Ascent of South Dix on 2016-01-10

Climber: Richard Hachem

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, January 10, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Dix
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4068 ft / 1239 m

Ascent Trip Report

Now same day, at elk lake road, I got my boots off, changed socks and fell asleep. I woke up later from the cold, it was dark already. I packed my stuff and when I was about to leave I see headlamps. I talked with the young couple, they tried to complete the dix range, but said the wind was horrible and had no visibility. Great, I’m in for a hell of night! My friends told me they did the range in 8 hours so I had this as benchmark and thought I’d get it done faster.

So I left, 2 miles of road to the trail head and on the way crossed two skiers coming back from the Macomb slide. I had no idea what the Macomb slide was, sounded like a fun place, everyone talks about it. I pressed on, signed the register and found the trail head easily at the camp site. Trail was nicely packed and I waited until it was very steep to put the spikes on. I was looking at the map and saw a constant elevation gain before the summit, this would be nice. I get to that place and I start to climb. It climbs more. And more. Oh this is the slide! I can barely see 6 feet in front and have no idea how to pace myself not knowing the distance. It’s weird, but it sure was fun! The summit was indeed pretty windy and I could not see much, but I followed the tracks and on it went towards Macomb, then South Dix. It was cold and windy, but energy was ok and tracks were clear, so I decided to drop my pack for Grace.

Now back at South Dix, I was getting very sleepy, so I pressed on again. Through the notch between Hough and South Dix I was going fast, then the tracks started descending and this wasn’t right. There’s not time for mistakes, I stop. Two weeks ago I started using the Peakbagger app on the cellphone and loaded some tracks and it’s been a huge help. I’m used to orienteering with map and compass and find it the fastest. But last year I’ve spent lots of time hopelessly tracking winter trails or trying to navigate in whiteouts or dark and a GPS would have been a huge help and safety device. So I get my cellphone out and see I’m completely off track. This trail isn’t even on my map!

Got back up and a glimpse of fear got me. No more tracks, only very spaced hints of passage. I was really counting on clear tracks to finish this range and knew that trying to navigate this would be extremely hard. But little by little, I could find new hints of tracks and except some climbs over cliffs that I wasn’t sure off, I managed to get to Hough, then Dix and finally back to the Beckhorn junction. Here the descent was a bit scary through the rocks, but then I was on the right track. Going back to the car took a lot of time, looking at the ground for hours and highly sleep deprived, I was starting to freeze. I look at my thermometer and it was 32F, but clearly looked like 100% humidity. I took out my big down jacket and zombie walked the last miles. I fell asleep many times walking back on the road, falling twice in the snow bank, but other times I kept sleep walking straight for a good stretch which was pretty optimal. I finished in 10h30, much longer than expected. I don’t know if falling asleep would have been dangerous, I'’ve always woken up if I’m freezing and I had plenty of energy reserves left.

I got back to my car and wanted to go somewhere else because there were only three parking spaces. I’m not too sure what happened, but ended up waking up the next day when someone hit my car with their door. I didn’t really care, It was pouring rain. I asked them where they were going and they said they were going for Macomb. I thought they were a bit crazy, it was raining pretty hard and wished them good luck.

20miles, 10h26, 6900ft
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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