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Thread: Kilburn, NW Kilburn, Sawtooth 4, Stony Creek, 3 Sentinel range Peaks this weekend

  1. #1
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Brattleboro, Vermont

    Kilburn, NW Kilburn, Sawtooth 4, Stony Creek, 3 Sentinel range Peaks this weekend

    It was an awesome Adirondack whack-tastic weekend.

    Work has been going well, so I bagged Friday and cruised up to Lake Placid to climb Kilburn and NW Kilburn.
    It was very cold. I took the Old Iron Rd (aka barely discernible path near Monument falls on Route 86) approach to Kilburn from the west side. It had rained earlier and I kept getting douched with wet conifer branches which got me pretty wet despite my rain gear. Kilburn wouldn't have been too thick or hard had it not been for the wet conditions.
    After the summit I whacked down to the col between Kilburn and NW Kilburn, and then started the ascent of NW Kilburn. NW Kilburn must be Stewart's bastard cousin or something, because the crown of this mountain was relentless conifers all growing 1/32nd of an inch apart for what seemed like an eternity. Finally I topped out and by then the weather was clearing up. The sun came out and the trees dried out which made the rest of the hike a lot more pleasant. The top was actually fairly open, in stark contrast to the ascent. Absolutely no sign that humanity had ever visited this summit, no herd trail, no small clearing, nothing.
    I then descended the west side down towards the Old Iron Rd. Horrible. Almost unsurpassed in awfulness. I could feel the spruce curse - the ghost of conifer past - of Stewart mountain whispering like a devil on my shoulder: "you're screwed" into my ear as I plowed through hellishly thick Class 5 conifers of doom. After what seemed like the length of the Pleistocene Epoch I birthed from the evergreen womb of madness and pain onto the Old Iron Road, chewed up and spit out, once again into an open world where I could see more than 2 feet in front of me.

    I took the annoyingly long ~4.5 mile trail towards the Ward Brook Truck trail near the Blueberry Shelter. Then near the border of the Ampersand Club property I began the whack to the ascent of Sawtooth 4. Perfect weather. Few bugs, nice breeze. If my goal had been to choose the worst possible route to the top of Sawtooth 4, then I succeeded. I went up the steepest face, where I had to crawl through the thickest god-forsaken conifers of nature's fury and mayhem. Some cool peak-out views of the Seward range at the top and metal remnants of the old canister frame.
    I chose a different route on the way down and it proved to be 5 times better than the path to hell I chose on the ascent. I went slightly east into a gully/col area which proved to be way, way more open then my b-line up the southern front.
    I got back to my truck and then cruised out of the Coreys Rd to Route 30, where I parked at a boat landing and then began the whack up Stony Creek Mountain going from north to south. The whack started out nice and easy. I was dancing like Julie Andrews in the Sound Of Music. There were newborn kittens and butterflies hatching from a chrysalis abounding around me, and we were all singing Judy Garland songs in unison. But then the top 1/5th of the mountain turned to a world of pain. Cliffs, relentless blowdown and stupidly thick conifers bled all over my hopes and dreams. I had to crawl at points. Finally, I stumbled onto the summit. It was hard to find the true summit, because, like NW Kilburn, there was no sign of humanity having ever visited there. But I found what looked like the highest point and then began my descent. I made it back down to Route 30 just at dark. A 17 mile day with tons of bushwhacking. I was so exhausted. I headed back to Lake Placid and went to Wiseguys which is awesome because it's open super late and I ate like their entire menu plus a few tables and the carpet.

    Sunday I did a Slide Traverse in the Sentinel Range. I climbed Sentinel Benchmark, then Slide, then NE Slide.
    The woods in this area was shockingly open and easy going for Lake Placid area mountains. You could like hike and juggle a live baby at the same time and not hit anything, in fact I did. I indeed juggled a live baby while hiking up to Sentinel Benchmark and it didn't hit a thing the woods were so open. You could juggle contact lenses and put a ship in a bottle while simultaneously hiking and it would be no problem man. Seriously though, compared to yesterday, it was pretty straight forward.
    I couldn't believe how far up the deciduous forest went and even on the ridge going from peak to peak, the spruce forest was more open matchstick type forest with plenty of room; only a couple hairy spots the whole day. I really enjoyed these three peaks. I have now climbed all the 3000' peaks in both the Sentinel Range and the Sawtooth Range. It was a whacktacular weekend, lots of fun.

    Looking back at Kilburn from NW Kilburn

    Lake Placid from NW Kilburn

    Conifers: 1; Spencer: 0.

    Seymour and Seward from Sawtooth 4

    Middle Saranac Lake from Stony Creek. I made it down by dark. I brought an arsenal of gear - enough to spend the night in the woods if need be because I started this hike so late. Always big on safety.

    Sentinel Benchmark. It was cool to see this old marker

    Peak out view from Slide Mountain - you can see the Lake Placid ski jumps.
    Last edited by SpencerVT; 05-22-2017 at 06:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Bloomville, New York Avatar: Dress for success!
    Hahahahaha, you are a great writer! This kind of stuff brings back memories, not all of them fond! LOL!
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dennis C.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    In the mtns, being chased (!) & Tewksbury, USA
    Just had to see your pics after that great write-up and .... adventure, Spencer! You're really getting to see just how hard some of these Adirondack mountains 'whack you'.
    "Leave No Stragglers"

  4. #4
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Brattleboro, Vermont
    Thanks guys, it was a fun weekend. Feels good to have completed that challenging Sawtooth range.
    I definitely got bit by Count Whackula many times in there!!!!!

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