Adirondack winter backpacking (Skylight & Marshall)

Adirondack winter backpacking (Skylight & Marshall)

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 44.09972°N / 73.93092°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 7, 2013
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Fall

Adirondack backpacking weekend (Skylight & Marshall)

Picked up Shaughn at work at 3pm and immediately headed towards my most common hiking spot, New York's Adirondacks. We met the others at the cloudsplitter outfitters in Newcomb where we spent the night. The weather for the weekend was promising, mid 20's with a mix of sun and clouds, nothing to complain about. Woke up, had a big breakfast and hit the Upperworks trailhead at 6h30 under the light of our headlamp and the reflecting moonlight off the snow. Just flat ground walking for about an hour and a half heading towards the centre off the high peaks region until we came up to David Henderson's monument where we took a break for about 10 minutes ( just enough time to cool off). Our break over, we slapped on the packs and kept following the Calamity brook on way to our lean-to. Once we got up to the lake that feeds the Calamity brook, we took a left towards the trailhead to mount Marshall. We decided to set up at the Nos. 1 lean-to which ended up being just at the back of the trailhead to Marshall. Grant and Pat opted for the lean-to while Shaughn, Mike and I used Shaughn's tent which we had to set up about 300 feet down the trail to in a designated camping area. Once our camp was set up, we shed the extra weight off our packs and made our way towards Uphill lean-to. Shaughn and I planned to hike up Skylight while Pat, Grant and Mike decided to work on some 46ers and planned to go up Cliff and Redfield. Our two man group went ahead and actually made pretty good time getting up to lake tear of the clouds (I figured that but in reality, neither Shaughn or I had a watch or any sense of time do to the over cast). We sat down at lake tear for 5 minutes to have a snack and headed straight for the summit of Skylight. I was just starting to get warm again when got up over the trees and was the wind ever blowing. I kind of regret not bringing any kind of face protection but if I walked with my back to the wind, my face would slowly warm up. We took a picture and jolted to cover back in the trees.

View from lake tear with Marcy in Background
Marcy from Lake Tear of the clouds

Skylight summit
Skylight summit (my left eye had just been hit by a strap from my pack)

Once Shaughn and I got ourselves back to the junction, we still didn't know what time it was but we decided to up Marcy to add a bit more challenge to our day. The way up Marcy was super icy and Shaughn put on his crampons while I stuck with my microspikes (not the best idea I ever had). It took me all the concentration that I had to get to the summit and that was only half the battle. The way down wasn't much better but we made it back down to the junction safely and decided to have a quick break. Once we got going again, we ran in to some folks and asked for the time, it was only 2 o'clock at that point and we didn't want to head back to camp and do nothing and freeze. We slowed down the pace but we ended up still getting to our tent at 3:30...too late now to try an other mountain, we only had about an hour left of sunlight. We waited around camp for about 45 minutes before our three other friends finally came back from their hike. After we had dinner, we sat around and chatted for a bit before heading to our tents to sleep at 7h00.

View from lean-to
View from our lean-to

At 6am, we were up, had breakfast, packed up camp and left for the top of Marshall. The trail head was right behind our lean-to, so we left the useless stuff in the lean-to to minimise weight and made our way up the trail. At first, the trail is pretty straight forward to follow. However, at one point along the brook, the trail seams to take a left when in reality, you must keep following the brook almost all the way up. Obviously, we went up the left side of the brook and had to bushwack back down to the real trailhead. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to reach the summit of Marshall, where we took a break and snapped a few photos. The summit of Marshall doesn't offer a great view but once in a while you will find yourself above the tree line and will get a few picture worthy gimps of Iroquois. Once we got going again, we made great time back down to our lean-to only crossing paths with one other group which had done the same thing we did and went up the left side of the brook only to have to follow our bushwacking trail back down to the real trail. Once back at the lean-to, we had a quick lunch, pack our other belongings and started the walk back to the cars.

Iroquois from Marshall
View of Iroquois from Marshall trail

Shaughn and I went ahead a made good time getting back at the car at 1h30. We warmed up the car and got into comfortable clothing and waited for the three other fellows to pop their heads. they reached us at around 2:15 and that's when we left on our way back home. All and all a great weekend spent with great people in the great out doors.


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Mount SkylightTrip Reports
Mount MarshallTrip Reports