Avenging Hoffman and Blue Ridge; screwy-ed on Lewey


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May 26, 2015
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Brattleboro, Vermont
Adirondacks climbing TR:​
I climbed Lewey this past weekend.
The wind was as if the mountain was spraying liquid nitrogen on me - who was the wart of a hiker it was trying to freeze off its surface.
I had to break the trail the whole way since the Sucker Brook trail looked like no one had been on it since the Nixon Administration.
There are a couple cliff/steep spots on the whack to Lewey which were vicious and horribly challenging to surmount in winter conditions. Otherwise, the bushwhack part is pretty straight forward.
I made it to the summit and then quickly got the hell out of there.
In retrospect, I would not have climbed in this level of cold. I would not recommend anyone go out in that level of cold either. Even though I lug an enormous amount of backup supplies to keep warm in the event of a mishap, it is still too risky and I would not recommend it. The wind was the biggest problem, just cutting through my layers like liquid nitrogen.
Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.
Going forward I am going to hold off and wait until it's warmer and less windy than that.

Hoffman and Blue:
You may not be able to abort in Texas and Mississippi, but you can still abort for Hoffman and Blue.
Due to being wiped out from Lewey the day before, I started too late for Hoffman and Blue. I approached from the east, going under the Northway and then followed a drainage up towards the col between Hoffman and Blue.
I broke the trail to 3,300' and then realized that I would never make my turn-around time, so I turned around then because it was taking longer and I didn't want to climb in the dark.
Again, know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

I knew that we were getting a snowstorm late this week and that all my trail breaking work would be wiped out.
So I bailed from work on Wednesday and went back up to avenge my defeat on Hoffman and Blue. Moreover, I could use my nice packed down trail I made to 3,300' from my previous attempt before it got covered by the snow.

Blue Ridge Mountain 3,468' (North of Hoffman):
I want to punch this mountain in the face. If I were the President, my first executive order would be to drop the bomb on this peak.
Maybe it would blow it off the 100 Highest List.
This mountain is God's great mistake and after the Gondwanaland separation should have slid off the face of the Earth into the abyss during the Pleistocene Epoch when we still thought the Earth was flat.
Blue Ridge 3,468' has no interesting features, no views, a boring shape, and is a coniferous Bastille of merciless pain.

Hoffman on the other hand is a great mountain. Interesting pointed shape, and lots of views a little ways north past the Summit and also in various peek-out places.
It took me 3 hours to go .7 of a mile from 3,300', up onto the ridge, and then ascend up the cone of Hoffman. It was like swimming uphill in water and quicksand. But I made it.
On the descent from Hoffman back down to the ridge, I went more westerly and found a relatively open route which was infinitely better than the easterly way I ascended the cone from the ridge. So much faster and better. Then I took the ridge over to Blue Ridge Mountain as the experience described above.

And of course no hard bushwhack would be complete without a cornea abrasion. I got douched in the face with a branch because I'm an idiot and wasn't wearing my goggles. Today at work when meeting with clients my eye is all bloodshot so I look like the High Times Person of the Year after just leaving the reggae and bluegrass fest.

The whole day was super warm, completely sunny for 90% of the day, just amazing weather.
It took just under 13 hours and was around 12.5 miles.
I stopped at the Ambrosia Diner on the way home and just told them to give me everything they had in the building as if it were a bank-food-robbery. I was so hungry after the 13 hour bushwhack.
Hoffman and Blue Ridge in winter accomplished!

Too cold on Lewey, be safe, don't go. Poor decision which I will not plan to make again.

Going into the tunnel underneath the Northway before daybreak on the way to Hoffman and Blue Ridge yesterday. I think this photo of the dark tunnel was a harbinger of the whack to come:

Glad to know I look like I'm in my '50's in this photo when I'm only 43. The whack to Hoffman aged me!

The Great Range from just north of the summit of Hoffman. So awesome. Beautiful man.

View of Hoffman from a vly after coming off dastardly Blue Ridge:

Whacking down a stream bed off of Blue Ridge. Looks a lot like an ADK herd trail if I didn't know better!

Adirondacks: The Amazon of the North: