Trip Report – Mar 2016 – Adirondacks – Couchsachraga and Panther


This was a quick overnight trip in the Adirondacks with objective to conquer Couchsachraga and Panther on the way. This was late February so it does not technically count as Winter summits, we did not need snowshoes, microspikes were required and there was still a good amount of snow all around.

Mar 2016 -  Couchsachraga & Panther  - Adirondacks

Day 1 – Getting to the Adirondacks and lean-to

The only other person available for this trip was MAS, who lived in Montréal while I was in Ottawa. We decided to meet up just outside Montréal at a Tim Hortons, I transferred my gear to MAS’s car and left my car in the parking lot (hoping it would not get towed away!). Since we left after work (and about a 4hr drive), by the time we got the the trailhead it was dark and it was basically a headlamp hike. It was a bit difficult in some places especially with less visibility. I slipped on some ice, fell and scraped my hand but nothing too serious. We made it to the lean-to (just at the bottom of the trail to Panther) and set up our sleeping bags for the night with a candle for ambiance.

Day 2 – Couchsachraga, Panther and back home

We woke up, had a quick breakfast and packed our gear. We left our packs and gear in the lean-to and only took daypacks so we could hike light and come back to pick up our gear. It’s a pretty straight shot since we opted not to go try for Santanoni, having to carry our gear up with us would have slowed us down too much. We hadn’t seen it too much the night before but the snow was melting quite a bit and creeks were flowing. We got wet very quickly from the water that was pouring and just hiking in milder temperatures.

We first headed up the steep climb and then towards Couch since we had both climbed Panther at some point and it wasn’t the main objective. I remember this hike feeling really long, it feels like you keep going and going, downwards for a good while before starting to climb back up. Looking at the GPS data, Couchsachraga is about 172m lower than the junction where you can go to Panther, Couchsachraga, Santanoni or back down to the lean-to (it is often referred to as “Times Square”). So the hike from this point is mostly down, but you actually need to hike down 270m before going up 100m to the peak of Couchsachraga.

On the way back, we did the few hundred meter walk from “Times Square” to Panther since we had time and we were right there.

Two hikers taking a selfie on top of Panther peak in winter

After that, we hiked back down to the lean-to, grabbed our packs and headed on the trail towards the car. I took a few pictures of the broken bridge going across a brook. A little bit of acrobatics and balancing were required to not slip and fall, especially challenging with a loaded pack.

We then drove back to Canada, and back to that Tim Hortons where my car hadn’t been towed (thankfully!) said our goodbyes and each headed back home. A good quick trip!

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