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Ascent of Little Haystack on 2015-12-27

Climber: Richard Hachem

Date:Sunday, December 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Little Haystack
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4692 ft / 1430 m

Ascent Trip Report

Today, I wanted to do something Epic that I’d call the Extended Great range, were I’d add Big Slide and Sawteeth, to give maybe 15,000ft and over 30 miles. I left from Rooster Comb parking and walked to Garden, still tired from yersterday’s 30 miles. I was feeling nauseous, maybe altitude sickness? I wanted to beat my fears, one is Big Slide in the dark and the other was Haystack were I got stuck 18 hours freezing because of flash floods last summer.

Big slide went by easily, almost no ice, lots of mud. Then headed for Marcy, I didnt’ go through Slant Rock but it seems like a nice trail, although it wasn’t in very good shape with some blowdowns. It was raining all day and it got much colder then yesterday. It rained a lot during the night and my goretex shoes got full of freezing water, same for my “waterproof” gloves. The closer I get to Marcy, the more ice there is, until it was all ice. Over Marcy it’s even worse, big icy face and clearly a no fall zone. I’m trying to be as safe as possible, but I wish I had an ice axe and better crampons. I took some risks. The descent went well and I took detours to avoid the no-fall zones.

Haystack was very hard. It was very windy and cold. Some 60mph bursts with lots of hail. I was starting to freeze, got too slow on Marcy. I was starting to think of a plan B, but I’d keep going if I can get warmer. I did freeze until the end. Coming back off Haystack, I put on my down jacket, but it was wet through my backpack and thin dry bag. I was still freezing. I still though I could move well so headed to Basin instead of cutting back to the lodge. It was flooded everywhere and my feet were very cold, but I was moving well and had energy. If it keeps like this I could gain back some heat.

Past Basin, I get to Saddleback. I was sure to return back through Ore brook trail right after this one. It was too cold and I only had 2 hours of light. The ascent of Saddleback looks like an easy climbing wall, but now it was frozen. It was very windy with hail. I climb to a descent hight to get to a difficult section. I couldn’t understand how can the trail go through this dangerous climb and I couldn’t find how to get around the mountain. But I keep on following the yellow painted arrows, telling myself that I can climb 5.10 easily and it can’t be this hard for a popular trail like this. Going back to Basin would a very long way and my right IT band was flaring up. Now much higher, I’m on an 8 inch ledge and I can’t see the next move. I’m scared, wind is blowing haill hard, I’m freezing, I can’t call for help, I need to do something fast before I lose my hands!

Ten endless minutes thinking and trying moves. I attach loosely the poles to the bag and remove my gloves. There’s an undercling that I can try to use to put pressure with my foot at the hight of my shoulders. All other holds are frozen and don’t give any purchase. I don’t even know if I can continue higher up. I try to pull myself many times, but my spikes don’t hold. I don’t have a choice, I need to go for a big dynamic move and risk all, if I miss, I fall. Lots of images in memories in my head… It works. But I’m traumatised, not sure if I’m shivering from of cold or fear, I want to be back in my car, see my friends, froget the 115, I’m not experienced enough…

I take the route back through Ogre Brooke trail towards the John’s Brook Lodge and everything went well, even though I’m shivering all along. Back at my car, I start the engine to heat it up asap. I open the trunk, get ready to sign the register. I locked myself out of the car ^!$&!@.

https://www.strava.com/activities/458326230

5h03 rooster comb parking
5h43 garden
7h39 bigslide
11h17 marcy
12h46 haystack
14h16 basin
15h16 saddleback
18h17 trailhead
19h03 rooster comb parking
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Frigid, Very Windy, Low Clouds
hail and 50mph wind
Ascent Part of Trip: Extended great range fail

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1First Brother2015-12-27
2Third Brother2015-12-27
3Big Slide Mountain2015-12-27
4Mount Marcy2015-12-27
5Little Haystack2015-12-27
6Mount Haystack2015-12-27
7Basin Mountain2015-12-27
8Saddleback Mountain2015-12-27
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


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

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