Friday, April 26, 2019
Start/End: Whiteface atmospheric center
Elevation gain/loss: 3576′
I started out from the atmospheric center around 4:15pm. It was raining off and on, and the mountain was mostly socked in. I headed up the trail towards the intersection with the Esther herdpath, and an unstable snow monorail started up quickly. Thankfully, it was cold enough that I didn’t break through the crust very often. I crossed paths with the one person I saw all day maybe a mile before the herdpath, who recommended that I take the road for the last 500 yards or so, to avoid a very steep and icy section near the summit.
Once I arrived at the herdpath, I took off down the side trail. It took me at least half an hour each way, with shin deep postholing happening fairly often. It was a classically wooded summit, with nothing to see except for a plaque.
After getting back to the main trail, I took the right and pushed for the final elevation gain to get to the summit. I popped out by the road, and sure enough, the trail heading up to the summit looked beyond treacherous in the current conditions. The summit was forecast to get 50+ MPH winds, and it was intense. The wind gusts were strong enough to knock me askew, and bang heavy plywood doors like they weighed nothing. I walked along the road, up to the stone staircase that leads to the summit. I was very glad for the rails; with the wind, I needed them to keep me from falling over the edge.
I fought the wind the whole way to the summit, and it felt like an eternity. I promptly turned around and headed down, realizing near the bottom of the stairs that my pack cover had been torn off my backpack by the wind without me noticing. But the view was definitely a $35 view!!!
After that, I put my pack back on and tromped down the toll road for 5 miles as it got progressively more dark but I was able to navigate by moonlight only, due to the smooth asphalt. I decided that going back the way I’d come, while shorter in distance, would take longer than the road walk. As I neared the end of the toll road, I pulled out my headlamp to navigate the gate and then finished my hike with a little more road walking. I nearly lost one of the sections of my trekking pole, but I drove back and found it on the road right near the toll gate.