Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Haystack, Basin and the last snow on Marcy? 05/27/2012
My wife Beth and I have a deal: when there’s an opportunity for her to get another peak towards her 46, she gets to hike. On Sunday Beth teamed up with three of the women she hiked with last summer to tackle Haystack Mountain in the upper Great Range. Haystack is often cited as having the best view of all the High Peaks, not only for its close-up perspective on surrounding peaks like Marcy and Gothics, but also for its feeling of all-encompassing wilderness. As a bonus, the view on Sunday included what may be winter’s last remaining snow in the Adirondacks.
The mild winter has meant an early start to the hiking season, and Beth and her friends picked an aggressive first hike: the round-trip climb up Haystack from the Garden parking area in Keene Valley is approximately 18 miles. The group kept open the option of also climbing Basin, Haystack’s northerly neighbor, increasing the mileage to 20 with 4800 feet of climbing.
It’s not uncommon for snow to linger until June in Marcy’s summit snow bowl, but the snow retreated early from the High Peaks this year. Given the winter we had, it’s amazing any snow remains on Marcy at all. It seems very likely that small patch is the last remaining snow in the Adirondacks from last winter.
Beth made major progress on the 46 last summer, and with just 4 peaks left (Haystack and Basin were 41 and 42), it’s all but certain she’ll finish this summer.
Haystack Mountain, elevation 4960', order of height: 3, first ascent Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps, 1849. Basin Mountain, elevation 4826', order of height: 9, first ascent Verplanck Colvin and Ed Phelps, 1877.