I’ve always wanted to ski Mt. Marcy, so when I was asked to speak at a sales training for my old job in Albany, it seemed like a perfect fit. Marcy is the tallest mountain in New York, well know for its above tree line summit snowfields and as a classic ski descent. I wasn’t going to be needed until 4:30, which left me most of the day to get up and down before I had to show up in a suit and tie. Following a 6am departure from Saratoga Springs, I was at the Adirnodack Loj trailhead.


Jurassic Karl had been nice enough to lend me his car for the day to make the trip, and as I stepped out of his car, I realized I had made a fatal flaw. I had just locked my cell phone, skis, wallet and all other gear inside. With 14 miles to travel and a hard turnaround time at 12:30, this was a problem. Getting home in general was starting to look like a problem! I have always known that it is possible to break into a locked car with a coat hanger, but I had no idea how it was done. There was a lodge about a quarter mile away, and with coat hanger in hand, I set about breaking into my car. Unfortunately, this was about the point when I actually realized I didn’t know how to break into a car with a coat hanger. The two guys parked next to me didn’t look like professional car thieves either, but I figured they were worth a shot. As it turns out, one of them worked in a reclaimed auto yard, and ten minutes later (including him taking the antenna off of his own car and using it as the device to unlock the car) I was on my skins and on my way.

Where ADK early Dutch settlers, and I, skied "zee pow pow"
Where ADK early Dutch settlers, and I, skied “zee pow pow”

It was now 9:30, and with my turnaround time in mind, I set off in a Glitch Mob whirlwind that would make the heartiest snowshoer quiver in their microspikes. The trail gains all of its elevation over a period of seven miles, and the gradual climbing was about what I had expected. A few miles in, I crossed a frozen lake at a prominent dam and hung right as the skin track began to climb more rapidly. I was expecting the trail to go more to the left, but otherwise the trail was more or less as I expected it. After climbing for another forty minutes, I came to an unexpected sight:

avalanche lakeOne thing was for sure – crossing another frozen lake buttressed by massive cliffs had not been on my itinerary. It was an awesome spot, for sure, but not what I had expected. I continued onward, and it wasn’t too long before I was able to flag down another skier going in the opposite direction. He informed me that I was on Avalanche Lake, several miles from where I should have been if I was planning on climbing Mt. Marcy proper. I continued onward a bit past another lake, Colden before turning around and heading back home.

avalanche lake 2On the way down, I took a few pit stops to climb and ski some slides that I had spotted on the way up – fun interludes from a day of predominant sloggage. Overall, I would still characterize the day as a success. In the face of some misfortune and my own mistakes, I still got in my goal mileage and saw some things that I would have never seen if I wasn’t so boneheaded. Overall, the trip was a successful one, and the Adirondacks certainly earned a return trip in the future.