight/Marcy loop would be excellent. Haystack is a way cooler peak than Marcy anyway, and it would be nice to not fight the crowds on the Van Hovenburg both ways.