Looking for some more scrambling action than our Great Range mini-traverse (Basin->UWJ), we set our sights on the Trap Dike. Leaving PA at 5:45am on Saturday Aug 21, 2010, we arrived at the Mountaineer at 10:15 for supplies. We had to drive back up to the Old Truck Road from the Loj because Loj parking was full, so we ended up leaving the car at 11:15 and were setting up camp 12:30. Despite the cars in the parking lot, there were two lean-tos open and we used our tents as pillows.
We headed for Avalanche pass at 1:30, following a maze of herd paths around the south side of Marcy Dam to hook up with the main trail. That took us to the base of the Dike, where we filled up and started climbing.
The first waterfall was great fun, the second and crux was even better - some real exposure, although 4th class might be pushing it a bit, as it's a very short climb with excellent footing. Look how happy this guy is - climb the Dike, feel the joy!
Above that we kept scrambling until the vertical right-side wall of the dike fell back to steep slab. Around 3600' we saw a few signs of travel up the right side, so we exited onto very steep but short slab sections and some brush, popping out onto the main slide shortly after.
This was very grippy and mostly low-angle, being 2-class slide hiking for the most part, with only a few places where hands were used.
The Great Range looked awesome from the top:
After checking out the summit views, we headed left onto the trail towards Lake Arnold. A well-packed herd path led 15 feet into the brush to a small clearing with a cairn. I checked out several other herd paths which all also seemed to dead-end, so we took the one with the cairn, although either the trail fades out or we missed it, as we full-on-bushwhacked our way to the top of the slide for about 10 minutes. It was downhill and slightly left form where we entered the bush at the cairn. We reached a small ledge and walked off it to the left, which dumped us onto some sort of path and/or stream and onto the slide.
This slide is much steeper than the other side of Colden, with some 4th classing at the top if you head directly down. Staying in the bush along the edge would provide some security but slow progress. We down-climbed with hands, although mostly face-out, for a couple hundred vertical feet. From there it eased off a bit and was nice 2nd and 3rd class down-scrambling to a creekbed. The views back up at the slide were great.
The creekbed ended in blowdown, and we whacked through to another stream, which we took left, upstream. This brought us to the trail back to Lake Arnold after 100 feet or so, and 3 hours of hiking had us back at the Dam.
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