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Adk_dib
06-26-2006, 10:04 AM
Whats everyones opinion on these steps that are built into the trail. I know trail workers really did a lot of work to do this and I appreciate it. Not to mention they look good. I was doing blue mtn in the adirondacks last year when they were building them and the guys looked wore out, god bless them. I did ampersand last weekend and noonmark this weekend and the steps tend to put a lot of pressure on your legs. they are nice coming down but going up you are forced to take large steps staight up instead of smaller steps that are more comfortable. Maybe I am just getting old. :(

lumberzac
06-26-2006, 10:34 AM
They do make it nice coming down off the mountains, but I think the reason they are there is not as an aid to hikers, but to help prevent erosion of the trails.

David Metsky
06-26-2006, 10:39 AM
Rock or wood steps are the only way to make an erosion-proof trail in steep terrain. Rock is much preferable, since it lasts much longer and generally saves work in the long run even though they are harder to build.

The size of rock steps are often dictated by the rocks available, and the length of the legs of the folks doing trailwork. I think every crew should have one person under 5' 6" just to make sure that they don't build steps with too high a rise. However, when all you have a huge rocks, sometimes that's not possible.

-dave-

Pete_Hickey
06-26-2006, 11:11 AM
I was doing blue mtn in the adirondacks last year when they were building them and the guys looked wore out, god bless them. Here's JR and Jen working on setting a rock on Algonquin; long, slow work:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/jrb1.jpg

You can tell, by the angle they are leaning, that they are exerting a lot of force to move that thing.


I did ampersand last weekend and noonmark this weekend and the steps tend to put a lot of pressure on your legs. they are nice coming down but going up you are forced to take large steps staight up instead of smaller steps that are more comfortable. Maybe I am just getting old. IMO, steps are a LOT easier on the leg muscles. Try climbing a nice smooth slide, and you will be begging for steps. Much easier when the foot is flat.

dug
06-26-2006, 12:08 PM
The size of rock steps are often dictated by the rocks available, and the length of the legs of the folks doing trailwork. I think every crew should have one person under 5' 6" just to make sure that they don't build steps with too high a rise. However, when all you have a huge rocks, sometimes that's not possible.

-dave-

Excellent point. You are dependant on the materials you immediately have available to you. However, since it is the backcountry it's going to be a tough sell to say "Hey, that step is too large for me."

I'm over 6', and I have often hiked with my 5'4" mother. Hopping across a stream is vastly different for each of us. Conversely, going around and under blowdowns is a piece of cake for her.

Rivet
06-26-2006, 01:27 PM
I was climbing Algonquin yesterday, and there was a young ADK crew building some steps on a section of trail. But, it didn't really seem steep enough to warrant steps in that location.

I do like that they are starting to brush the trail in to make it narrower, so it doesn't seem like you are walking up a road.

Pete_Hickey
06-26-2006, 01:47 PM
I was climbing Algonquin yesterday, and there was a young ADK crew building some steps on a section of trail. But, it didn't really seem steep enough to warrant steps in that location.Maybe not too steep, but steep enough to have caused a lot of erosion. That trail has lost several feet of soil over the past dozedn or so years.

Jay H
06-26-2006, 01:50 PM
I think every crew should have one person under 5' 6" just to make sure that they don't build steps with too high a rise.

I fit the bill!

I like variety, if there is a day where I am rock hopping, by the end of the day, I will be trying to avoid stairs and stones.
Kind of like climbing hills on my bike, I will alternate between standing and sitting, just to utilize different leg muscles.

Jay

Pete_Hickey
06-26-2006, 01:56 PM
I think every crew should have one person under 5' 6" just to make sure that they don't build steps with too high a rise. We use Joan when she's with us. I think that she's 4'10".

Grumpy
06-26-2006, 02:51 PM
Whats everyones opinion on these steps that are built into the trail. I know trail workers really did a lot of work to do this and I appreciate it. Not to mention they look good. I was doing blue mtn in the adirondacks last year when they were building them and the guys looked wore out, god bless them. I did ampersand last weekend and noonmark this weekend and the steps tend to put a lot of pressure on your legs. they are nice coming down but going up you are forced to take large steps staight up instead of smaller steps that are more comfortable. Maybe I am just getting old. :(

Getting back to the original question (quoted above), I generally like and appreciate steps when I come to them along a steep section of trail. Large steps are difficult for me, though.

Well executed rock staircases always seem to my eye like trailwork art at its best. Things to be marveled over.

G.

Kevin Rooney
06-26-2006, 02:58 PM
Rock steps are far more prevalent on New England trails than New York, and I think that's more a function of the differences in the length of time/resources devoted to formal trailbuilding between the two regions. Formal trailbuilding in some mountain ranges, like the Whites of NH, have been going on for hundreds of years, whereas it's a relatively new activity in the ADKs. As Dave Metsky points out, over time they make the most sense. Rock steps aren't the only ones with inappropriate heights, though. We've all seen steps made with logs that are too high as well.

DougPaul
06-26-2006, 03:14 PM
We've all seen steps made with logs that are too high as well.
And the roots and naturally placed rocks (before the trail crew places steps) aren't always at the optimum heights either...

Doug

RoySwkr
06-26-2006, 07:17 PM
However, when all you have a huge rocks, sometimes that's not possible.

What, Dave, you don't have drills and feathers?

It always amuses me that the same people who think blazes are environmentally insensitive don't seem to mind steps which disrupt a larger area and last longer.

audrey
06-27-2006, 06:23 AM
I appreciate everything that trail builders do, but high steps really do defeat their own purpose because people will walk along the sides. Climbing up with a heavy pack can be nearly impossible.

We once watched steps being constructed on the Marston trail in BSP. They were prying gigantic boulders out of a nearby gully about 7 - 8 feet below the level of the trail. We couldn't stick around long enough to see how they got those boulders up out of the gully.

cbcbd
06-27-2006, 09:52 AM
IMO, steps are a LOT easier on the leg muscles. Try climbing a nice smooth slide, and you will be begging for steps. Much easier when the foot is flat.
I like rock steps for this same reason. My quads have much more power and endurance (for steps) than my calves (for steep inclines).
Plus, with my plantar fasciitis it's much better for me to flat foot it than to ascend something on the ball of my feet.

KMartman
06-27-2006, 10:12 AM
I appreciate everything that trail builders do, but high steps really do defeat their own purpose because people will walk along the sides. Climbing up with a heavy pack can be nearly impossible.

We once watched steps being constructed on the Marston trail in BSP. They were prying gigantic boulders out of a nearby gully about 7 - 8 feet below the level of the trail. We couldn't stick around long enough to see how they got those boulders up out of the gully.

I've seen then doing this in the Deleware river area the past few months...green dot trail I think it is.....they were using a "come along" hand winch...2 trees...you get the idea...time consuming, but...effective.

M

rhihn
06-27-2006, 10:17 AM
Of course we've seen many of these over the years, but the ones we continue to marvel at are the steps on Ampersand. Quite a lot of work must have gone into those! I know that trail has had a history of erosion. They may be there to help the trail, not just to make it convenient for hikers, but personally I'd prefer dealing with steps rather than slip-sliding through mud.

Grumpy
06-27-2006, 11:35 AM
One of the better examples of rock staircase work that Ive enjoyed is on the Long Trail in Vermont, where the route northbound climbs the flank of Mt. Horrid from Brandon Gap. Well done, and almost subtle very natural look and feel.

G.

Pete_Hickey
06-27-2006, 12:30 PM
I've seen then doing this in the Deleware river area the past few months...green dot trail I think it is.....they were using a "come along" hand winch...2 trees...you get the idea...time consuming, but...effective.For the big stuff, a 'High Line' is often used (note: THere are regional variations in its name.)

A cable ssytem is strung high between trees, and the rock is lifted off the ground, and moved. Just like clothes on a clothesline, only heavier.

Note the steel cables at the bottom of the pack:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/tmpadk/jrpack2.jpg

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/tmpadk/jrpack3.jpg

That was after building some steps on Algonquin in the Adironcacks last year.

carole
06-27-2006, 01:19 PM
Building a rock stairway up through my rock garden (meant to be like a trail) gave me a big appreciation of the work involved out on the real trails. :eek:

My only complaint about steps is when a group of hikers decide to use them as their personal seats and sit there without moving while you try to maneuver your way through them. :mad:

Pete_Hickey
06-27-2006, 01:50 PM
My only complaint about steps is when a group of hikers decide to use them as their personal seats and sit there without moving while you try to maneuver your way through them. :mad: Just casually mention that the area is known for having a lot of Jilken's Flies, whose larva (which live/crawl on rocks) is frequently called 'hemroid suckers'. They are initially small, and can crawl through the threads in cloth. They latch onto areas where the sun doesn't shine, attach themselves and start sucking, and don'T stop until they are rather large. Symptoms start with an itchy butt.

Then tell them about the case that you had a few years ago, which you caught from sitting on large rocks.

If you can tell that with a straight serious face, you'll probably convince, at least one group, to never sit on rocks again.

KMartman
06-27-2006, 02:21 PM
For the big stuff, a 'High Line' is often used (note: THere are regional variations in its name.)

A cable ssytem is strung high between trees, and the rock is lifted off the ground, and moved. Just like clothes on a clothesline, only heavier.

Note the steel cables at the bottom of the pack:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/tmpadk/jrpack2.jpg

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/tmpadk/jrpack3.jpg

That was after building some steps on Algonquin in the Adironcacks last year.

yeah it was like that...but it looked like on the end nearest to one of the trees they had a "come along" like a hand winch....was neat nonetheless...I was on the completed staircase this past weekend and it was a great job done...Kudos to those who completed it..didn't look easy at all.. :D

M

DougPaul
06-27-2006, 02:28 PM
yeah it was like that...but it looked like on the end nearest to one of the trees they had a "come along" like a hand winch
A come-along can be used to tension the horizontal cable.

Doug

KMartman
06-27-2006, 02:29 PM
A come-along can be used to tension the horizontal cable.

Doug


Ahhh see they are right...you DO learn something new everyday...

M

David Metsky
06-27-2006, 02:53 PM
Working below Baxter Peak, preserving the alpine tundra.
http://www.hikethewhites.com/baxter/d15.jpg

-dave-