View Full Version : colden summit to lake colden???

06-11-2004, 01:44 PM
What would it be like descending mt. colden to lake colden? Is this a very steep trail? Is it easier to climb up it instead? I've had advice given to me that says ascending colden from lake arnold is the way to go, then descend to lake colden and explore avalanche lake and the pass later in the day.

Also, I think I've decided to camp at Avalanche Camp. Does anybody know how many tent sites are at Avalanche Camp?

Thanks everyone for your help in planning my short backpacking trip!!!!


06-11-2004, 02:08 PM
well, yes it is steep. do you get demenshia(SP??) that might be a problem... but the pro is that it offers great views going down into the Lake...just amazing./...

not sure how many tent sites there are but there are a couple of lean-tos in the area..

when do you plan to go,, you should try and get to the area before any weekend.....so many people go to these area...

have a good trip

06-11-2004, 02:22 PM
Several years ago we went in from Lake Arnold and then descended to the lake from the summit. My recollection is that there are first some ledges to be negotiated, and then yes, it was very steep after that. Over a mile down, as I recall.

06-11-2004, 03:12 PM
ADackR: I think you meant acrophobia or vertigo. The word "dementia" would be insulting.

Anyway, it is steep but great views toward the McIntyres and of Lake Colden. Down is always easier than up (to me).

06-11-2004, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by eddie
ADackR: I think you meant acrophobia or vertigo. The word "dementia" would be insulting.

Anyway, it is steep but great views toward the McIntyres and of Lake Colden. Down is always easier than up (to me).

d'oh, yes I meant vertigo, too busy trying to type fast and think fast wihile hiding the page screen on my computer as people walk by...

thanks for the catch

Doc McPeak
06-11-2004, 08:27 PM
Temporary dementia ... comes in handy as you get older.

This trail is steep for a full pack descent. Just take your time and you should be fine. Think twice if it's wet, though. You can also loosen up your top straps and let the pack lean back from your shoulders during the steep sections to help keep you balanced.

Pete Hogan
06-12-2004, 07:13 AM
joshco7 --

I used to lead this trip for the Glens Falls Chapter of ADK. My route was always clockwise ascending to Colden's summit via Lake Arnold and the L. Morgan Porter Trail and descending to Lake Colden. Having been over this route many times, I would not purposely select the ascent from Lake Colden unless my base camp was there and I had no other choice. Although (from Lake Colden) it is only about a mile and a half in length, it is nearly a 2000-foot ascent which makes it consistently steep.

On the other hand...a clockwise strategy provides an incredible Adirondack "high" as timberline on the north summit is achieved.
The entire McIntyte Range unfolds before you and Marcy looms over your shoulder. Also, as you approach the true summit, at a large balanced rock, you can look straight down the Trap Dike to the inky depths of Avalanche Lake. The really neat part about choosing this direction is that you are treated to the incredible beauty of Avalanche Lake after descending to Lake Colden and the historic "Hitch-Up Matildas". You are also able at one point to look straight up the Trap Dike/slide and see the large balanced rock that you previously stood besides from the summit. Colden is one of my top five favorites and a clockwise loop is a classic hike.

06-13-2004, 12:07 AM
Some really good friction burns going from Coldens summit to the lake. Make sure you have good sticky treads. There is almost always some water trickling down the rock making patches slick. And there is a lot of ledge. Almost like taking the escalator down consistently steep.

There is no exposure once you get off the summit though and there is never a point that can't be gotten through by sitting and sliding, if the seat of your pants and your dignity can stand it. What a treat to get down to Avalanche lake though. The trail along that side of the lake is one of my favorite bits of trail. "Hitch up Matilda".

Mike D.
06-13-2004, 06:52 AM
My freinds and I ascended from lake colden last week with full packs, steep but no problems,as Tahawus said though constant water trickle but good ledge to grip on , good luck and enjoy the trip.

06-13-2004, 03:44 PM
I personally would prefer a counterclockwise route. You get the beauty of the slide in Avalanch Pass, Avalanche Lake, and the view up the Dike before there is any serious climbing involved. A little eye candy helps with the push. Plus the descent down to Lake Arnold would be a lot easier on the legs.
There are some pretty good campsites at Avalanche Camp. On the left side, right after the first leanto, behind the outhouse, and there are a couple more after the second leanto, just as you start the climb into the pass.