Trip Report Marcy Ascent 08June2014

After a day’s rest, I attempted Marcy again, this time succesfully. Decided to leave a bit later. Bought gloves, hat, wicking shirts, because of being cold in the last attempt. Turned out to be unnecessary: it was a warm day. The forecast said fog, and rain late in the day. But there was no fog at all and was not very cloudy. Turns out looking out the window is a good predictor of visibility conditions.

Much self-doubt in the morning. Weather report seemed to be bad. 70% chance of rain. Feet aching. But it seemed nice outside. Decided to go. Pangs of self-doubt and negative thoughts as I set out for the Loj. When I got there realized I had forgotten my wallet. No ID,no cash. Instead of going back to get it, decided to go ahead. Signed out at about 7:30.

Look at Garmin etrex track MtMarcyAscent2014-06-08 for details. Nice to play it overlaid on the ADK map at 40x actual speed.

First person to sign out for Marcy. Walk to Dam seemed longer than last time. In general pessimistic mood. Wearing two shirts, carrying one liter collapsible bottle and a 2-liter collapsible in the pack. Marcy Dam sign out around 8:00.Nice weather. Irrational fear of getting caught in mountains in rain makes me walk fast. Also black flies eat you alive if you stop. Garmin gps not really necessary on the well maintained van Hovenberg trail. But seeing waypoints fall gives psychological boost. People start to pass me on way to Marcy. Pass Phelps Mt turnoff in just half hour. One more hour to
Indian falls. Didn’t see table top trail but didn’t stop to look either.

Feet ache. Flies bite. Pushing myself forward. Energy boost from Hersheys chocolate bar and Snickers. Another hour to meet Hopkins trail. Starting to be optimistic I will make it this time. Great view of Marcy from old lean to site. Can se people who passed me dotting the path. Last time I was here it was bleak. No view, just fog driven by whistling wind. That time mountain seemed to whisper in my ear to stay away. This time the mountain is welcoming me up. Cant stop long because of flies.

Dropped bag at intersection to Phelps trail from JBL. Group of young hikers, whom I would cross many times in the day, sitting around. Much easier to climb up open rock without bag. Reached the cairn I saw last time, the place I turned around. Much better day and reassured by many hikers in front and behind me. No foreboding of doom this time.

Somehow got off track, easy to do on rocks if you lose track of blazes. Followed rarely used but visible trail through the brush around a big rock. Climbed up rick to where I could see people. Back on track now. Summit easy now at 11:30. Just 3.5 hours from Marcy Dam. One guy was finishing his 46th peak, Summit steward Kayla(?) chatting with about 20 people hanging about there.

Didn’t linger too long. Still afraid of getting caught in the rain, knowing I hike slower than most of these people. But rationally, expecting to be back in three hours. In fact took longer to climb down than up.

Hike down uneventful but loooong. But on later look just as fast as ascent. (2:30 hours from Marcy Dam to Hopkins both ways.) Marcy Dam at 3:08. Round trip 7 hours. Walk from Marcy to Loj long but routine. Signout 4:01. About 9 hours round trip again. Took just under one hour.

1. If the weather looks good trust your sight better than yahoo on fog.
2. Not bad to not climb a mountain that is telling you not to. Better come back after a day.
3. Garmin track replay is great fun to watch.
4. Learn to use mountain water like the experiences hikers. Start giving up snickers bars.
5. Go hiking weekends when many people are around. More confidence.
6. Fight negative thoughts early in the trip.
7. Make checklist, including obvious items like wallet.

I owe the ADK loj an extra donation for parking.

Trip Report MarcyAttempt 6June2014
(with 3 hrs Sunlight to spare in June).
Marcy Hike is about nine hours (5 UP 4 DOWN) return trip.
Read a trip report from someone who struggled to make it back from Marcy and got caught in the dark and rain. Let that influence me too much. So left very early, still dark,

Forecast said 52 with 70 by noon. That is in the valley. Summit was fogged in.
Need undershirt that wicks sweat. Fleece and rain coat. Wear Gloves early before fingers go numb. Hat a must.

Wore just a hooded tshirt, long hiking pants with a light rain coat in the bag. Should have dressed warmer. Added to mistake by abandoning tshirt to save on weight. (Hid it under a tree, marked the spot on gps unit. But somehow it had no record of it later, so lost shirt.) Had to stop just 0.28 mile from summit because too cold and fog scared me.

Carried too much food: 4 bananas, peanut butter jar etc. Didn’t use.

5. GPS is useful even on well marked trail. Waypoints give a paych boost as you go from one to the next.

6. van Hoevenberg trail to marcy trail is excellent, well marked. A few steep piches. Other than weather at the summit everything was quite predictable. Only last half mile is exposed to wind.

4:33am Signout ADK Loj. Dark. Flashlight for first mile.
5:33 am Marcy Dam sign out. Drizzling. Dawn. Changed hooded tshirt for rain coat.
6:16am Mt Phelps turn off.
6:25am Footbridge across Phelps brook
7:07am Indian Falls. Couldn’t locate Table Top mountain turn off. Sign says 3 mi to Marcy GPS way points keeping spirits up.
7:11 Marcy Brook crossing. Rain. Wrongly smug about ditching tshirt to reduce weight.
8:11 Hopkins trail. Moving much faster than expected. 1.2 miles to Marcy. Getting cold. Foggy. Fingers lost control. Hard to put on gloves. Feeling fine I thought, but looking back, cold was affecting co-ordination and judgement. Cant type on iPhone anymore with gloves on.

Soon after met Phelps trail. Really worried now. Need to walk fast just to avoid cold. Only 0.6 miles to summit. But no view. Arrived up here too soon?
GPS way points keep falling. Open Rock. Cairn. 0.28 miles from summit. Next blazes visible. Wind blowing fog around. Whistling mountain scary. Turning back.

Met first hiker of the day. Bill from Iowa. Has down all the 14ers in Colorado. Here to do highest point in NY state. Says this is not easier than 14er, just different. Putting on his warm clothes. Offered that I could join him in climb. But decided not to join him. Got spooked by the mountain.

Descent uneventful. Saw about ten hikers going up. They must think I summited.
Couldn’t locate the hooded shirt I left behind a birch tree. The gps didn’t save the waypoint. Bad karma leaving shirt.

12:18 pm Marcy Dam signout
1:17 pm sign out loj.
Forgot soap so decided not to take the hot shower. Drove home to shower and nap.
A great hike even if no summit. 9 hours Loj to Loj.

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