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Thread: Great Slide on Grace: 2012 November 18

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    Senior Member Mudrat's Avatar
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    Great Slide on Grace: 2012 November 18

    Disclaimer

    PICTURES

    After several days of conferring with friends, passport issues (sorry Trail Boss) and technology issues the target was set: Grace’s Great Slide. Google Earth (a really rough route) shows the mileage/elevation at around 11 miles/3700’. Greg Karl and I set off at about 8:15 a.m. with temperatures somewhere in the mid-20’s Fahrenheit.

    My last visit through the Boquet River Valley was a few years ago so I was anxious to get back and explore. The water was at normal levels so the river crossing 10 minutes into the trek went without issue though it was fun discerning the dry rocks from those partially encased in ice. Farther along after the crossing from the North to South Fork Boquet, the perks of hiking during mixed season, free of a canopy of leaves, became apparent as E-Town #4, and Spotted came into view. They looked far off and oppressively high to my still-tired mind.

    As we reached the confluence with the drainage from Dix’s east face, I looked up to another impressing sight…the steep Beckhorn Slide coated with snow and ice. I was glad I’d prepared for all conditions with gear over-kill: rock climbing shoes, crampons (low hiking boots for the crampons), microspikes, an ice ax and trail runners that I was wearing at the time. Call me neurotic, but I’ve been caught in bad situations one too many times to not be cautious. Looking forward a few hours…I’d use all but the rock-climbing shoes later in the day (though part of the upcoming climb might have been easier if I’d taken a minute to put them on).


    Looking up the slide from near the bottom.

    Greg called out the elevation at various benchmarks along the way until we reached the drainage of the Great/Not So Great Slides at about 2600’. We were hiking in about 2 inches of snow with occasional patches of ice by this point. The herd path climbed steeply before it crossed the bottom of the first open slab. Beyond, it wound through the woods en route to its intersection with the Grace-Carson herd path just west of Grace’s summit. I’d hoped the rock wouldn’t be as icy since my last trek up this slide was in full winter conditions. ‘Tis the season for ice, though. I put the microspikes on my trail runners at this point.

    A few minutes later, I changed into the boots and crampons to climb up the center of the icy run. Greg trekked along the side for a bit before joining me just below the most dominant feature of the mid-slide section, a 6’ ridge of stone. The ice began to clear slightly above this. Before I knew it we were changing back out of the boots/crampons into the trail runners again. Greg kept the spikes on and aimed for icy/snowy areas while I gravitated toward any open rock while gingerly working upward. I couldn’t avoid the ice/snow at all times, but made sure I was protected when necessary. The mixed climbing increased the difficulty until about 3800’ in elevation.




    Upper Pitches to the Side

    Nearing the top, the conservative route follows the chute to the right where it leads to the summit ridge. Steep pitches of mixed stone/ice beckoned from the left. I should have used the rock climbing shoes at this point, but chanced the sneakers. Calling a spade a spade, I was just lazy and tired of changing footwear and the pitches fell within my comfort zone. Stopping on occasion to enjoy the stone creations, I slowly climbed and found myself beneath the near vertical wall of the ridge. Greg appeared to my right and we ascended our respective routes to the top which we reached at about 12:20.

    We found a comfortable spot of stone and enjoyed a leisurely lunch warmed by the sun. After a few minutes and with stomachs full, we focused our attention on Spotted Mountain…about a mile’s bushwhack down the ridge to the northeast. By now, my sneakers were soaked (the boots give me blisters so I didn’t want them back on my feet). The exertion kept them warm even coated with snow. I love open rock and the ridge is riddled with it. Occasional runs of black ice made it more challenging than a summer trek especially during the scramble down the far side of Spotted.


    Greg climbing up Spotted Mtn.

    We hoped to be back at the car without use of headlamps, so we didn’t spend the time going up E-Town 4. Rather, we bushwhacked down to the South Fork Boquet from the col just before. A more pleasant bushwhack, I can’t imagine! The open forest on the gentle slope had some easily avoided blowdown and we never strayed more than a few hundred feet away from the small drainage. This nearly paralleled the S F Boquet near the bottom before merging (see the last pic of the set). A quick climb up the opposing ridge set us back on the herdpath. I couldn’t resist slipping into the stream (darn icy rocks) at the final crossing 10 minutes from the car. 4:45 p.m. saw us back at the car and on the way to get pizza. Thanks for the company, Greg!
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.
    Full list of trip reports, photo galleries, mosaics & video at: http://www.adirondackmountaineering.com

  2. #2
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Kevin,
    Thanks for the vicarious pleasure.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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    Senior Member Mudrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peakbagr View Post
    Kevin,
    Thanks for the vicarious pleasure.
    My pleasure! I'll pop a few more up this week, Alan. Thanks.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.
    Full list of trip reports, photo galleries, mosaics & video at: http://www.adirondackmountaineering.com

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