Trip Report – 19-23 Feb 2014 – Allen & Santanoni

This trip was our push to summit Mt. Allen in the Adirondacks in winter. Mt. Allen is one of the longest hikes (almost 30km) but we needed it to be ADK46ers! We planned to climb Santanoni, Couchsachraga the next day and Seymour the day after.

Day 1 – Getting There

Since Allen is quite the trek and there aren’t good camping spots nearby, we decided to do a car-camping style. We arrived the night before and set up our sleeping pads and bags in the back of our vehicles. I slept with Gibe and Burg in the bed of Gibe’s old pickup truck. It was tight and not the best of shelters but it wasn’t too horrible.

Day 2 – Mt Allen

Camping right at the car lightened the load a bit for our hikes as we could leave most of the stuff at the car. Part of the group opted to use backcountry skis (Hoks) on the flatter sections until snowshoes were required. When we got to that point, the Hoks were left on the side of the trail so we didn’t have to carry them all the way up.

Having learned from our previous experience, we brought some slides to slide down Allen more comfortably.

Video compilation of slides down Mt. Allen

On the way back, I remember Jules having a bit of a tough time (he hadn’t hiked in years) and we basically just helped him by carrying whatever equipment he had (incl skis/snowshoes) so he could walk with as little effort as possible back to the cars. It was a bit of a deathmarch for him, clearly being out of energy several hours before we made it back. I don’t remember when we got back to the car but it was quite late. We had a quick dinner and off to bed. Another night in the cars and we were ready to go!

Day 3 – Santanoni

After waking up, we repositioned the cars and decided to try and hit the Santanoni range. Jules, being exhausted from the previous day, opted to just go into town and grab a coffee while we hiked.

The weather was not very cooperative for us on the way. It was pouring rain and sub-zero temperatures. I remember hiking up and seeing a small river forming and pouring on top of the ice next to the trail. The snow was covered in ice and running water was accumulating and rushing down. In some sections, we were breaking the layer of ice on top of the snow with our snowshoes, only to be soaked by all the water that was running on top of the ice. Our trail was essentially a creek and we were soaked. We managed to make it up to the top of Santanoni, there was some discussion if we should keep going to the next peak but the consensus was, it was a bad idea. We were all quite cold, wet and tired from the day before. We all wanted to keep going and might have been able to, but we were near the limit. If anything went wrong, we didn’t really have enough energy to deal with it (or to keep ourselves warm without moving). So we decided to call it, too unsafe to continue and we headed back to the car.

Once we arrived at Gibe’s pickup truck, everyone got down to their underwear and sat in the cab with the heated seats on. Our clothing was completely soaked and being in underwear was warmer. We were so wet, tired and cold we decided it wasn’t worth camping out for the last night, we opted to check in at a local inn where a warm meal was served and we could stay dry and warm for the night.

We managed to Climb 2 mountains, and reached that point where we needed to make a call based on safety (It’s interesting to go through one of those!) Overall this was a successful trip! Seymour can be conquered next time.

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