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 Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15 
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 Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
The Ridge Trails route up Giant Mountain
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To ring in the new year a couple friends and I had been planning to do a little backpacking and peak bagging trip in the Adirondacks. The original plan was for Whiteface and Ester, two of their 46ers. Then about a week out snow was predicted so being above treeline made no sense views-wise and a second plan was formed. Then the rain and warm temps popped into the picture for Sunday and plan C took shape. Knowing we only had until late Saturday afternoon before the flakes flew we decided to leave early and hike The Giant of the Valley, aka Giant Mountain. At 4627 feet high it ranks as the 12th highest peak in the Adirondacks, and stands off almost by itself similar to Moosilauke. A 2.5 mile side trip to Rocky Peak Ridge (another of their 4Ks) was an option if weather cooperated. So at 4am Saturday it was up and at 'em and by 10am we had our boots on the trail.

Just turn the wheel a little to the left and you'll be there before you know it!
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You're in NY so sign in, or else
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Then you're free to walk this way
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There are three or four trails up this popular mountain, and we chose the shortest and steepest of them. The Ridge Trail climbs 3050 feet in three miles, which makes it one of the shortest hikes up a 46er by far, as most are well over ten miles long. The trail wasted no time going up. There was very little snow and a whole lot of ice on the trail down low so I put on my Hillsounds from the start. My friend tried to bare boot it for a while and took a good spill, banging up his knee in the process. Shortly after with even more ice appearing he put on crampons which made things easier. There was no chance of bare booting this one and it would have been stupid to try, err, was stupid to try. About 3/4 of a mile up the trail we passed over a nice clifftop viewpoint back down to the road 700 feet below. Round Mountain and Chapel Pond were right in front and the Great range completed the picture on the horizon. Next we passed the Giants Washbowl, which is a neat little pond in a steep walled basin high up on a shoulder of the mountain, and then began the ascent of the actual ridge.

Looking out from the first viewpoint 700 feet above where we started
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The lower Great Range, which we traversed this summer
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A report on that can be found here if interested http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=7844

Crossing the outlet of the washbowl, which is flooded by beavers in the summer
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We continued to climb steeply with even more ice until we hit the next open ledge, which sloped down pretty good and was covered in, surprise surprise, ice and snow! A few fellow hikers went up in their spikes and crampons, then another tried it in Yak Trax. I could see him struggling and sure enough he slipped! I thought for sure he was going over the edge but he flattened himself out to get more friction and sort of crawled to one side before finding a better route up. That was enough excitement for me there so I changed into crampons before going up that one myself. After that the trail was similar to the Algonquin trail on Sandwich Dome if you have ever hiked that one. Lots of open ledges with nice views and some icy scrambles. I was happy to have my crampons for the scrambles but probably should have switched to spikes in between the half dozen or so tougher spots. By being lazy I ended up doing about 4 miles in crampons and the pressure points from the step ins on the back of my heels gave me some nice blisters and scraped off skin. After getting down last that scramble on the way back I went back to Hillsounds and felt like a million bucks but the damage was done.

A steep and icy climb continued up the mountain
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The sloping ledge about a mile up the trail
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Which provided some nice views for the effort to get up it
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Another of the many nice but similar open ledges with views along the ridge
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The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness from said ledge
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For about a mile and a half it was ledge, woods, ledge, woods, ledge, woods...
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Anyhow, above 4000 feet or so was the typical winter wonderland. Everything was coated in snow. From the frequent viewpoints we could see the rest of the High Peaks getting enveloped by a snow squall. A fifty foot high steep, icy ledge bought us to the last gentle stretch to the top, just as the squall got to our neck of the woods. Just my luck!! The winds picked up, temps dropped, flakes flew and the last tenth of a mile was downright frigid. Without much for views we didn't stay long. One of the best views in the Adirondacks was obscured by snowflakes for the 15 minutes we stayed on top. :( A few pictures and we ducked back into the trees for a snack and to add another layer to the glove system. Fortunately the summit views are not a whole lot different from the view ledges along the trail, just more expansive, drop straight down and you could see everything at once on a better day.

Fellow hikers in the tunnel to the top
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A restricted view of the western facing summit cliffs
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Another hiker descending the last icy scramble as the squall blows in
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0.1 miles to go!
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Giant Mountain Summit
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Looking at the ridge we climbed up
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Of course snow squalls would obscure the summit views! :evil:
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But we were happy to be there, views or no views
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A quick snack and we were on our way down
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This is what frozen hands feels like if you were wondering
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We started back down and naturally at about the same spot the squall blew in on the way up it blew out on the way down. Back at the trail junction we decided to save Rocky Peak Ridge for a better day. The snow obscuring even more views from another awesome summit made the 2.5 mile side trip less than appealing. It's supposed to be an amazing hike in the fall anyhow from the other side so we decided to try and get out of dodge early and beat the storm. The trip down was quick and uneventful. The snow held off until we got back to the car where it was still only 15 degrees, but the forecast was for it to hit the mid 40s and turn to rain overnight, so rather than get all the overnight gear soaked we headed south figuring the main roads would be better than cutting across the green mountains.

Rocky Peak Ridge was a possible second summit for the day
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Dix and Nippletop towering over their surrounding 46ers
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Great Range with the squall clearing out
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Back down the same ledges and icy trails we went
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Back at the car some perfect snowflakes were falling
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After a stop in lake George for dinner at the Adirondack Pub and Brewery things again went downhill. The burger and beer battered fries were great, the 6 beers I tried were so-so but overall the place was a good choice, and the only choice really. Ever been to lake George in winter? It is the definition of a ghost town! Summer resorts all closed down for winter. Even the McDonald's was boarded up. Sleet and Freezing rain had covered the few inches of snow when we walked outside and we decided to just get a hotel for the night and stay safe instead of make a 6 or 8 hour ride home in that. We got a room and then found the only other open place in town to get some drinks, wings and watch the games before calling it a night. The next morning everything was iced over pretty good but the temps were climbing and the roads were clear again for the most part. Four more hours and a tour of southern Vermont and we were back where we started from. Not exactly the backpacking trip we were shooting for but still a great trip. Mother Nature told us burgers, beers and wings were calling and we listened! :D Add another 46er to the list and it couldn't be called anything but a successful start to the new year.

By the time we stopped for dinner things were getting pretty slick
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The beverage list. Nothing great but not terrible either
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Since we won't be leaving town any time soon. Does this count as a views and brews stop?! :D
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We scraped off the car and hit the road
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Passing through Bennington and a quick visit to the tallest structure in Vermont before finishing off the trip
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And just to bring things full circle they had a statue to NH's own General John Stark, the Hero of Bennington
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Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:27 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
My sister lives in Round Lake, NY. It's about 7 exits north of Albany. We hiked around the lake in town one year, but it sucked. There was so much garbage on the trail. I really should check and see if there's anything nearer to the mountains next time. Some day........... :?:

Looks nice GG.

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Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:47 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Nice pics - brings back memories. Giant was the first ADK I did in winter, and had the pleasure of meeting PinPin near the summit. He floated up effortlessly, visited for a few minutes, and was off - probably to Rocky Ridge.


Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:51 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Sounds like an awesome trip! I really have to get out to the ADKs. Being 15 degrees out, I also would have taken the burgers and beers route. A boiling hot shower after a cold hike like that probably hit the spot also.


Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:20 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Looks like a fun trip, even if it got cut a little short. How far along are you on your 'daks now?

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Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:14 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Pin Pin, the hiker-Ed of the Dak's. Any idea what's up with all the little animals you see in people's pics and TR's from here? Pin Pin disciples, or is there something else I've missed?

Gibba the shower was nice. Food and beverages were even better. Still would have preferred a night in the tent and another 46er to the list, but it sure was a nice consolation prize this time. If we had known we weren't going to make it home we just would have stayed put in Lake Placid however. Better town to hang out in if you ask me.

Matt I'm only up to 12 in the Adirondacks. If I can get the other 34 and finish the 115 in the next couple years I'll be very happy.


Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:43 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Thank you for taking us on another trip to the Adirondacks. We're getting to know them pretty good. Your TR's are very informative and pics are always great. Don't know if we'll ever make it down that way to hike, so we are enjoying them through you. :)
I do give you credit though for wanting to spend the night in a tent instead of a motel. It was 18 degrees here last night and we almost thought it was to cold to walk out to use the hottub! :D :D :D

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Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:10 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Awesome! I wanted to to do Giant when I was out there in 2013, but the person I was with wasn't up for it. Gotta go back...


Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:51 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
WeRmudfun wrote:
...It was 18 degrees here last night and we almost thought it was to cold to walk out to use the hottub! :D :D :D


Is it possible to be too cold out for one?! My kids love using the outdoor one at Loon Mountain even in January. If it's open they're jumping in!

This is a nice easy trip Dingo. The approach from Roaring Brook also sounds nice. When you get back this and Cascade/Porter are both nice shorter trips if you have a friend who's not feeling up for huge hikes. Of course if you're with someone who's feeling adventurous the sky is the limit. Hope to see some pics from you of the place in 2015! :D


Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:55 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Wow looks like treacherous conditions with those ice boils. Beautiful ridge line view it must be so cool to look at that and say we did that! Absolutely gorgeous area what a suck pill about the view! But you'll be back. It's all about the journey and being with friends. Thanks for taking the time to post that!


Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:22 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
hiking lady wrote:
Wow looks like treacherous conditions with those ice boils. Beautiful ridge line view it must be so cool to look at that and say we did that! Absolutely gorgeous area what a suck pill about the view! But you'll be back. It's all about the journey and being with friends. Thanks for taking the time to post that!


I will definitely be back, but not until February unfortunately. Besides just being awesome hiking there it's mostly still new and different to me, which I like better than the same old stuff over and over. Treacherous without traction yes. The first time I use crampons every year it takes me a few minutes to get confident in them again, but once you do they're like walking on velcro and kind of fun to climb around on.

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Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:06 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
Great report as always from my home state, in tricky conditions. Those are some serious crampons in that summit pic!

I gotta get up there more often ...

I'm afraid we can't let you back in though ;) as it seems you brought the Hike-NH virus with you. Don't know if you've made the connection yet, but ever since your visit the ADK hiking forum (which never had any previous issues) has been on the blink. hmmmm .... lol


Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:04 am
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 Re: Giant Mountain - Adirondacks - 1/3/15
wp_hiker2 wrote:
Great report as always from my home state, in tricky conditions. Those are some serious crampons in that summit pic!

I gotta get up there more often ...

I'm afraid we can't let you back in though ;) as it seems you brought the Hike-NH virus with you. Don't know if you've made the connection yet, but ever since your visit the ADK hiking forum (which never had any previous issues) has been on the blink. hmmmm .... lol


Yep. Serious crampons and serious overkill for 95% of the trail but I got lazy and didn't feel like going back and forth with the Hillsounds half a dozen times. Paying the price for it now but nothing makes you stick to ice like 12 point crampons.

As for the ADK forum I noticed that. I went to check in and got the "webmaster please contact us" and figured maybe they didn't pay their bill. Now that you mention there's a lot of VFTTers there but only Chris Dailey, Tim and myself from hike NH that I've seen post, so it is probably me! :D For anyone interested in the NE111 or even just the Adirondacks in general that is a great and very active and friendly forum.


Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:23 pm
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