Adirondacks in Winter

Thought I'd share this video montage of the Adirondacks in Winter, taken from my stock footage and edited and put to music by Videomark.

The song is We Belong to the Mountains by Peggy Lynn--it's one of our favorites!

Scenes in the video include our ascent of Algonquin Peak in January 2007, the trip up Street & Nye in March 2007, and an amazing ski of Avalanche Pass to the end of Lake Colden--also in March 2007.

Adirondacks in Winter direct video link for any of you poor souls still browsing the Web with Internet Explorer


Lower Great Range

On 30 June 2008 Adam, James, and I had our biggest multi-peak day so far. Four Adirondack High Peaks in one dayhike included Upper and Lower Wolfjaws, Armstrong Mountain, and Gothics.

Lower Great Range (video) - direct link for any of you poor souls still browsing the web with Internet Explorer


Is that a Saké Smile

A late arrival at the WhiteFace Mt. KOA confined Seth, James, Chris Joyce and I to the smaller of the two Lean-to's at site LT4 while Jess Burgess, Cara Benedict and Lacie Urban lapped it up in the Jumbo model. Some how we got The Mountain Dog Tanner crammed in there too. Early the next morning everyone was pumped and ready to go. Taking two vehicles we left KOA heading through Wilmington arriving at the Reservoir parking lot area. Having two New eager beavers(Cara & Chris) psyched about the hike ahead seemed to elevate the mood all around. Starting at the trail head around 7:00-7:30 we geared up, signed in and set out. The pace was set by Chris a.k.a Ironman Joyce periodically taken over by Cara. 4.7 miles plus 770ft of steep elevation gain seemed to fly past. We hit up Marble Mt. then summited Esther Mountain in only about 2hrs, 09:30.

#10 Esther Mt. July 26,08

Only 3.1 miles to go. Once we hit the retaining wall for Whiteface Memorial Highway a view of the Observation Tower was clear the rest of the way. Being WhiteFace Mountain its circumstances are unique. This is the only High Peak that you can drive. Crowds were gathered all around. Knowing that most of them knew we had just actually hiked the entire mountain made this one extra satisfying. We seemed to have a kind of right to the summit, a definite sense of honor.

#11 WhiteFace Mt. July 26,08

From 10:30 to a little after 11 we soaked up the sun and enjoyed the view. 467 ft down the meandering stairs to get some much needed food and drink at Whiteface Castle. Here we stayed much longer than any other peak, funny to see and I guess be part of the tourist attraction.

image name
image name
image name
image name

image name
image name
image name

The hike/run down Whiteface Memorial Highway was a long cut, but worth the millage. Great views on every bend. I was amazed at all the work that must have been put into the Construction of this Highway. Cara was easy on me, little did I know at the time that she ran almost everyday. It was getting pretty nasty with rain so we broke out the ponchos, even still some tourist in a van kept on passing us trying to find the Reservoir, wanting to climb Esther. Hiking in the dark can be interesting, but if you don't know the trail better off having an early start.

WhiteFace Castle-Wilmington Reservoir

We made it back to KOA around 6 o'clock to clean up for some sushi/saké at Kento Japanese Steak House. Thanks to the D.D's we made it back to the lean-to's in one piece where everyone continued to enjoy some refreshments by the campfire. I slept like a baby, this was odd considering there was a huge thunder storm right over us that night. At sunrise with a small headache it was time for Christmas in July. My first real encounter of this Idea was good, some breakfast with Santa seem nice at the KOA lodge. Later re-entering the Town of North Pole a real dread of disorder came over me when an Amusement park call Santa's Workshop came into view. This in not my forte, the Concept brings consumerism to a gut wrenching mockery of true Christmas spirit. Thank God the price seem just a bit two much for our tastes that day. On to the Flume. This was a great place to end the trip. Before we left we had to hunt down Cara, she decided to hike one more small peak on her own. True 46er material. Once you've had one you'll always want more.

image name

image name

image name

image name

Photo's taken by Seth C. Burgess


What about Crampons?

Elie Bijou on the use of crampons in the mountain ranges of New York State:
Safest placement? Leave them in the bag in your car and pick up a pair of Stabilicers or Microspikes (Kahtoola)...Sorry.
An accurate assessment of the necessity of traditional crampons while hiking in the Catskills and Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. I would extend the same sentiment to ice axes. The creature that is the ice-climber is really the only person who would find legitimate use for these items.


Five miles of Heaven Baby

Time is always on your side, because in the end either you get busy livin or you get busy dyin. There will always be days where you're on such a mental high that all you want to do is top it or create a feeling equal to if not surpassing a moment of peace. In attaining harmony through physical strain your body feeds the mind. A level once know is now there to pass. This was a good day. Gothics is #1 on the list of favorites. Seen here at end of clip.


The Good, The Bad & The Great

You really never know how a trip is going to turn out. Sometimes everything goes as planned and other times the %@#! hits the fan. Seth, James and I started on an early note getting to Lake Placid around mid afternoon. The day was looking great, the sun was shining making it perfect for some High Peaking. Just off Route 73 a short 2.2 miles ahead Porter Mountain loomed overhead. A smooth yet Buggy 2,000 vertical accent to the top, clean and quick. Just 1.5 miles away is the Summit of Cascade Mountain , being so close you have to catch it as well. Afterwards we headed towards Lake Harris Camp Site #1 to meet up with Jess and Colleen. We all enjoyed the Wegmans Burgers minus Colleen who slept peacefully in the car. The next morning MRE's were on the menu, being my first Made Ready to Eat meal it was a good one of scrambled eggs and home fries.

#4&5 Porter & Cascade June 27, 08

Day 2 was the flipside of the first,"If the Santanonis are Hell, then Bradley Pond Lean-to must be Purgatory." This seems to say it all. The grueling pace of dripping wet body's was complemented by echoing birds over Bradley Pond. Standing in Panther Brook while surrounded by mist with a crack of lightning close over head makes you feel alive. If the risk out weighs the reward, no matter how much pride you have sometimes you just need to turn around. The Santanonis(Nemesis) won this one, all the sweater the next time through. From Bradley Pond Lean-to five miles of Heaven awaited us in heading back. Good food is always key after a hard hike so we stopped at the Adirondack Hotel for some burgers and beers. Across the way Helms Aero Service temped our sense for satisfaction. That plane ride was probably the best 30 dollars I've spent.

Colleen and Jess had enough with all the bad weather and headed back home with the Mountain dog Tanner while Seth, James and I went back to Lake Placid for round 3. What better than a room at the Econo Lodge, jumping into the hot tub to sooth sore muscles and the anchovies and cheese pizza, well lets just say that's the first and last time I'll be eating that. The storm past clearing a path to the Lower Range. From Lake Placid through Keene Valley to the Garden Trail head. This hike was by far the best. Over many streams and brooks, passing waterfalls and climbing steep rock walls, exploring caves on Gothics will make this my favorite thus far. Upper Wolfjaw to Armstrong, from Gothics back over to Lower Wolfjaw. Having to hit up Armstrong and Upper Wolfjaw twice made it all the better.

#6,7,8&9 Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics & Lower Wolfjaw June 30,08


Scenic Flights by Helms Aero Service

On 29 June 2008 following our failed attempt at the Santanoni Range of the ADK High Peaks, we consoled ourselves by jumping onto Rt. 30 and grabbing a meal at the Adirondack Hotel on Long Lake. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Afterwards Jess, Colleen, James, Adam, and I investigated the small office across the road for Helms Aero Service. The thought of being in a tight, enclosed cockpit with 4 others plus a pilot was not appealing to me. I succumbed to peer pressure, though. The flight we took over Long Lake turned into one of my best Adirondack memories!

Helms Aero Service - Long Lake, NY - direct link for any of you poor souls still browsing the web with Internet Explorer


Don't call me a Peak Bagger

Depending on how much of a relation you can be aware of without loosing the true meaning of the Goal. On all the Hike's I have been lucky enough to be apart of I can recall almost every detail down to the number of socks I put on. These are times to reflect and take in your surroundings. Loosing yourself in the wilderness means becoming part of the environment.

I'm sure the term Peak Bagger is all in good fun, yet if your only ambition is to get to the top remember its not the destination, its the journey.


Are we there yet

Sometimes just getting to the Adirondacks is an adventure in its self. One car crash including James Zeger and Mark DeCracker delayed us a little. To any other man that would be that, but not if your a true 46er. In fact within the next few hours a new Vehicle was added to the pack, brand new(new to Mark anyways) from the dealer no less. Seth was riding rail to Amsterdam where Jess and I were waiting, oh right we actually found him sometime later walking down the road. Tired of waiting and anxious for the trip ahead he started, thanks to the homing beacon we located him eventually. Prior Mark and James picked up Colleen at her Collage. Later we arrived at The Cabin to meet two of Marks friends and last the new car and its crew joined us. With drink and introduction we ended the night of a very eventful day.

The late start after a bite of breakfast in Lake Placid seemed acceptable considering we even made it that far. In the normal fashion we headed to the ADK Information Center (Adirondack Loj) where we geared up for the ski ahead. On Van Hoevenberg trail at Marcy Dam(2.3 miles in) we dawned our Skins and soaked up the view. Many chickadees accompanied us for a snack while onlookers watch from the bridge.

Marcy Dam

At the 3.6 mile mark we took a short trail to Indian Falls. Running out of time we decided to get at least one High Peak that day. Heading towards Table Top we lost the skies, being a herd path it was tight on the way up.

Indian Falls

Although the view wasn't the greatest on the summit, build up from snow gave us plenty of scenery. The ski down was a blur. Fast and sometimes dangerous, I seemed to learn how to butt slide better than actually skiing. Getting back just around 7:00pm it was about a 6hr round trip. Just in time for a Presentation by the Genesee Chapter of the ADK mountain club.

#3 Table Top Feb 23, 08


Mountain Dog: A Profile

Mountain Dog was born 31 October 2007 in Malta, New York and is of the prestigious Maple Grove Golden Retrievers' bloodline. Formally named Tanner Weeny Burgess, Mountain Dog made his mark on the New York State mountainscape in his first year on this Earth. His list of 2008 accomplishments include:

ADK High Peaks
  1. Porter Mountain
  2. Cascade Mountain
  3. Mount Esther
  4. Whiteface Mountain
  5. Mount Donaldson
  6. Mount Emmons
Catskill High Peaks
  1. Wittenberg Mountain
  2. Cornell Mountain
  3. Slide Mountain
Adirondack Incidentals
  1. Marble Mountain (Wilmington)
  2. Lookout Mountain (Wilmington)
Not bad for a start, eh?


Santanoni Range: A Rainy, Muddy Mess

After climbing Cascade and Porter on 27 June 2008, us boys headed to the Lake Harris Campground outside of Newcomb, NY where we met up with the girls and tented for the night, following the grilling of some Wegmans' prepared burgers!

The next day we drove out to Upper Works and headed in for our first attempt at the Santanoni Range of the ADK High Peaks. It was a failure. We hiked in to Bradley Pond Lean-to by sludging our way through some deepish, wet mud and rain showers. Dropping our full packs there, we back-tracked just a bit to locate the famous sway-backed rock which marks the trail up Panther Brook. We made it almost all the way up Panther Brook when the flooding waterbed and frequent flashes of lightning finally dictated that we turn back. It was quite a tough climb up Panther Brook for Tanner the Golden Retriever as well. Would've been nice to start a drying fire, but no, too wet! Tanner shared his collected mud with all of us that night in the lean-to, making sure to spent some time laying on each of our sleeping bags. Two others who did complete the range over the same time period pitched their personal tents nearby.

Santanoni Range: A Rainy, Muddy Mess - direct link for any of you poor souls still browsing the web with Internet Explorer


Summit Cheeseburgers

I just received a discussion thread through the Catskill 3500 Club distro that points to a website with a new hiking goal: to consume a cheeseburger on every named peak on the planet. Here's the weblink:

To date, it appears that cheeseburgers have been eaten (and recorded on the site) atop only  3 ADK peaks, to include Mt. Marcy.


Climbing Log: Wright Peak

Mountains Climbed: Wright Peak
Date of Hike: Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Hikers: Seth C. Burgess, Jessica L. Burgess, Adam C. Chapin, Joseph P. Burgess, Brendan Eckner

Trail Conditions: Icy, extreme wind on summit

Comments: Started out from ADK Loj around 1130 and made fast progress on the iced trail. Donned Stabilicers at the trailhead and never switched out for the rest of the hike. Fairly warm air for December, with mid-40s at the bottom ranging into the low-30s as we ascended toward the junction to Wright. The waterfall was running strong with all the snowmelt caused by the past few days' rain.

Grizzly Adams in front of waterfall


The Ultimate StairMaster

Almost a year to the day has past from my first High Peak. Another Moon lit weekend of Adirondack Adventures lay in wait. The group(Joe, Seth & Jessica Burgess, Stacey VanOoyen, Colleen DeCracker, James Zeger(JZ), Mike Frey and Brendan Eckner) arranged by Seth met up at good old South Meadow Farms to begin gear up. Again Snow Shoes courtesy of Cascade Cross Country Ski Center. There will definitely be a pattern here during the winter season. Getting a good start the Entire groups set out to the trail head off RT. 73. South from St-Huberts about a mile in Roaring Brook Trail would be a more difficult Accent yet due to heavy cloud cover the longer and scenic perks of Ridge Trail didn't seem to matter. Vertical Gains of 3,374 ft were felt early due to the grueling pace set by James and Colleen (The Animal) DeCracker as I called her that day anyway. I think only One member of the team had to turn back because of Asthma issues, but once one goes you loose a few more. The remaining(Joe, James, Colleen, Mike and I) continued.

Taken by Joe Burgess Jan 5,08

My legs began to feel like the rigor mortis set in due to bad cramps, thank God James had some Ibuprofen. After 4 hour of what seemed like extreme elevation gain we worked our way into the mist. Although the summit was enveloped by cloud cover, satisfaction flooded the senses all the same. Time at the top of Giant Mt. was short and sweat.

#2 Giant Jan 5, 08


Porter & Cascade

Grizzly Adams, James Zeger, Tanner, and I climbed Porter and Cascade Mtns. on 27 June 2008. Check out the video! It was the 2nd ascent of both for me, now I've done them in both winter (2005) and summer.

Porter Mtn & Cascade Mtn - direct link for any of you poor souls still browsing the web with Internet Explorer


Report Card

After nearly 4 years in the High Peaks, this is the list of the mountains I have climbed so far:
  1. Cascade Mountain
  2. Porter Mountain
  3. Phelps Mountain
  4. Saddleback Mountain
  5. Gothics
  6. Dix Mountain
  7. Algonquin Peak
  8. Nye Mountain
  9. Street Mountain
  10. Big Slide Mountain
  11. Tabletop Mountain
  12. Upper Wolfjaw
  13. Armstrong Mountain
  14. Lower Wolfjaw
  15. Esther Mountain
  16. Whiteface Mountain
  17. Mount Donaldson
  18. Mount Emmons
18/46 = 39%