Sunday, November 8, 2009

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

Back in October, a friend from grade school, whom I've recently reconnected with, accompanied me on a hike up Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge. This was my fourth time on Giant Mountain, but my first time to the summit. My husband and I went once to the base of the Roaring Brook Falls and once again on the Zander Scott trail to Giant's Washbowl. Sister and I went to the top of the Roaring Brook Falls and over to the Washbowl on the Roaring Brook Falls trail.

Giant's Wasbowl from Zander Scott Trail

We began on the Zander Scott trail and followed that to the Washbowl. Going to the right of the Washbowl, we continued up to some of the bare rock ridge of the mountain. The views along the ridge are attributed to a forest fire in 1913 that took out much of the forest there and on Rocky Peak Ridge. It wasn't long before we encountered some ice on the ridge where the Washbowl and Chapel pond are visible. We heard some grouse, and found some needle ice along the way. At the junction of the East Trail, which we'd later take over to Rocky Peak Ridge, we were excited to see that we had only 0.2 miles remaining. The summit of Giant was awesome, with views of the Ausable club, the Great Range, Whiteface, and many more high peaks.

Attempted Tilt Shift Simulation of the Ausable Club from Giant Summit

Giant Mountain's full name is Giant of the Valley,named by the residents of Pleasant Valley to the mountain's east. Charles Brodhead, a surveyor, was the first to climb Giant Mountain. Actually, he was the first to climb any mountain over 4000 feet. He was surveying the boundaries of the Old Military Tract, which would later be divided up for compensation to Revolutionary War soldiers. In 1797 Brodhead went up the east face and directly back down the west face, most likely a route that was never done again. In 1866, the first trail was made, via Hopkins Mountain, and in 1873 the Roaring Brook trail was made. The Zander Scott trail, which we took, was formerly known as the Ridge Trail when created in 1954, but was renamed in 1992 after a summer resident of Keene, an active member of the ATIS hiking program, who was killed in a plane crash. The Zander Scott trail is the shorter trail with the easiest access to the Nubble and the Washbowl. The three mile trail brings you up an elevation gain of 3050 feet, a total elevation of 4627 feet, making Giant the 12th highest peak in the Adirondacks.

From Giant Summit

After conquering Giant Mountain, we decended 0.2 miles to the East Trail and over to Rocky Peak Ridge. It was a steep decent into the col between the two mountains. We encountered large amounts of ice that my Stablicers could not handle, making the mere 1.1 mile hike over to Rocky Ridge Peak quite difficult, and I really felt bad for my buddy in hiking boots! We survived, and made it to the top of Rocky Peak Ridge. It was well worth it. The large summit is marked by a large cairn and is open, providing 360 degree views of the high peaks, Giant Mt, the Green Mountains, and Lake Champlain. Rocky Ridge Peak ranks 20th in height, at 4420 feet. We were pleasantly surprised at how it was not that windy on the summit.

View from Rocky Peak Ridge Summit Seemed Endless

These were my fourth and fifth high peaks, respectively, and Becky's second and third. I had done the up, up, down, up, down, down routine when climbing Cascade and Porter in the same day earlier this year, I forgot what a wear it is on the knees! We followed the same path back up to the near summit of Giant before decending all the way back down to Rt 73. A total of 8.2 miles. The struggle with the ice and my slowed knee pain pace on the way down Giant extended the trip about an hour longer than we had planned (which was an overestimate to begin with), but still had allowed plenty of time for us to make the trip down before dark.

Me on my Fifth High Peak In Front of My Fourth

Mountain and trail information obtained from the 13th edition of the Adirondack Mountain Club's book Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region.


Justine the ETSY Blogger said...

Wow you are a brave woman! I haven't been hiking in years!

storybeader said...

the views are great, and how nice to meet up with an old friend! Love the history lesson, too. Sorry I haven't been around much. Been in Marketing Bootcamp - learning a lot but it takes up most of my "spare" time! {:-Deb

knittingdragonflies said...

Thanks for sharing, I'm out of breath. The view is fantastic!

Splendid Little Stars said...

sounds like fun! This made me curious so I did a little internet searching.