Length Of Traverse: 13+ miles
Length of Time Needed: Approx. 12 Hours
Minimimum Ft. Elevation Max. Ft. Elevation Change Ft. Length
Trap Dike 2863 3700+ - 830 .25 mile
Great Slide 3700+ - 4714 1000 .30 mile
S.E. 90s Slide: 3380ish 4560 1220 .75 mile
Do not attempt this in wet weather or early spring as the trap dike has some precarious and slippery areas. The Great Slide and 90's Slide are both very rough rock offering good traction. Most of the duration of this hike involves the 5+ mile journey in to the Trap Dike and out from the 90's Slide drainage.
Follow Route 73 to Adirondack Loj Road. Park at either South Meadows or ADK Loj off Adirondack Loj Road. ADK Loj involves a parking fee.
Hike from Loj or South Meadows to Marcy Dam. Proceed from Marcy Dam along Marcy Brook to Avalanche Lake according to the well marked trails. Boulder hop the trail south along Avalanche Lake to it's south end and follow any one of the herd paths north along the east side of the lake.
Follow the trap dike up the various steps being careful to stay on the dry stone if possible. The crux is the last major climb in the dike and has several possible climbs up though the left side closest to the wall is, perhaps, the best if the waterfall is not flowing. Otherwise there is a chute slightly to the right. At the top of the chute, there are a couple choices, both of which are precarious in my book.
After the crux, follow in the dike until roughly 3700 ft. (by my gps). There are several routes to the main slide. Do not exit immediately after the crux because the Great Slide is very steep. At approx. 3700 ft. I found a herdpath marked by a small cairn which took less than 5 minutes to traverse until my feet touched slab rock. Carefully follow the slide up the next 1000 vertical feet aiming for the balancing rock near Colden's summit.
At the summit follow the trail north (past the summit herdpath). As you begin to descend, you may notice a very faint herdpath to the right marking the way to the S.E. 90's slide. If you find yourself squeezing between the two big boulders, you've gone too far. Follow the herdpath for 100 or so feet. You'll come to a small cliff scramble and the headwall of the northern most slide of the east side of Colden. The headwall is very steep but very grippy.
Follow the slide down angling southeast to intersect the main slide. Several steep sections will follow with the final one breaking the 45 degree mark. After this, the slide turns to mainly rubble and smaller sections of slab. In the drainage at the bottom after approx. .75 mile a small cairn marks the short bushwhack to the trail leading to Lake Arnold (N) or Uphill Leanto (S). Choose the path north and follow to Lake Arnold and back to Marcy Dam and finally the Loj or South Meadows.
Soft soled hiking shoes or rock shoes.
Rope as a safety precaution. Most people classify the Trap Dike as a class 4 climb.
Bring a camera since this is a breathtaking route throughout.
Water or filter. Water is plentiful both sides of Colden at multiple points.
External Links Trip Report of the Trap Dike - S.E. 90's Slide Traverse