View Full Version : Great Range-Adirondacks

10-01-2004, 01:26 PM
OK, I'm very familiar with the term, The Great Range and I've hiked the peaks in the Great Range. But I'm not sure what all the peaks in the Great Range are.

My inital understanding was that "The Great Range" consisted of Snow, Rooster Comb, Hedgehog, the WolfJaws, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, Haystack and Marcy. In my investigation I've found other lists of the great range that say Marcy isn't in the great range. Others lists I've read have said Haystack isn't part of the great range either. Other lists include Gooseberry Mt, a peak along the ridge near Gothics.

My question: is there official "Great Range" or is it just an arbitrary designation? I'm planning a great range traverse but I really need to know what peaks it involves first.

10-01-2004, 06:10 PM
Interesting question TH! First off, Gooseberry is not a trailed peak, so I don't think it's included. Not to mention that it isn't in the so-called Great Range.

Secondly, is there a difference between the Range and the Range Trail? In other words, are Hedgehog, Rooster Comb and Snow part of the Range, or are they part of the Range Trail? Ye poses a good question!

10-01-2004, 07:05 PM
FWIW, the peaks of the Great Range are listed in the AMC Guide (High Peaks Region), p. 51-52:

Rooster Comb, Hedgehog, Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothic, Saddleback, Basin, haystack, and Marcy.

An asterisk also indicates that Rooster Comb is a "0.5 mi. side trip from the 'direct' trail to Hedgehog and Lower Wolf jaw Mt." I'm not sure why Snow Mt. should not then also be included, but it apparently isn't.

Masshysteria suggests why Gooseberry is not (should not?) be included. If it were, should not Sawteeth also be included?

No doubt someone with a better knowledge of the geography of the mountains than I will have the answers!

10-01-2004, 08:43 PM
I've never considered Marcy as part of the range. When I stand on Haystack and look back over the range it's clearly defined. Marcy is to the west and "alone". When I stand on Marcy, it's clear there's a 'path'/line starting at Haystack running north. I also feel alone/separate from the rest of the mountains when I'm on Marcy.

On a separate train of thought -- I would argue, as a few have already in this thread, that if Marcy belongs so should Sawteeth and Snow.

10-02-2004, 12:39 AM
Of course it's semantics. Remeber that there's an "ADK Range trail," which goes over UWJ, Armstrong and Gothics, and also a "State Range trail," which goes over Saddleback, Basin, Haystack shoulder and Marcy. So is one of those groups of peaks "The Range" and another one not? All just fluff.

The most commonly accepted description is from the ADK High Peaks Region Guidebook, in the section titled "Mt. Marcy from Keene Valley via the Complete Great Range."

The original list included RoosterComb because the old route, which used the now closed trail from the Garden Road, went directly over the summit of RoosterComb. So even though the trails have changed (about 8 years ago), the side trip to RC is mentioned because it was once on the direct route. Snow never was, hence the difference.

The list is: RoosterComb (now a sidetrip), Hedgehog, LWJ, UWJ, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddlebcak, Basin, Haystack shoulder (note that Haystack itself is a sidetrip on its spur trail), and Marcy. Even though Marcy is a bit far away, the purpose of the original list of peaks is to go to Marcy via the range. You can go anywhere you want, of course, but when most people talk about the Great Range, or the Great Range Traverse, they mean going to Marcy. It's common for hikers to spot a car or arrange a ride from Adk Loj, to shorten the trip out. It's also commonly done in the opposite direction (Marcy first), but I've always though of that as anticlimactic.

Regardless of what you call it, it's a great day trip, and a nice introduction to light and fast, long, strenuous hikes.

Have fun!


10-02-2004, 10:05 AM
I guess my confusion came from whether it's a geological term or a hikers term.

The reasons I've seen Haystack and Marcy excluded from the Great Range list is because people have said they were formed by different geological events than those that created the other peaks of the Great Range. In her high peaks book Barbara McMartin says something to the effect that Great Range purists will include Snow Mt. in the Great Range because geologically they are all part of the same range. As far as I can find she doesn't list her definition of the Great Range peaks because I would probably take her word for it.

As far as people hiking it I agree it's mostly semantics. The "crazy 8" people who hike the Great Range include just the high peaks-Marcy, Haystack, Basin, Saddleback, Gothics, Armstrong and the Wolfjaws. I'm not sure what it's called if you do all 11 peaks of the Great Range if there are that many (The insane 11?).

Either way I'm still curious about the geological part, especially if Gooseberry is included. Although including a bushwhack of Gooseberry in a Great Range traverse would probably not be a very good idea. Or would it....?