Saturday, August 7, 2010

In the backcountry

Four days unsupported in the backcountry of the Adirondack Wilderness.

Jan at Marcy Dam
On the first day we rented the mandatory bear canisters and packed our food and stowed them in the bottom of our backpacks. Then added sleeping bag/pad/tent, stove/fuel/pots, water, emergency gear, minimal clothes and 50+ pounds in each pack we were off. That is one heavy pack to lug 6.3 miles from Adirondack Loj, via Avalanche Pass to Lake Colden. (We brought mostly 'real' food, as we aren't certain about access to dehydrated food when travelling.)

Things we learned that day: 4 days might be the outer limit of what we care to do on our own here, but at 3,000  to 4,000 m altitude this is not a pack I want to carry! Dehydrated food is awesome. We had some Backpacker Pantry with us. Delicious.

Of course, for our hike out on the last day, we decided that going over Mount Colden (#11 of the 46ers at over 4,700 feet - with a solid 1,950 foot ascend over 1.5 miles) since our packs would be lighter (guessing it was still 40 lbs) would be just the thing. We made it up the steep side and down the much more gradual descent (thankfully); 8.3 miles in all. (This is Jan at the summit on a windy, wet day) What a hard day coming out this way. Adirondack peaks are steep and challenging and requiring the occasional climbing move. Not easy with big packs.

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