The view from Lake Placid, NY
Mt. Marcy is located just outside of Lake Placid, NY, where the Winter Olympics were held a little while ago. After applying some suntan lotion, loading up with a gallon and a half of water, 2lbs of protein bars, my trusty Nikon D50, and several lenses, we were ready to climb.
Ready To Climb
The first few miles of the trail weren't bad, mostly flat with fairly smooth terrain. We were making good time.
The trail wasn't bad at first
One of the many great views from the trail
The trail didn't stay friendly for very long though. We were now at the base of Mt. Marcy. The trail turned into a obstacle course of huge boulders and broken bridges.
Watch your step, its a long way to a hospital
One of the many creeks that line the trail
We continued our climb, noticing the change in climate. It was about 70°F at the base, now it was closer to 50°. The plants started to change, the trees started to die off from the lack of oxygen. I understood what the trees were going though. After 4 hours of climbing I was starting to feel like death too.
A mountain lily, these only grow above 5000ft
I was covered in sweat, but thankfully we started to drink up some of our water, which made our packs much lighter. Carrying 15lbs of food and water around doesn't sound like a lot, but you can feel every pound after scaling a mountain for 5 hours.
We must be going in the right direction
But suddenly we found ourselves going downhill a bit. I could see the peak of Marcy in the background looming. Where were we going? Sometimes you have to go down to get back up.
The Peak of Marcy
After 6 straight hours of climbing we finally started to break above the treeline. It was a toasty 40°F up there, but it felt amazing. It really hit me how high up we were.
Breaking above the treeline
Some of the beautiful arctic plant life
We were only about another 1000 feet from the top of the peak. Thats when the trail turned totally vertical. As if the last 7+ miles of rock climbing wasn't enough, we were on all fours scaling the shear cliff.
Logan Traversing the Summit
We had finally made it!
Logan was happy to see the top
I know this sounds cliche, but the view really was worth it. With nothing taller in the entire state you could see for miles.
Ansel Adams would love this view
We stopped for about half an hour at the top, downed some protein bars, water, and took a well needed rest. It was one of the most surreal locations I've ever been in.
A photographer's heaven
One of the many rock piles at the top
The "Cloud Splitter"
I love this in black and white
Soon, it was time for us to climb back down. Another 7+ miles was ahead of us.
On the way back down
The climb down was even more brutal than the climb up. Not only were we exhausted, but it started to rain a bit and this made the rocks slippery. After a few close calls, we took the trail very carefully. The sun began to set. I remember literally having to crawl for a bit toward the end. I have never been so physically exhausted in my life. A 15 mile hike is one thing, but rock climbing for 15 is another thing. I'm glad that I was able to do this though, and that none of us were seriously injured. It was truly one of the greatest adventures of my life.