Ascent of Donaldson Mountain on 2007-10-13

Climber: Matt Nuesell

Others in Party:Isaac Emrich
Date:Saturday, October 13, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Donaldson Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4108 ft / 1252 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left the trailhead on Coreys Road around 7:30am under overcast skies and 40 degree temperatures. I had been down this trail in July of 2006 but didn't really remember much about it. At the first junction with the horse trail, we took a right when we should have taken a left and walked about 15 minutes before we realized our error. That should have been the first sign that the day wasn't going to be good! After backtracking, we found the right path and hiked to the T-intersection where the gate to someone's private land is on the left. We took a right off of the Ward Brook trail and went in search of the unmarked Calkins Brook Trail. A little over a mile later, we found the cairn on the left side marking the start of the trail. It had been raining and we found the trail completely flooded and slippery with the autumn leaves covering every bare rock surface. At times it was difficult to see where the trail went. In nicer weather, I think this trail would have been a lot of fun, but in the wet and cold, it wasn't what I was expecting. About a half mile from the intersection with the ridge trail, we came across a hive of angry hornets and I got stung on the top of my head. Also, not fun. Our original plan was to try for Seward first, then come back over and get Donaldson and Emmons. However, after coming all the way up the CBT, we opted for some instant gratification and turned right up to Donaldson. By the time we reached the top, it had become a complete white-out and snow was falling. There was absolutely no view to speak of so we didn't even pause before we continued on our trek over to Emmons. The stretch of "trail" from Donaldson to Emmons was the most miserable stretch of trail I've ever encountered in the Adirondacks. I don't know how you can even call it a trail. Boot-sucking mud, sink holes, slippery rocks, scratching had it all. When we finally arrived at Emmons, we were so cold and wet that we couldn't even pause to eat, lest we lose all our body heat. One quick, pathetic picture of a cloud and a tree was all we got before hitting the trail again. By the time we reached the junction with the CBT again, it was already 3pm, my sting was killing me, we were cold, wet, tired, hungry...and wet. Seward would have to wait for another day. Defeated and despondent, we hiked back to the car, making it just before dark to complete my 2007 Adirondack hiking season. What a crappy way to finish! The story of my attempt at the Adirondack 46 has mostly been a story about poor planning. I really didn't want to have to go back to this area again, espcially since I only did Seymour on my 1st trip. But I'll head back this summer on a nicer day and make one last attempt at the Seward Range. God help me if I don't make it this time!!
Summary Total Data
    Trailhead:Coreys Rd.  -9999 ft / -3047 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Part of Trip: Seward Range

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Donaldson Mountain2007-10-13 
2Mount Emmons2007-10-13 
3(Attempt) Seward Mountain2007-10-13 

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