Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 28 - September 3, 2017 - Trap Dike

Monday: 6.1 miles, 437', 8:47 pace. Easy lap of the Ghetto Blaster Scrambling Circuit. Mind the broken glass.

Tuesday: 6.7 miles, 528', 9:11 pace. Sluggish lunch run on GBSC.

Wednesday: 6.9 miles, 377', 7:32 pace. Lunch run on Manchester roads and sidewalks catching up with an old friend. Got dragged along a little faster than I've been running lately. This pace used to be easy. Didn't feel to bad once I settled into it.

Thursday: Zero.

Friday: 19 miles, 7021', 7h18m elapsed. I somewhat impulsively requested the day off with only 24 hours notice to take advantage of cool, dry weather and made a day trip to the Adirondacks. Another 2am wake up, 4 hour drive, run/hike, and drive home. Carpe diem, or something. This was only my second trip to the 'Daks, the last being a Great Range Traverse in 2015, and I put together a linkup of peaks in the MacIntyre Range, plus Mount Colden via the Trap Dike for good measure.

Parking at the Loj, I encountered blustery, foggy weather with rime ice on the trees on Mounts Wright, Algonquin, and Iroquois. I had to pull out my long sleeve shirt and windshell to keep warm, but had only shorts for my legs, which was comfortable enough. My hat and gloves stayed in my pack. One guy, all bundled up with a winter hat and face mask asked if my name was Wim Hof.

To add on Mount Marshal, without descending off the ridge at the cost of miles and thousands of feet of elevation, I chose to bushwhack directly off the summit of Iroquois. This involved thrashing around in the brush, scratched legs, ripped shorts, and mildly sketchy climb down a rock chimney to pass through a cliff band, all for Marshall's non-descript summit.

After that, they skies cleared and I was able to scramble up the Trap Dike, a steep canyon-like gash through cliffs, directly to the summit of Mount Colden. I've read about this fourth class scrambling route for a few years and finally got the chance to see it for myself. Down low in the Dike one needs to climb a steep, blocky pitch by a waterfall with consequential fall potential, but if you know how to mantle and shop around for secure handholds, it feels secure. I'd rate it as slightly more difficult than Huntington Ravine but with less of a sense of exposure. Higher up, you exit the dike when the walls get low enough and scramble up a clean, white slab the rest of the way to the summit. This was, to me, the scarier and more dangerous part of the day. While grippy, the slab is very steep and exposed, without many places to put your hands, so you just have to trust that your feet will stick. Near the top, I bet you could roll a large rock down and expect it to continue 1800 feet down into Avalanche Lake below.

I'd originally intended to make a side trip to add on the summits of Tabletop and Phelps but missed a critical turn. By the time I realized my mistake, I was already at Marcy Dam and decided to call it a day.

Saturday, Sunday: Zero. Housework.

Totals: 38.8 miles, 8356', 7h 49m.


  1. Great route you came up with, Adam! The view from the summit of Algonquin across to Colden, its slides and the dyke, is one of my favorites in the northeast.

    I still have never done the trap dyke approach, I think the slide above it and exposure would have me a little too shaky, so I live vicariously through you and other hikers trip reports and pictures!

    1. Thanks, Chris. I wish I'd gotten that view but the cloud ceiling was about 3500 feet when I passed through.

      It sounds like the old finish for the dike is a bit easier and less exposed, though I never noticed the exit.