Slide from Summit Bottom Slabs
Start at the Connery Pond trailhead and hike to Whiteface Landing. Another option would be to kayak or ski across Lake Placid to Whiteface Landing.
Continue up the Connery Pond Trail past the lean-to. You will soon be paralleling Whiteface Brook on your left, which is the slide drainage. When the trail starts to diverge from the brook, head into the woods.
For the easiest bushwhacking, stay up high on eastern (right) river bank/ridge, where the woods are relatively open by Adirondack standards.. After an approximate 1000-foot ascent, you should begin to see the start of the open slabs of the slide. This is your exit point.
If you go too far on the eastern bank, you will staring down a 100-foot cliff face into the drainage.
Boulder Field Middle Section Scree and Talus Headwall
If the slabs at the bottom of the slide are wet... well... they just suck. A slimy, greasy, slippery mess. You'll need to bushwhack along their edges through some pretty dense vegetation. If they're dry, count your blessings and ascend.
At the top of this slabby section, you'll reach a small boulder field. This is where the fun begins. Continue through the boulders onto another slabby section. This section is much dryer than down below, and the rock is not as polished.
You will soon reach the base of a section of the slide that contains numerous ledges and steps. Here you can make the ascent as hard or easy as you like. Although the summit appears close, you still have a good deal of climbing left.
At the top of this section is a scree and talus slope. Although scree and talus are typically not fun, it does help break up the monotony of the slabs.
After emerging from the scree, you'll once again be on steep slab. Again, there are plenty of opportunities for route selection. At the base of the headwall is a little more scree.
At the headwall, you have three options: left, center, or right. Both left and right appear to have good traverse options to the summit trail on top. Although the author did not choose these routes, they appeared to be no more than Class 3 scrambles. If you choose to go straight up, the climbing will be Class 4, but the rock is astoundingly good.
Of all the slides on Whiteface, this one is the easiest, save the bushwhack up the brook drainage. However, as with all slides, this is not for novices who lack basic bushwhacking and scrambling skills.
After squeezing through the railing extending along the trail above, it is an easy ascent to the summit. To descend from the summit, head down the eastern ridge. You'll soon reach a trail sign that shows the ORDA Trail heading to the left. Go right, down the trail to Connery Pond.
Essential and Recommended Gear
Summer: Hiking boots or approach shoes (trail runners) with good sole. Some may opt for rock shoes, especially if conditions are wet. You may want gaiters, pants, long-sleeve shirt, and eye protection for the bushwhack portions. A hiking partner would be most advisable.
Winter: Agressive snowshoes, 12-pt crampons, ice axe, avalanche safety gear
Visit the Whiteface Mountain webpage
for mountain conditions.
: Obviously, be aware of avalanche potential... this slide are here for a reason. The author has not ascended the slide in the winter, but it appears that it would be quite icy, due to the runoff observed during my September ascent, and the slide's southern aspect.
: Typical summer weather is hazy, hot, and humid. Due to the slide's southern aspect, be prepared to bake if you attempt it on a sunny afternoon. You can be assured that deerflies will mercilessly attack all intruders.
: Expect ice and snow to remain on the upper portions of the slide into May. Of all the slides on Whiteface, this is the one that may be the first to be clear of ice and snow. The slide area is likely to be a notorious blackfly breeding ground. Typical blackfly season is Memorial Day (late May) to Independence Day (early July).
: Expect ice and snow on the upper portions of the slide beginning in early October. Since the slide faces south, overnight frosts will likely melt by early afternoon.
The author ascended this slide on September 30, 2006. The bushwhack portion took me one hour to complete. The previous day's rain made the bottom portion of the slide slippery and trecherous. I ascended straight up the Class 4 section of the headwall. Although rime ice was present at treeline on the opposite side of the mountain (into the prevailing wind) and there was scattered ice on the summit trail, the slide itself was clear of ice. Being a nice Fall day, and the fact that Whiteface was celebrating Oktoberfest, there was a steady stream of people watching my ascent from the trail that connects the upper parking lot to the summit. Their amused and astounded comments kept funneling down to me, most of which made me chuckle.