We’d been discussing the “SP Northeast Gathering” in the Northeast Forum. I’d decided the planning overhead of camping at the Dam was too much for me. Additionally, things popped up and my schedule was crowded. So I daytripped it from Loj.
Some numbers. Winter camping at -4 ( -20C). 15 miles (24 km) car to car - all in snowshoes. 4000 feet (1220 M) vertical ascent. 50 mph (80km) sustained winds on the summit. Winter in the Northeast approximates high mountains without the altitude. Good training for bigger stuff.
I arrived late afternoon Saturday, a couple errands in Lake Placid and got a campsite at Loj for $15.00. I slept in my minivan. I slept really well. Wasn’t much else to do so I was sacked out at 7pm. They’d gotten a couple of feet of snow a couple of days before but they’d plowed the campsite. Turned out a group had reserved the entire Loj.
I needed this as a skills review. I haven't been climbing much. I managed water poorly. Ended up with three bottles in the sleeping bag. They started freezing again on the way up so I turned them upside down inside my coat. Ditched the other four in the car. One thermos started to freeze on the way down. Should've brought the big thermos with hot water. I also had issues with the snowshoes due to a last minute swapping of boots and had a small patch of frostbite on one thumb from adjusting them. Simply put – less than stellar planning.
Other than the water and minor frostbite, the cold and snow weren’t really an issue - once you own the High Altitude clothes and sleeping gear. The packed snow was nice and smooth. Unlike the rooty, rocky, fallen tree contour of trails in the Northeast in other seasons. So I made good time. One website shows 10.5 hours for this hike. I did it in 9.5. Could open the legs up and just walk. The crampons on my snowshoes prevented backsliding.
There were ice patches above the treeline that tempted me to put on my crampons. But time was a consideration as well as the possibility of frostbite switching everything out. The crampons on the snowshoes and the trekking poles got me by.
Everything went well, though I had some hotspots on my toes and dropped a level in running class a couple of days later. Summited at 1pm. Little time for photos, eating, drinking or hanging out on the summit. When I got down, the sky was darkening, I threw everything in the car and drove 5 1/2 hours straight to NYC still in my climbing outfit. Got back 11pm.
Anyway, a State Highpoint - my state - solo winter ascent - in the bag.
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