Denali Climb and Training

Mt. Marcy 5,344 feet

Started off this morning from the trailhead at 8:45 with a light cover of snow from the night before.  It soon turned into a steady snow, much nicer than the rain from two days before on our way up Colden.  The climb up Marcy the highest point in NY is about 15 miles round trip and 3300 feet of elevation gain.  Another shorter hike but for the third day it a row we decided to take it easy.  As we ascended the snow grew steadier and deeper.  We passed several groups on the way up most using microspikes but one larger group using HUGE snowshoes… a bit overkill for a foot of snow but to each his own.

We stopped at the Phelps trail junction for a quick snack and to suit up into our full gear for above treeline.  It was quite windy by this point and I knew that any exposed skin would be frostbitten very quickly.  I decided not to put on my facemask and to go with a neck gaiter instead figuring it was still pretty warm and I’d be ok with it, plus my glacier glasses would fog up less this way.  To help with my ALWAYS cold hands I donned my brand new G2 Prairie Snowstorm Mitts  to try them out and we set off.

 

After several minutes above treeline it became apparent I should have donned my facemask but being a stubborn as I was I just turned my head away from the strong winds almost blowing me over and pressed up.  By this point we had passed everyone else attempting Marcy including a group of two from Brooklyn wearing sweatpants yes sweatpants.  I lead the way up searching for the next cairn barely able to make it out with the near complete whiteout and strong winds.  I went from cairn to cairn like this for about 1/2 an hour loving every second of it and wishing there was further to go like this but it ended soon enough when we reached the summit marker.

Sideways on Marcy's Summit

After summiting we started down almost right away, between the winds and blowing ice chunks it wasn’t a good place to hang out for any length of time.  Once we were down below treeline we met up with the sweatpants guys who had decided to turn around soon after we passed them. We chatted for a bit and I gave them some advice on what they may need next time in order to summit safely starting with no cotton 🙂  After that we started the 7 mile trek back to the car, it was fairly uneventful except for my left foot really started to hurt the last mile or so.  I’ll blame it on my lack of fish oil after three days of hiking as I’d never had this happen before on such a short hike but after a few minutes sitting down back at the lodge before the drive home it felt almost normal again.  All in all a great day and a reminder as to why I love winter above treeline so much.

Food log for the day:

Breakfast

  • 2 Three egg omelets with bacon and broccoli
  • Fruit plate  of oranges, melon, blueberries and grapes

Trail food

  • LARGE bag of trail mix (Almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, raisins, dates, dried mango, dried cherries, dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

Post Hike

Dinner

  • Chicken sausage & broccoli with olive oil

Before Bed

Hydration consumed about 6 liters of water (3 on hike)

 

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