Rocky Peak Ridge Traverse

Date of Hike: 6/27/15

Zander Scott Trail:  3.2 miles  /  East Trail: 8.2 miles
Total Miles: 11.4 miles (4,565 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- A few years back I wanted to do a Rocky Peak Ridge Traverse, my car spot bailed on me so I did a long out and back from the trailhead in New Russia all the way to Giant Mountain where I turned around and hiked all the way back to my car.  16 miles and almost 7,000 feet of elevation gained later I was in love with the Rocky Peak Ridge and couldn't wait to get back.  Luckily for me I had a car spot this time as my friend Diaz was up for the weekend working on his 46 High Peaks list.
- We got an early start to be on the safe side as a monster of a rain storm was supposedly fast approaching. Almost all the elevation gain would be accounted for over the first 4.5 miles of the hike as the Zander Scott Trail ascends steadily up to the summit of Giant Mountain.  If you've never hiked this trail move it up to the top of your list and save it for a clear day.  The trail travels over many open ledges with incredible views to the west.  You basically get a front row seat for viewing the High Peaks from south to north; The Dix Range, Dial, Nippletop, Sawtooth, The Great Range, Big Slide, Porter, Cascade, Whiteface, Esther.  The best view of course is from the summit itself where we took a nice long break in the early morning mild temperatures.
- From Giant Mountain we headed over to Rocky Peak Ridge's summit.  It's one of the most grueling descents off of a 4,000 foot peak in the Adirondacks.  It's an excessively steep descent made worse by the beyond awful footing.  I was very familiar having descended into this col on three previous occasions so I knew what to expect.  On the other hand this was all new to Diaz and a few times I caught him shaking his head at the rough trail but he did well and enjoyed the drop down into the Giant / RPR col.  From the col the trail up to Rocky Peak Ridge is still a grind but much more forgiving than the east side of Giant.  I motored on up to the summit where I relaxed and waited for Diaz.  When he arrived we both took a bunch of pictures and refueled before starting the mostly 6.5 mile descent back to the Jeep at the New Russia trailhead.
-  From the summit of Rocky Peak Ridge we descended to Mary Louise Pond and over to Rocky Peak's summit.  It's a really beautiful hike over ledges with moss and shrubs off the trail.  There are great views from the open ledges down into the Boquet River Valley.  The trail from Rocky Peak Ridge back to New Russia is mostly downhill as it passes through Dickerson, Hedgehog, and Mason Notch.  There is one steep descent with bad footing coming down from Rocky Peak but other than that the footing is pretty good.  The uphills on the way back to the car are relatively tame and come in short bursts of no more than a few tenths of a mile.  It's definitely an easier hike heading east towards New Russia than the long steady uphill in the direction of Keene Valley.
- The East Trail travels through a nice little birch glade as it makes its way up to Bald Peak, which like other spots along the way has great views.  The last few miles of the trail are mostly in the woods with the last highlight being Blueberry Cobbles where there is a decent outlook along with a bunch of Blueberry bushes where Diaz and I picked a bunch and had a nice snack before heading back into the woods.  The final two miles is a mixture of open woods that is blanketed with pine needles and a tote road that leads to the trailhead.
-  It ended up being another great hike and in the Adirondacks and the weather held off until much later than forecasted so we had great views and weather for the whole traverse.  After the hike we headed to Lake Placid for dinner and drinks before calling it a night.  The rain came down in buckets over night so on Sunday we said our goodbyes and both headed our separate ways.  Diaz ended up hiking seven more High Peaks this weekend; Macomb, South Dix, East Dix, Hough, Dix, Giant, and Rocky Peak Ridge and is halfway to becoming a 46er!

Heading up the rough and rugged lower section of the Zander Scott Trail

As the trail makes its way by the first outlook, the Great Range starts to rise above Keene Valley to the north

Chapel Pond and Round Mountain

The Giant Washbowl

Heading up through the woods and over the ledges to the summit of Giant Mountain 

 Dix Range (top).  Great Range (bottom)

 Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Sawtooth

 From the summit of Giant there are many four thousand footers in view!

 Hunters Pass between Dix and Nippletop

 Diaz navigating the steep descent down the East Trail into the Giant / Rocky Peak Ridge col

 A few nice sections of the trail between summits!

 Super-Dork on Rocky Peak Ridge!

 From the summit of Rocky Peak Ridge you can take in the views of the scarred wall of Giant Mountain to the west (top).  Looking east there is a great view down to Rocky Peak (bottom)

 Looking down on Rocky Peak from Rocky Peak Ridge

 Heading to Marie Louise Pond and Rocky Peak

 The map says Marie Louise Pond but this signs has it labeled as a lake.  Whatever it is, it sure is a nice spot!

 Looking back up at Rocky Peak Ridge and Giant Mountain (top).  Looking down to Bald Peak (bottom)

 Heading down into and out of Dickerson Notch

 Just before reaching Bald Peak the East Trail passes by a well known glacial erratic 

 Summit of Bald Peak

Heading down towards and past Blueberry Cobble

The final stretch of trail

Finish line!

 Trailhead info on both ends

 Signs spotted along the way

No comments:

Post a Comment