Ascent of Esther Mountain on 2012-03-24

Climber: Dan Quinlan

Date:Saturday, March 24, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Esther Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4239 ft / 1292 m

Ascent Trip Report

Esther and Whiteface
Where did all the snow go!
We were so looking forward to doing some more hikes in the snow covered mountains, but Mother Nature has been a bit weird this year. Two weeks ago we were on Algonquin in 5 feet of gorgeous snow. But after 14 days of record highs there is basically no snow left in the valley and just in sheltered areas in the higher elevations.
Lil-Yeti, Red Goat and I thought using the road would keep us off the muddy trails until we reached higher elevations, where we had hoped to get back into some snow, but a glance up the Whiteface ski area told us to leave the snow shoes in the car, we aren’t going to need them today.
We started up the road at 9:55 am on an overcast morning with the temperature around 35 degrees.
Obviously the road was pretty easy going, had some nice views down the valley. Also the rock retaining walls are fascinating; I can’t imagine building such large walls out of rocks that then hold back the earth for the road. To save a couple of miles Lil-Yeti and I decided to bushwhack from the road to the Esther Herd Path at around 3, 700’. The Red Goat started the bushwhack with us, but quickly turned back. She’s in it for the exercise, not necessarily for the peaks. She continued on the road and told us she will meet us on the summit of Whiteface.
The bushwhack was horrible, sometimes in thick spruce, sometimes in hip deep snow, sometimes in swampy areas, but very seldom in clear going. I was very impressed with Kaerstin’s persistence along the way. She hates bushwhacking, but the fact she kept going without complaining tells me she is really determined to visit the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. We reached the Eshter Herd Path at 12:30, just as Gudrun called on the Walkie Talkie to announce she had reached the peak of Whiteface.
It sure was nice to hike along a trail! The trail conditions were typical late spring, muddy, icy, remnants of the snow rail and sometimes even dry. We found that wearing micro-spikes made the footing much more stable.
We reached the summit of Esther at 1:00pm where we had some lunch and took in some views of Whiteface. We left the summit at around 1:15pm. We reached the end of the Esther HP and headed up the Wilmington trail toward Whiteface at 1:50. The trail was mostly easy going, but we did run into more and more of the remnants of the snow rail. Most of the time we could stay on top of it, but other times it was easier to walk beside it. We came to a clearing at on of the ski lifts on Whiteface, what a sad sight that was. Here it is the 3rd week in March and the lift is quiet, no snow to be found, what a horrible winter we have had.
Perhaps the last 500 meters where the trail was shielded did we run into some deep snow. If you went softly, or if you are a 15yr old girl, you could pretty much stay on top of the snow, but once in a while I would post hole up to my knees. As we neared the summit, we could see the Red Goat waiting for our arrival. We reached the peak at 3:00 pm. The wind was light so we could take some pictures from the summit. It was a gray day, but at least the clouds were high so we had good views of Lake Placid and toward the Great Range. We left the summit for the long walk back down the road at 3:20. Just as we were leaving the Castle, it started to sleet, I guess that is better than rain! But as we descended the sleet did indeed turn to rain. To make the walk down the road a bit more interesting, we kicked rocks for quite a ways. Lil-Yeti was a bit disappointed when after kicking ‘rocky’ for over a mile, she lost it over the bank, how tragic!
We reached the car at 5:30, tired and a bit wet. It was a pretty good day for a hike, but we are bummed that the snow has melted so early this year.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3300 ft / 1005 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Hight clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3300 ft / 1005 m
    Distance:12.1 mi / 19.5 km
    Route:RT 341-Bushwhack-Esther HerdPath
    Start Trailhead:Toll Booth Rt341  939 ft / 286 m
    Time:7 Hours 35 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Esther-Whiteface

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Esther Mountain2012-03-24 a3300 ft / 1006 m
2Whiteface Mountain2012-03-24 b 
Total Trip Gain: 3300 ft / 1006 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Dan Quinlan
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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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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