New Years Eve on Wright Peak

Page Type
Trip Report
New York, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Dec 31, 2013
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Created On: Jan 2, 2014
Last Edited On: Jan 2, 2014

The Plan

I spent several days while on Christmas vacation planning a very ambitious 2-day loop hike on New Years Eve and New Years Day 2014 that would hit Phelps, Tabletop, Colden, and the MacIntyre Range. My hiking partner and I were going to camp at one of the lean-tos around Lake Colden. However, as the date got closer the weather forecast got colder and colder. The day before our hike, the forecast for the night of the 31st had low temperatures in the teens below zero, and wind chills in the negative 30s. We both had Army-issue cold weather sleeping bag systems rated down to -40, but neither of us had any desire to get that close to the rated capacity. So I decided to split the hike up and we decided to do Wright, Algonquin, and Iroquois on the 31st as a day hike.

The Hike

Unfortunately I wasn't able to acquire a pair of microspikes before the trip. (EMS was out of stock in my size) So, I lent my pair of strap-on trail crampons to my hiking partner, and I had to wear my Asolo plastic mountaineering boots so I could use my crampons if necessary. The trail conditions were sadly perfect for microspikes - a thin dusting of snow over a solid inch or two of ice on the trail. So, I slipped and slid for about 2 miles rather than walk my full-size crampons over all the many rocks on the approach trail.

Trail Conditions

Finally though we started hitting steep sections of ice and deeper snow as we neared the junction where the trail splits between Wright Peak and Algonquin. So I put on my crampons and we continued on.

Waterfall Ice

We took the trail up to Wright Peak. Near the summit we left the treeline and came out onto the rocky area near the peak. The rocks were very slippery and our crampons were no help. It was extremely windy and cold on the summit. After coming back down to the trail junction, my partner and I decided not to move on to Algonquin. We knew that a large portion of the summit is above the treeline, and we were so cold and tired that we did not feel like spending more time in the wind chills that were probably around -30 to -40. We decided to come back another day that was a little warmer and with microspikes.



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New Years Eve on Wright Peak

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