View Full Version : South Western Slides on Macomb

04-01-2004, 01:32 PM
I am planning a trip to get all the Dix's. Macomb, Grace, Carson, and Dix of course. My thought was to hike in from Elk lake, and take a modified course up the Slide Brook path. If you follow the second branch from the brook, it leads to what appears on the map to be a long slide which brings you close to the top of Macomb. Has anyone gone this way? I know this is not the standard way of climbing Macomb, but I thought it might be more fun, because the slide is considerably longer then the one on the Western Face. What do you guys think?


04-01-2004, 02:57 PM

If I am not mistaken, the Southwestern Slide was the main route up Macomb, until the newer Western slide opened up. As you are walking along the trail from Elk Lake to Slide Brook, the SW slide is quite visible, although it gives the impression of being quite steep, which it isn,t.
If we are talking about the same slide, I don't believe that it ends at the true summit of Macomb, but ends on the ridgeline about a half mile south of the true summit. From there it's an easy walk to the north.
The two downsides of that route are that the slide is growing back in a little, but it is still very manageable. The other is that the route to the base of the slide doesn't get the traffic it once did, so route finding may be a little dicey. That is compounded by the fact that the blowdown from Floyd in there is thick. But I know that people still take that route, but more as a way down the mountain after ascending the Western slide. It sounds like fun!

04-01-2004, 04:23 PM
Don't forget Hough, too!

04-01-2004, 05:13 PM
Last August, I hiked up the Western slide and attempted to come back down the southwestern slide. The brush along the ridge between the two slides is thick to very thick. I actually followed a "path" that came off the ridge too soon and I missed the slide. Ended up bushwhacking back to the Western slide.

I'll be re-doing this one soon.

04-01-2004, 05:28 PM
A few years ago, I climbed up that slide. It was kind of thick getting to it, but it was managable.

Last summer, I went to do it again. The Floyd stuff was horrendous. I said 'Why' and changed for a more traditional route. Of course, with the Floyd stuff, you just MIGHT find a decent path through it. I didn't.

04-01-2004, 05:50 PM
Ok, so the Southwestern route seems like the best choice. Now we are deciding which is better, to backpack it, or daypack it. Our plan is to camp out at Elk Lake Parking Lot (Hush Hush), and get an 8am start the next day. We would like to hit Macomb, Grace, Carson, Hough, and finally Dix, returning to one of the leantos along the trial back to the elk lake parking lot. Is it do-able as a day hike, if we drop our packs at the first shelter? Would this be unsafe in late April? Has anyone done this?
The next day we plan on heading over nippletop (bushwhacking it) and then hitting Colvin, finally staying overnight towards upper ausable (not too close, for it is private land). From there, we are not sure what we will do. What do you guys think? Doable?

04-01-2004, 05:58 PM
I hiked the western slide both last summer and last last summer.
Last summer hiked it down from Macomb. I can't remember any details about finding it, so it must have not been so hard. The bottom of the slide as it becomes the brook is very technical (steep, wet rock) before you find the herd path farther down. The herd path is, well, somewhat obstructed...lots of really big blowdowns. We sometimes lost the trail for a while, but would eventually find it. again. Only take that route if you don't mind climbing over hundreds of huge trees.
That was after doing the whole range from the shelter near Dial Pond. We then hiked back to the shelter and slept. Next day we bushwhacked following Gravestone Brook to Leach trail, then went up Dial and Nippletop, and back out to that golf course. I would not recommend that route. You end up hiking Dix twice to get back to the shelter.

Two years ago we hiked the range from the Slide Brook shelter, up the same western slide of Macomb, coming back through Hunter's Pass. I would recommend that way. More efficient, though you can't go bag Dial and Nippletop. Oh well.
Western Slide. Doable.

04-01-2004, 06:07 PM
I've done it starting at the Slide Brook lean-to (the first one in) and I would strongly suggest making the easy (a few level milies) haul to there as opposed to the trailhead (and very illegal) camp spot. Besides, It's puts you in a great spot to start the difficult, but reasonable dayhike through the range.

I did it with a pretty fit group in ideal July weather and the entire range (slide brook to slide brook) took about 9 unhurried hours. certainly plan for more on a late April jaunt.

Once on top of the ridge it's pretty straight forward. If you plan on doing the whole range in a day, you are certainly better off taking southwest Macomb slide (rather than the old route) and wasting, what will later become much needed time, routefinding from the top of the older slide to Maccomb summit, via the older grown in herd path.

Here's my trip report for the DIX RANGE (http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/46er-flash/mountains/dix.htm) (if it'll help ya).

04-01-2004, 06:10 PM
Percious -

Regarding the post where you planned to camp at the Elk Lake trailhead - please don't.
The trailhead and the trails are all easements surrounded by private property. The ELL folks are decent to the hikers. There is no camping there and no place to dispose of your waste where the rest of us will not sooner or later come across it. Please find a campground or camping spot somewhere else. This kind of stuff, done by everyone, is what causes problems for those who follow the rules.
If you were planning on a fairly late 8am start, whats an extra few minutes driving time to the trailhead in the morning?

04-01-2004, 08:43 PM
We will not be arriving at Elk Late until about 2am. So, we plan to camp there for a few hours of shut eye, and be up before anyone is the wiser. We NEVER leave garbage at any camp site, and practice LNT everywhere, even if car-camping. We have set up our tent in the parking lot there 1 time before, and no one bothered us. Last time we hiked to Blake (the hard way) It was very rewarding. Has anyone bushwacked up to the top of Nippletop from Slide brook leanto before?

Tom H
04-02-2004, 05:55 AM
First, check that the gate at Clear Pond will be open. I don't recall the timing for the spring opening of the gate. Second, even though this has been a light snow year expect snow, perhaps a lot. I just checked my records from '03. On April 19 I did the Dix Range in deep snow. On May 10 I again did the Dix Range, this time with some areas of deep snow, in particular on the north slope of Macomb. I recall that day being quite a challenge, even with snowshoes I was breaking through waist deep into heavy snow that set like concrete around the snowshoes.

04-02-2004, 09:30 AM
I'm with Tom H - I'd be really wary of lingering snow in the Dixes, especailly in April when the snowpack starts to get rotten. Remeber a time several years ago when the snow up high in the Dixes lasted well into late May. Snowshoes or not, everyone was busting through. Wouldn't want to get caught up high with your packs down at a lean-to.

My 2 cents.

04-02-2004, 09:34 AM
Thanks Tom for your recommendations. I dont suppose anyone out there knows how to find out ahead of time if that gate will be open? I am thinking we should just suck it up, take the western slide, and bring our full packs with us the entire day, so that we may camp anywhere below 3500 feet. Does anyone know of any good place to camp once you are up in the thick of it? I will also consider any other recommendations people have for camping not-at-elk-lake for the night before our adventure.

04-02-2004, 10:48 AM
If there is no snow in the lower elevations, it should only take a little over an hour to get to the Slide Brook lean-to. Once on the herd path, you'll have a hard time finding an open spot in the dark.

04-02-2004, 02:58 PM
Gate opens same time as the Elk Lake Lodge every spring and closes at the end of their season in late October.

04-02-2004, 04:18 PM
Has anyone bushwacked up to the top of Nippletop from Slide brook leanto before?

I Bushwhacked from Hunter's pass to the DIal - Nippletop trail, and climbed both. This is one of several option that I would not hesitate to do.

1: B-whack over Beach rigge and ascend the inlet to Elk Lake reaching the slide and going up the slide to Nipletop

2: b-whack a compass line from Dix pond inlet right up.

On the Hunters pass b-whack, if you do this, stay low after leaving hunters pass and aim for the col between Nipppletop and the next northerly prominence, that lies less than a mile north. This will allow you to avoid blowdown in the area. Coming back across avoid travelling to the right (SSW) as this will take you to and down cliffs that get increasingly difficult as you become more committed.


04-03-2004, 08:28 PM
Ok, Here is what I was thinking. And how is that slide with the ? attached?


04-04-2004, 03:03 AM
I am pretty sure that is the route that follows what looks like a very steep streambed or slide. I think that is also where you'll find gas cans and other junk from an old camp. I would consider maneuvering up it following the less steep sections; it could be quite steep (read: "cliffs"). Thats another reason to consider doing the Mag N. compass line from the stram crossing just pass the Dix Mt trail juction. BTW camping at this spot is really nice.

The one with the ? is the one I was talking about when I wrote "1: B-whack over Beach rigge and ascend the inlet to Elk Lake reaching the slide and going up the slide to Nipletop.

The slide has been reported on here several times, positively I believe. Most of those that have written about that slide accessed it from the top, from Elk Pass. Beech Ridge is the ridge that comes off the SSE side of Nip. USGS topos note falls on the stream that drains the slide and Elk pass, So I would work that in; I have been curious about those falls for years.


04-04-2004, 10:40 AM
Mike is right, that is the West (corrected) Face Nippletop slide that is commonly accessed via Elk Pass. They say it's a ball. Just a note of caution about Beech Ridge though.

Sure looks like an interesting route, but the actual knob known as Beech Ridge is on Private Property (part of Elk Lake holdings), but state land does begin in the saddle between Beech Ridge proper and Nippletop's SSE slope. Many topo programs (including internet based ones) will not show private property holdings on them. The ADK maps that are available (with or without the guide) do show them.

The area shown on the topo above is fine, but farther to the south and over towards Beech Ridge is private. Just make sure to look is all. It shouldn't be to hard to avoid it, AND let us know how it goes, It looks like and interesting route.

04-04-2004, 03:35 PM
Ok, still figuring it out. Im thinking a loop on through to visit those falls might be nice. Im still thinking about heading up via that col (purple). But Maybe (blue) would be better. Anyone know if it is better to head back through red or green. Are those falls obvious enough to know you are on the right falls and use them for orienteering. Im a dork, so I superimposed the Topy on the satellite shot. The red route doesnt look too too bad (i dont *see* any cliffs) Has anyone accompished this?

04-04-2004, 03:57 PM
...only orange, purple and blue. The steeps near the col are llikely to be very steep. If the falls are obvious enough to note on USGS madps I'd think they would be also obvious in person.


These older maps indicate old routs over beech ridge.