Climbing Log: Allen Mtn.

Mountains Climbed: Allen Mtn. (4,340')
Date of Hike: Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Hikers: Seth C. Burgess, Adam C. Chapin

Trail Conditions: Layer of powder on hardpack, transitioning to wetpack

Comments: This long dayhike was a spur of the moment idea. At 2152 on 25 Feb 09, I sent my climbing partner, Grizzly Adams, a Gmail Chat message declaring Allen Mtn. as the destination. He replied, "give me an hour". We were on the road from Wayne County, NY at 0200 and on the trail in Upper Works at 0805.

signing in to the trailhead register at Upper Works

The ski in from the Mt. Adams / Allen Mtn. / Flowed Lands trailhead was quite comfortable all the way to the herdpath split to Allen. Landmarks included crossing the metal suspension bridge (having to take off our skis to do so), crossing Lake Jimmy, skiing past a few small private cabins and the start of the Mt. Adams trail, and crossing the Opalescent.

crossing Lake Jimmy

temporary site for crossing the Opalescent River

The hand-carved sign indicating the start of the Allen Mtn. trailhead turned us right from the DEC's Yellow Trail, although the yellow color itself continues on the herdpath as some group has done an excellent job of marking it, all the way to Skylight Brook, with yellow coffee can lids and yellow circular cutouts from detergent bottles.

start of herdpath to Allen Mountain

coffee can lid (trail marker)

Upon reaching Skylight Brook, we donned our snowshoes and began the long uphill ascent of Allen Mtn. Following Allen Brook to its upper terminus, we came upon a snow-covered rock slide and slowly fought our way up that. The snowshoes I was wearing (Yakima RidgeRunners) were sucking up the sticky pack-snow and not getting much traction from the built-in climbing talons (or crampons), so for me it became a routine of 5-steps / regain strength / 5-more steps all the way to the summit. This took awhile.

Skylight Brook

Finally reaching Allen Mountain's summit, we found ourselves shrouded in a low cloud and couldn't catch much of a view out of the summit vegetation. Grizzly Adams and I snapped some photos and spent around 20 minutes up top before beginning our descent. We then performed a quite enjoyable butt-slide down the steepest section, and glissaded most of the way back down to Skylight Brook.

Me & the Grizzly Adams atop Allen Mountain
(photo taken by Adam C. Chapin)

At Skylight Brook we recovered our stashed skis and carried them through the denser vegetation on the way back up the herdpath, not really in the mood to make all the tight turns and maneuvering that section of the path requires. When our arms tired, we put the skis back on and were pleasantly surprised to find that the changing snow condition was not very sticky, just wet and a little bit slower.

The long push back out required a sort of mental cruise control, focusing on making it to the next landmark, one at a time. I suppose the utter lack of sleep the night before played its part. Our fight for sunlit travel was won, crossing the Opalescent in a sort of pre-sunset and then returning to my Chevy Avalanche at the trailhead at 1745, making for total hike time of 09:45 hrs.

pre-sunset Opalescent

loading the skis back on top of my Av

We stopped in Holland Patent at Grande's Restaurant on the drive home and consumed an entire large pepperoni pizza between the two of us. At 2300, we arrived back at our Wayne County residences, making the round trip travel a 21-hour ordeal.

Special Equipment Required: Skis AND snowshoes. Plus a whole lot of intestinal fortitude.



Gil Burgess said...

Looks like you had a real nice day, Deet!

Unknown said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Seth C. Burgess said...

Indeed, and it was a good challenge. Here is a more typical plan for reaching Allen Mountain's summit--as a 3-dayer!

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a great time. Do you have any upcoming plans? Do you do marathon or anything like that as well?

Seth C. Burgess said...

Yes, we're headed to the Adirondacks this weekend (6-7 March) to hike out of Upper Works.

No marathons for me, of the standard run-race variety anyway. Organized competitive sports have never really been my thing.

One of my hiking/skiing partners does do bike races and triathlons.

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