Bennies Brook Slide, also known as Bennies Root Canal, is a relative easy slide located on the slopes of Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain. Itis in the shape of a 'Y' with the right side of the 'Y' offering the easiest access to the trail from Keene Valley and the summit of Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain. It requires a short approach and once a trail is established an easy bushwack through open woods to find the base of the slide. It is a low angle slide in its lower section (aprox. 13-18 degrees) and steer up top (aprox. 24-28 degrees) so there is a potential for avalanche danger when the conditions are right.
This slide is quite long. Most people say it is about a mile long and it gains about 1,100 feet from top to bottom.
Because of the steepness of the slide, short approach, short bushwack and low elevation of this slide it can make for a good "first" slide, when compared to True North on Gothics
or Colden's Trap Dike
Start for the Garden Trailhead. Take the Johns Brook trail for 0.5 miles till the South Side trail turns left. The trail then makes a steep decent to Johns Brook. Depending on snow depth you may or may not want to take off your skis to decent to the brook. I didn't but it was a sketchy decent and fell a few time. Turns were tough with skins. After the short decent you'll reach Johns Brook. If the is a snow bridge that looks solid, take it. There is no bridge across the stream, so if there is no good snow bridge, you'll have to take the skis off and find one.
Once your across the stream its an easy up hill tour on an old woods road. About 2 miles there is a split in the trail, usually skiers take the trail to the left. This trail goes steeply uphill for a short distance to avoid a washout that is tough for skiers. I took the left trail simply because the steep uphill and the resulting decent provided a break form the boring touring. After you descend from the short up hill section, the trails merge back together. Bennie's Brook is the next major drainage that is reached. late in the season there should be an obvious trail that goes uphill (left) the stream. ( If you reach a drainage with a bridge over it, you've gone to far. Turn around and go back to the next major drainage.) The ski trail up to the slide is on the climbers left of the stream.
The bushwack has some steep parts in the beginning and gets easier as you approach the slide. I'm not sure how long the bushwack to the slide is but once i started to become bored with the bushwacking, i was on the lower part of the slide.The lower part is windy and twisty. After a few twists the slide reviles its self up to the part to where it splits.
The route is straight forward got up the slide. When i was there the established trail was on the climbers right side. There are a few section where fallen trees have blocked the slide, so remember these spots so you don't fly into them on the decent.
If your goal is the summit, the right side will offer easier access to the summit. If your goal is skiing the go as high as you want / as conditions allow. For your decent point your tips downhill and enjoy the ride. once at the bottom of the slide either follow your tracks back to the south side trail or do some glade skiing until you intersect the trail.
Back To The Car
For going back to your car, you have two options. The first is to take the South Side Trail back the way you came.
You can put the skins back on and continue up hill on the South Side Trail.Go towards the DEC's Interior outpost and cross the "closed" suspension bridge. (This bridge is closed but from i have been toled it is frequently used by skiers a the best way to cross Johns Brook. It save about a half a mile) Leave the skins on pass the Interior Outpost and make a right at the intersection with the Johns Brook Trail (North Side Trail) from the Garden. After you reach the top of the uphil section after the Interior Outpost you can take off the skins and enjoy the ride down hill. There are a few uphill section where i had to take off my skis but they were short enough to not waste the time to put on skins (Kick wax could come in handy here) Watch out for stream crossings the come with out warning and some don't have bridges wide enough to ski or no bridges at all. ( I took a nasty face plant when i realized to late that the was no bridge across a stream and had to try and jump it) Just remember to warn hikers on the trail when you are coming up behind them.
Skis, Snowboard, Splitboard
Crampons (if the upper section are icy)
Avy gear: probe, shovel beacon
Snow testing gear
Enough water for 6-7 hours
Clothing based on weather conditions
External LinksA summer trip report
, where i got most of my information
For a further explanation of the D-system rating system, check out Lou Dawson's website