Lucky 13 in height this peak offers perhaps one of the best views of any of the high peaks. Though not a bald summit by any means there is a smallish rock outcropping that overlooks Elk pass with an impressive view of Mt. Colvin and the rest of the great range. If one takes a little walk (10m) past the summit block and looks to the S one is treated to a spectacular close up view of Dix Mountain and its great slides which have greatly expanded since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Though not a bald summit it is a very steep one and when looking down to Elk pass below one gets the feeling that is it is much more than about 500hm below. Unfortunately Mt. Colvin, across the way looks, rather smallish as does Blake but one does gets a good impression of the great ridgeline they form.
Nippletop is well know to be one of the wetter 46s, The Elk Pass trail being basically a tramp though a vertical swamp and the Gill Brook trail is normally quite muddy as well the final section of the trail is just as steep as any good alpine climb gaining 500hm in less than 1km where it meets the trail from Dial but from here it is another 20m climb up and over the false summit into the saddle and then up again for 30m to the summit block.
The other trail to the top over Bear Den and Dial is much dryer but is a longer uphill slog. One is however, rewarded by the large opening caused by the fire on Noonmark in 1999. This is most likely the best spot to photograph the great range, as almost all of the major peaks are visible.
Hikers or climbers approaching any of the peaks that branch of the Lake Road should be aware of the parking restrictions in the area.
The designated hikers’ parking lot is just off rt. 73 opposite the parking lot for the Roaring Brook Trail. This spot is 3 mi. (5km)S of the High Peaks sign in Keen or 5.9 mi (9km) N of the junction of Rts. 9 nd 73. From here it is about .5 (.8km) of a mile hike W along the gravel road and past the golf course to the start of the Lake Road and the trialhead.
There is room for only 30 cars and on busy weekends it does fill early and there is no parking allowed anywhere else in the area except at designated sites.
The club checks the lot all the time and violaters are sure to be ticked and towed.
Please remember that for most of the approch to any of the peaks in this area is through the The Adirondack Mountain Reserve which is private land please see the red tape section for furter details.
Apart form the normal restrictions for the Adirondacks the following applies;
Adirondack Mountain Reserve despite its name is not public land but a private club on which we hikers and climbers enjoy the privileged to cross. Over the years these rights have come and gone but fortunately in 1978 the State of New York bought the high land surrounding the Club and with it got a permanent public easements for foot travel over some of the trails on AMR land. However, as our part of the deal while on or within 100m of ARM land the following rules apply
1) No camping, fishing or hunting
2) No off-trail travel including rock climbing or bushwhacking along the shores of the Lower Ausable Lake.
3) No boating or swimming, including portable boats brought by the public
4) NO DOGS or other pets are permitted
There is also no dropping off of hikers at the club all non club members must begin their trip at a designated hikers' parking lot.
Rumor has it there is a gate troll who is very rough on hikers. My suggestion is to approach with caution, bearing a highly salted snack treat to appease it.
As of June 30th, 2001 all parties regardless of size in the Eastern Zone (High Peaks) of the Park must fill in and possess a self-issuing "trip ticket," which may be obtained at the trailhead. People have been fined and turned around for not having one and at the more popular trailheads the Ranger on duty will not let you pass without one. This can cause some delays in getting onto the trail.
When To Climb
Anytime of year is good though the late summer is the dryest and most comfortable time of year to do the trip. In spring and early summer the trails are usually quite wet.
In winter the approach from Dix is a popular X-country ski route as it offers a more moderate grade and some good ups and downs. Most skiers ditch thier skies at the saddle of Nippletop and opt to hike up the last steep section.
In winter the approach from Elk Pass is usually very icy and decending it is not for the faint of heart or the poor skier so most people will return via the Dix trail.
Apart form the restriction in the red tape section the general camping rules are the same as for all Adirondack mountians.
1) No Camping above 4,000 feet
2) No camping withing 150 feet of a stream or other water source except at a designated campsite.
3) No soap or washing withing 150 feet of water
4) Pack it in Pack it out is the rule for garbage
5) Only dead and down wood can be used for fires and set in a proper fire pit. ( local etiquette is to use a stove and not a fire)
Getting its name for its obvious anatomical resemblance to a part of the female body the peak has gone through numerous name changes over the years. The more suitable name “Dial” was applied to this mountain a number of times by the more fastidious tourists and writers the most notable of these being Prof. Emmons.
I have seen a mid 19th century diary of a young lady who wrote "climbed N……top with the delightful Mr. Phelps". The funny part came later when she reported back to her farther. When he inquired to why there were letters missing he was informed by, I am sure, his blushing daughter what the blanks stood for he was horrified. He wrote a very strongly worded letters to Mr Phelps, the Mayor of Keen the Governor and many others on how the dignity of his young daughter was destroyed forever and how this peak should be renamed to save others from such a fate.
Thankfully Old Mountain Phelps kept to his guns the name and Dial was transferred to a lower peak just to the North.
This peak has yet another life as a bastion of frat house pranks. The local secular college boys have, over the years, constructed a number of large strategically placed cairns to enhance the beauty of nature. Not to be outdone, the boys from the very pious local bible collage have had an equally long standing tradition of returning nature back to its proper form.