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Old 05-03-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
DackerDan
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WF/Ester Question

ADKGurl and I have been planning our next adventure. We have held WF & Ester as an option for spring conditions (read mud & bugs) as we can access these mostly via the road and limit our impact. From the WF website it appears the road opens May 18th so as long as we go before then we should be OK (they do not allow walkers on the road when it is open to traffic). WF is easily done via the road but to pick up Ester as well would involve a lot of backtracking (back to the final curve in the road).

Now for the question: On the topo maps there appears to be or was a trail of some sort that goes from the col below Ester back to the road down what appears to be just a moderate slope. Is anyone familiar with this "escape" route? This route does not exist on the ADK map.

I have no problem with a bushwack if there is not a huge amount of blowdown or cliffs to deal with. It would give me a good chance to introduce ADKGurl to some real field M&C work but I don't want to put her in any danger.

Once back to the road it appears it is a nice walk back to the gatehouse.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
DD
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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I believe that's part of the old Schwartz Trail. I've never been on it, but I know people who have and they've described it as "horrendous."
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:55 PM   #3
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The topo map you're looking at may be based on older USGS survey data (probably 1955) and is probably showing a trail that existed when the ski area on Whiteface was located on a different part of the mountain from where it is now. From what I understand, the main ski area until the late 1950s was on Marble Mountain, but a number of trails were cut higher up for use in lean snow periods in the days before snowmaking was developed. I remember considering using that trail to access Esther at one point, but couldn't find any confirmation online that it has been a viable option at any time in the Internet era.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:52 PM   #4
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W/E question

I believe you could ask Lester...

http://forums.adkhighpeaks.com/showt...ghlight=lester
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:25 PM   #5
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Lester was following Neil and I have no plans of taking that route. I know better than to follow Neil
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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I believe that's part of the old Schwartz Trail. I've never been on it, but I know people who have and they've described it as "horrendous."
It could very well be but it is only about 1km of bushwacking. I understand there is a swamp between Ester and Lookout, I was told there is now a bridge or planks across it. It looks like if I scout out a potential dry spot on either side and strike a path in a WSW direction I should hit the road in about 1km and at an elevation of 3700', If it does not pan out I can always backtrack. It appears there is only an elevation drop of 200' over that 1km. We can scout out the potential exit on our way up the road, if it looks like a heanous mess we can drop the plan.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DackerDan View Post
It could very well be but it is only about 1km of bushwacking. I understand there is a swamp between Ester and Lookout, I was told there is now a bridge or planks across it. It looks like if I scout out a potential dry spot on either side and strike a path in a WSW direction I should hit the road in about 1km and at an elevation of 3700', If it does not pan out I can always backtrack. It appears there is only an elevation drop of 200' over that 1km. We can scout out the potential exit on our way up the road, if it looks like a heanous mess we can drop the plan.
I'm not saying this is the case on Esther, but don't let yourself think that just because a bushwhack route is short, that it will always be easy regardless of how thick it gets... Especially when you're at high elevations in the Krummholz zone... I've been on bushwhacks in the high peaks where it took 3 hours to go one mile.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
I'm not saying this is the case on Esther, but don't let yourself think that just because a bushwhack route is short, that it will always be easy regardless of how thick it gets... Especially when you're at high elevations in the Krummholz zone... I've been on bushwhacks in the high peaks where it took 3 hours to go one mile.
Agreed - as an example - I would never attempt to bushwack in that zone between Algonquin and Boundary or Iroquois after having seen just how thick and tangled up it can get. I figure if I make this BW my plan then I will do a little scouting from the road on the way up the road to WF and then again just before I commit on Ester. If it looks like a tangled mess, or lots of blow down or obvious terrain features then I won't risk it. We can always hike down Marble or back up to the road.

One thing I have learned is that distance means relatively nothing, it's all about the terrain.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #9
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There is a lot of that thick young spruce up there. The kind you have to swim through. Not cliffs, not blowdown... Just thick.

Winter is a good time to scout out bushwhack routes. Hardwood areas are easy to identify.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:52 PM   #10
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Dan, you might want to take a look at this. Not the exact route you're talking about, but it might give you some idea of what you'll be up against.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:46 PM   #11
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Dan, you might want to take a look at this. Not the exact route you're talking about, but it might give you some idea of what you'll be up against.
Thanks - that link was very useful! I think he took the same path Neil described in a post 2 years ago (see the Lester link in a post above).
My planned route would have us starting the whack about 400' lower in elevation and hopefully below or close to the end of the spruce line. In looking at the Satellite imagery there seems to be a path or stream bed we could pick up. But I am not committed to this in any way, if it looks like an option we will take it. If I see thickets from that point I won't.

Worst case, we hike back up to the hairpin and down the road. That involves about a 400' climb back out of the col between lookout and Ester and a gentle wander down hill to the end.
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:28 PM   #12
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My observation was that Pete is correct, the spruce is incredibly thick up there, upon seeing for myself it was obvious what a folly this would be.
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:40 PM   #13
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The trail that I guess you are seeing is the one that goes west and gently down from the col between Lookout Mt. and Whiteface to the Highway. This was originally a road to access Porcupine Lodge at the base of the high altitude ski tows and trails that were used when there wasn't any snow lower down. As of 1978 when the Wilmington metric sheet was made, that road was still passable, but growing up fast. Now, the trees are so think in the old road bed that it is probably easier to bushwhack beside the old road - using it in the occasional spot where it isn't so grown in.
Could be a good introduction to true bushwhacking since you have the "handrail" of the old road and definitely a gentle slope with no cliff issues. Check it out on the way up the highway. It's at the top of a long straight section. The straight section starts at some picnic tables at what I believe is still labeled as "Till Hill".
Hope this helps.
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:49 PM   #14
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I could see where it came in, from the road going down there is a slight turn to the left and an unpaved pull off. I walked over there and poked around and you can see what appears to be a thinner section with water running down, I thought it might be a stream bed. Anyway, without knowing where it entered from the col one would never find it from above. This might be an interesting hike starting from the road but seeing as it opens next week it would have to wait until fall or next spring. I can say that even at that altitude the scrub spruce was so thick you would get eaten alive in there.
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