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Ascent of Mount Marcy on 2011-08-21

Climber: Gabriel Couët

Others in Party:Luiza Manceau
Date:Sunday, August 21, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Marcy
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:5344 ft / 1628 m

Ascent Trip Report

After having spent the earlier day approaching the high peaks and having nothing better to do than sleep as the sun went down, Luiza and I got a long night's rest and woke up early around 6:00am on Sunday morning. It was cloudy, but still dry. We prepared breakfast along the Lake Arnold outlet brook (we camped at the junction of lake Arnold and Indian Falls trails) and got ready for our hike to Mount Marcy.

We were very efficient and started on the Indian Falls trail at 7:00am sharp. Our first break would be at Indian Falls before we joined Van Hoevenberg trail towards the summit. When we reached it, we could admire the MacIntyres slowly being engulfed by clouds. Shortly after our arrival there, another group joined us. It was the father and son from the day before. They had hiked from Avalanche Lean-to and were going to Marcy. We chatted a bit about our camping choices and left ahead of them.

Going up Van Ho, the sun peeked through the clouds a few times before retreating back to cover. We took short breaks but were still going at a nice pace. Luiza was having trouble with her glasses fogging up and when we tried to find her contacts, we realized we had probably dropped them at Indian Falls. Soon, the father and son were on our heels. When we got to the small meadow on Little Marcy's slopes and took a short snack break, they passed us. We could see a few people higher on the rocky outcrops towards the summit. Just after reaching the alpine-tundra zone, we met the Steward. He chatted us up with the usual speech and we resumed the ascent as we could start hearing distant thunder and wanted to be down from the summit before the storm hit. A little further up, drizzle started and we put our rain jackets on. We got passed by another couple. Thunder was getting closer and most groups were now coming down from the summit. A few hundred yards before our goal, the father and son encouraged us as we were almost there. Luiza was struggling with the last pitch because of her fogged up glasses and I was starting to get anxious.

When I was a few tens of feet from the summit, I dashed for it as thunder was now dangerously close. As soon as I reached the plaque, lightning lit the clouds up and furious rain started pelting me. I could see Luiza a little further back and she soon got there. I told her she just had to hop on the rock and that was it, but she preferred to just go back down right away because the storm was just getting worse.

The rain was heavy and the rock was constantly blanketed by water flows while thunder and lightning broke all around us. Footing was extremely uncertain and it took us a while to get back to easier ground. We were now alone on the summit, every other group already being further down. We finally made it to the Steward, talked a bit and then resumed hiking down now somewhat soaked. Temperature was okay so we were fine and soon the rain eased down to almost nothing.

We met a few groups coming up the trail and encouraged them as the weather was getting better. When we got to Indian Falls again, we met the father and son. We talked a bit more and discovered they were from Louisiana. They were going to camp at Avalanche Lean-to again that night and we considered going there too.

We all left the falls together and hiked the Indian Falls cutoff trail just behind them. When we got to our camping spot, we showed them how close our tent was to the cutoff trail. We had set it up without knowing the trail's path and it turns out it encircled the spot we had chosen. The father and son kept going as Luiza and I decided to break camp and get back to the valley.

It took us around a half hour to pack everything up and get going. We were going to hike all the way down to Marcy Dam and try to get a lean-to. The trail was hard going and steadily descended and we realized why we were going so slow on the earlier day's ascent. Down in the valley, there were a few groups on the trails, mostly packing out. Still, all lean-tos were occupied and when we got to Marcy Dam, we had to settle for a camping spot. It was around 3:30pm and we had a lot of time to kill before the night. We spent it inspecting the maps and deciding on the next day's hike.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2470 ft / 752 m
    Elevation Loss:3519 ft / 1071 m
    Distance:9.2 mi / 14.8 km
    Grade/Class:2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cool, Very Windy, Low Clouds
Cloudy, huge thunderstorm, then cloudy.
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2185 ft / 666 m
    Extra Loss:256 ft / 78 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.7 km
    Route:Indian Falls, Van Ho trails
    Trailhead:Lake Arnold trail/Indian Falls trail junction  3415 ft / 1040 m
    Time Up:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3263 ft / 993 m
    Extra Gain:285 ft / 86 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.1 km
    Route:Van Ho, Indian Falls, Lake Arnold, Avalanche pass
    Trailhead:Marcy Dam  2366 ft / 721 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Adirondacks (August 2011) (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Mount Colden-North Peak2011-08-20 a
2Mount Colden2011-08-20 b
2Mount Marcy2011-08-21
3Mount Colden-North Peak2011-08-20 c
3Phelps Mountain2011-08-22 a
4Table Top Mountain2011-08-22 b
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Gabriel Couët
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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