With the melting of snow already fallen, most of the Van Hovenberg turned into a stream yesterday. Not having enough time to get to Marcy, and the weather requiring crampons above 4,000 feet, I bagged the idea of doing Marcy and went for Phelps, which was treacherous at best. The trail was almost entirely under water, most stream-like, with lots of leaf-fall about and sonw, which made things slippery, especially on the descent. Even with my Annapurnas, it made things very difficult coming down. Trail markings I found so-so, and my saving grace was the ability to trace my footprints I left going up. In a couple of spots gong down, I found I had to self-belay with my rope because I was very concerned about slipping down the trail onto the rocks.
The trail is good pracitice in bouldering technique, and is hard in the weather conditions yesterday, especially with pack in tow. Lots of crags to assist in grabbing onto, but also some sheer face that requires scrambling, and I wouldn't attempt again without a helmet and some other technical gear, if planned for this weather.
Otherwise, easy to find and certainly a great workout for what I guess is a normal October day.
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