My hiking partner and I ventured up to the Adirondacks on our college fall break this October 6-10th to escape the flats of Ohio and hike as much as we can take in four days. The days before our slide hike, we hiked Hunter Mountain via Becker Hollow down in the Catskills, and then, Marcy the next day, followed by Wright/ Algonquin combo, and were now looking to cap the trip off with our first slide/ bushwhack hike up Brook Slide to summit Whiteface.
We arrived at the trailhead at around 8:30AM with pretty sore feet and legs from the days of hiking before but knew that we were in for an experience and but that behind us and headed off. For some reason the road up to the trail head was closed so we had to start right from 86 making the hike a little longer but nothing to bad. Be sure to look out over Connery Pond and check out the views of Whiteface, it looks very impressive. The trail is very flat for the first couple miles all the way up to the lean-to and even after that it is a pretty gradual slope. As we continued to hike we kept close attention to when we thought we should get off the trail and venture into the woods for a little bushwhacking. Once we felt that the trail was turning away from the brook we moved in for what was quoted to be around an hour of bushwhacking. As we hiked we managed to find what we thought were slight tracks from other hikers, but we would lose them periodically but it was no big deal. We continued to stay high up on the eastern bank/ridge and it wasn’t too tough. After about one hour, just like quoted, we moved out of the woods and were standing right at the base of the slide.
As we stood there looking up this slide we immediately noticed that the slide was wet. We were warned that if these bottom slabs are wet they are going to be hell, and sure enough they were. We would periodically dive into the thick pine trees on the side of the slide when we would reach sections that we felt were to slick/steep. One of out main problems with the bottom slabs were when you did find a dry section, the rock was to smooth and we couldn’t find any handholds and our shoes weren’t providing us enough traction alone to confidently move forward. During these sections I would just go off plowing through very thick pine forest along the sides and pop out a little ways up and carry on. The bottom section I felt was the hardest, it is steep, wet, covered in that black slime that makes for a very slick surface. Once we moved on past the bottom slabs we reached the small boulder field, which was a welcomed sign. We stopped here and ate a snack and enjoyed the clear views out over Lake Placid and looked down at what we had just hiked and up at what we still had left. From this point on the hike became a lot of fun, a lot of work but fun. The slide began to dry up and it was rockier providing for better traction. There were still sections where the rock would lip out down the slide and don’t get me wrong it was still steep and if you were to fall when going over these ledges you would be in a world of hurt. Once we got over ¾ the way up the slide we were in clear sight of the summit we took one last break and then make one last push from the top. As we proceeded to race (not a good idea) each other to get out I hit a personal wall where my legs went to jello but with the support of my partner I made it to another wall, the headwall. I then rested up against the wall for a minute and climbed out on the right side which wasn’t to tough, my friend went right up the center and he said that it was a pretty good climb. From here we walked up to the summit among the crowed of people who drove up to the summit and enjoyed the clear views from the summit of a mountain for one last time.
[ We ate lunch and got a few complements from people who saw us coming up the slide which made us feel good and headed down. The trail down was marked terribly; we soon found the trail and managed to stay on course.
Overall the hike was an incredible experience and would love to go back and do it again, or I should say I plan on going back and doing another slide hike in the future. This hike was just what we needed, something new and kind of crazy. It also offered a relief from the crowed trails that we were hiking on the days prior. Personal thanks to walkswithblackfies for the info on the hike, helped out a great deal.