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PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 12:55 pm 
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On Saturday we did a monster hike of 14 hours covering 5 summits with close to 7000 feet of elevation gain. We finished up by crossing 2 lakes under a nearly-full moon between mountains whose summits were all lit up 3000 feet above us. I'm attempting to do a second consecutive single season round of all of the 46 peaks that are (or were once thought to be) 4000 footers and am now at 28 peaks.

The following trip report was written for an Adirondack-specific forum so I apologize for any lack of clarity.

These 9 pics tell most of the story anyway. (Hit F11 for a full-screen view)

Here's the report copy-pasted from here:

Total sensory and summit overload on the best day of the year so far.

Part One: Marcy, Skylight and Gray

A quartet of hikers, Al (AOC-1) Tom (Bog Hollow), Alistair and I began our hike at 7am. 2/3 of the way up Marcy we became a quintet when Kerry the trail Krusher caught up with us. Microspikes gave way to MSR's near Indian Falls for some, at the Hopkins junction for others. Once we broke tree-line we were treated to fresh powder snow under bluebird skies. It was magnificent (before this TR is over I will have run out of adjectives). Half-way up the cone the wind had enough bite that I was glad to stop and put on a mask and goggles, although the hike up would have been OK without them. Everything was the softest yet brilliant white. You hike these peaks over and over and are constantly treated to fresh and unforgettable sights. This would go on all day long so stay with me.

On top we got into the lee and felt the February sun and noticed a lone hiker on Skylight. Haystack was all lit up by the sun. The route over to Gray looked like a bad deal. As we descended in a foot of the silkiest and whitest powder snow imaginable Kerry stated, "you know this is....REALLY cool". And it was quite a feeling to let your snowshoes carry you downward while sinking below Skylight's summit. Then we got to treeline and had a problem. We were unable to find the trail among the numerous possible choices and when I probed one channel I fell up to my shoulders in a spruce trap before turning around. Then we saw someone a few hundred feet down below and Alistair suggested we just sit a wait for them to come up. Then just as I thought I had found the trail the ascending hiker was within hailing distance and assured us he was on the official trail. Time spent mucking about in spruce traps: 30 minutes. But then we were able to zoom down to 4 corners meeting a group of 6 heading up with overnight packs.

Minutes later we were on top of Skylight looking back at Marcy and Gray (plus a few other peaks). Upon arriving back down at 4 Corners we met up with Aspiring HP Summit Queen and Fiddlehead before moving our packs over to Lake Tear. Nestled against the spruce trees on the shore a guy was sitting out of the breeze (not that there was any wind to speak of ) in the full sunshine. He had definitely scored the best spot in the entire High Peaks Region to catch some rays. The path to Gray was perfect (as was the one to Sky). The climb up Gray was a luxuriant experience with intense sunshine beating down upon our backs and reflecting off the snow into our eyes and warming our faces. From the summit we enjoyed yet another viewing angle of Marcy, which positively radiated with a most intense and pure white light.

Back down at Lake Tear I noticed that everyone had left their pack sitting erect with the back facing into the sun. It looked like some sort of tribute to Stonehenge. After a short break and some refueling we charged off down the Feldspar Trail in high gear all full of piss and vinegar. It was close to 1pm.

-End of Part One-

Part Two, section 1: Cliff, Redfield

We emerged from the shadows of the steep Feldspar trail down at the Opalescent and it gurgled and rushed alongside as we quickly covered the sun-drenched half-mile to the (rock solid and well-travelled ) crossing of Uphill Brook near the Uphill Lean-to. At the Redfield/Cliff junction we noted the time (now 2pm) and booted it up Cliff. Well, not really, there are a few steep pitches that tend to slow one down. The sky was beginning to take on some nice soft hues and Skylight was just starting to change colour. On the west flanks of Redfield there are some open rock slabs and they shone like mirrors as they faced directly into the afternoon sun. The descent of Cliff was very speedy and back at the packs everyone made clothing adjustments, drank, fed, got headlamps out and Tom offered up some piping hot tomato soup, which went directly to my soul, warming it right up.

We debated how long it would take to do Redfield and Tom said he did it not too long ago from the junction in 35 minutes! I knew there was no way that would be happening with all the vertical behind us. At this point our quintet became a quartet as Alistair, who was fighting a cold, decided to call it quits and walk out slowly over the lakes. Off we went over a trail that had several inches of new snow covering it. The air was getting crisp and I anticipated killer views from Redfield. I also made a dumb mistake in leaving my camera behind. One of those quickly made decisions that you regret later on. Shortly after starting out the trail was covered with nearly a foot of fresh snow and Kerry figured that since Joe and Mark didn't do the summit after Mark broke through the ice into the brook that their trail would end soon.

Sure enough, we broke trail most of the way up. Actually, long-legged and indefatigable Tom broke at least half of the way. Redfield, I now recalled, keeps on getting steeper as you climb and seems to go on forever: there is always one more twist to the trail and you are always looking way up to where it bends yet again, ever higher. Nothing for it but to keep on moving. I enjoyed taking little mini-breaks of 20 seconds duration. I think it took us an hour ten to reach the summit. We were treated to the most stunningly beautiful sight any of us could remember. All of the summits were glowing with various pinks, purples and maroons and the moon, nearly full, was high in the sky. I can't do justice to it in writing, you had to be there. The Macintyre range had a demarcation line like a contour interval that ran straight across it and rose up until only the peaks were glowing while the rest of the massif was in shadow. Every time you looked the line had climbed a little higher.

Marcy Quintet Part 2 section 2. Moonlit Lake Travel

From the summit of Redfield to the Loj we walked very, very quickly with the exception of Lakes Colden and Avalanche. Here we switched off our lights and slowly ambled across, stopping often to gape thousands of feet above to the mountaintops, which were all lit up with moonglow. A cheerful light shone out from the Ranger's cabin and Al pointed out, "if you were a ranger you'd be home, now". Then he proceeded to describe to us how nice and warm and snug the cabin was. As we neared Avalanche lake Tom stopped in his tracks and looked way up. I followed his gaze and the parts of Colden that were ice covered were reflecting the moon light. Best of all was stopping and examining the Trap Dike as the walls of Avalanche Peak and Colden closed in upon us.

Next came the slow trudge up to the height of land where we thankfully removed our snowshoes and barebooted the rest of the way out to the Loj. Unless I'm mistaken we made it from Redfield to the Loj in 3 ½ hours. Had I been solo it would have taken me about 5!


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PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 10:02 pm 
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Thanks for a great write-up of your monster day & fantastic photos - they almost look surreal with all the snow ghosts! Beautiful!


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 11:23 am 
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I'm going back on Thursday for another 5-fer. The forecast is for more of the same weather.
Just for fun I'll post the link to my Spot tracking page before I go.


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 1:31 pm 
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This time, take your camera!! It can't weigh that much! I will look for your SPOT track. Good luck on your '5-fer' - I did a measly '1-fer' (only 2000' vertical) on Myrtle Mtn in Kimberley BC yesterday & that was plenty!


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 9:54 am 
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Have you ever tried to say "5-fer" out loud? :-?




This topic looks more "Winter"-ish than "Off Topic"-ish...

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 11:07 am 
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Barbara wrote:
Have you ever tried to say "5-fer" out loud? :-?
You have to practice in front of a mirror, going seemlessly from a vee to an eff, quickly releasing the upper teeth from the surface of the lower lip in order to allow just a whisp of air to pass through.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 11:18 am 
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Quote:
Have you ever tried to say "5-fer" out loud? :-?
No problem here - they are all the same to me... :rofl:

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 11:19 am 
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Back to the beauty of that trip: it's hard to beat the mountains, all that view - especially on a crisp and clear day!

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 12:58 pm 
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Wow! what beauty! but what is all the white stuff? I would like to see some here!

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 8:09 pm 
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Spot track for 9-2-12

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/face ... ddS7SYDep5


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 7:20 am 
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They're off even before sunrise - the first track point at 7:00...

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