Ascent of Wright Peak on 2006-07-01

Climber: Luc Tremblay

Date:Saturday, July 1, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Wright Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4587 ft / 1398 m

Ascent Trip Report

Daniel and I still wanted to keep our pace of one hike per month. I could not go more often without stirring complains from my wife and children. To maintain the balance with my family life, I decided to involve the three other members of my family. The kids love camping, so I devised a plan for the Canada Day long weekend. On Friday, my wife, myself and my two daughters, aged 6 and 7 then, drove to Adirondack Loj and rented a campsite. My wife wanted me to reserve but I did not. I thought that by being there on Friday at noon, we would beat the weekend campers and it would be easy to get a campsite. The Adirondack Loj campsite was fully reserved, but while discussing with the attendant a cancellation came in. We set up our two tents: one for eating and one for sleeping on a nice site. We ate and then went for a short walk looping Heart Lake.

Early on Saturday morning, Daniel drove from Montréal and at 8h30, the five of us were ready to depart for Wright. The sun was shinning, it was warm but not hot. With the girls, it was the usual chorus; they soon started to whine that it was too long and ask if the summit was still far. We turned off of the Marcy Dam trail onto the Algonquin/Wright trail. Soon after, we started going up on the fairly steep trail. My daughters enjoyed going up and down, so they were happy and did not complain for the rest of the day. It is funny that the first kilometre of flat trail seems so tough to them and then they can hike up and down another ten without finding it difficult.

We went up sections of the trail where boulders were carefully placed to form big steps of a giant staircase. We met a crew that was working on building more steps with the help of scores of little black flies. They were using pry bars and come-alongs to move the large boulders into position. The two volunteers, along with a NYDEC (New York Department of Conservation) employee were sweaty and muddy. Obviously, it was very strenuous work.

The girls particularly liked climbing the small rock pitches, which are not so small for them, given their size. The turn off for Wright from the Algonquin trail is marked by a large rock with Wright written in large yellow letters over an arrow. We climbed an eight foot cliff and found ourselves above the tree line. Getting close to midday, the temperature was getting warmer but on the bare mountain, it was very windy. All five of us reached the summit and admired a great 360 degree view. We took a lot of pictures, including some of our party of five taken by the summit steward. The summit steward is a volunteer who tells summiteers to stay on the rocky patch to avoid damaging the alpine tundra vegetation. We ate our lunch and explored the B-47 plane wreckage from January 17, 1962. Later in September, we climbed another mountain (Montagne Noire in Québec) with a plane wreck on it. A few days later, my little one, Isabelle, watching a plane fly over our pool asked: ‘I wonder which mountain this plane with fly into’. I told her that usually they try to fly over rather than into… During the following winter, my older one, Claudine, was learning at school about the different ecosystem in the province of Québec: deciduous forests of the St. Lawrence valley, mixed forest of the Laurentian, evergreens of the boreal forest and taiga and the treeless tundra. I made her realized that she had hiked through all these different biomes spreading over the 2000 km (1250 miles) length of Québec from the US border to the Arctic ocean in half a day by climbing Wright!

We spent a lot of time on the summit and came down the same route. Once on the Van Hovenberg trail, Daniel and I took the girls on our shoulders. Once at the Loj, Daniel had a beer with us at our campsite before heading back to Montréal. The girls were happy to have climbed their highest mountain to date. One can easily guest that they slept tight on this Saturday night. On Sunday, we took it easy, playing card games in the morning and slowly packing. After lunch, we went walking on the Lake Placid town main street. The girls, including my wife, still had energy to check every store.

It took us 7 hours to cover 11.3 km (7 miles) and gained a total vertical height of 790 meters (2600 ft) including a long stay at the summit.

Sometimes, making it to the summit is a small part of the self-fulfilment. The bigger part is who you do it with. This hike with Johanne, Claudine, Isabelle and Daniel will be amongst my best memories of the 46.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2589 ft / 789 m
    Extra Gain:92 ft / 28 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.2 km
    Trailhead:Adirondak Loj Hikers Parking  2182 ft / 665 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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