The high pointing tour continues with the successful summit of Mount Marcy (5,343′) in upstate New York. To reiterate my goal for this year, it is to summit 49 high points in 49 states, all but Alaska. While spending the winter in Vermont I made the summit of Mt. Mansfield, highest point in Vermont, and then decided I’d try my hand at a winter summit of New York’s highest point.
Mount Marcy stands tall just south of Lake Placid in upstate New York. You may have heard of Lake Placid from when it was the host of the 1980 winter Olympics. I’ve actually had experience with this mountain before, in fact it may have truly been my first ever state high point! Back when I was in 8thgrade a science teacher of mine led a group of us up the mountain on snow shoes! I don’t have a super clear memory of it, but I do remember the determination and push that it took to reach the top!
The most common way up Mt. Marcy starts at what is known as The Loj, which resides in the massive area knows as the Adirondack Park. The trail from here to the top is the Van Hovenberg Trail, and in February, is snow covered and ski’s or snowshoes are required.
My brother joined me for this hike, and with snowshoes on, and temps hovering around 0 Degrees Fahrenheit, we set off into the cold woods. Despite the frigid winter conditions, we saw plenty of skiers and snowshoer’s! The trail through the wooded part of this hike was well packed, thus allowing us to make some good time in what would otherwise be deep snow. Like my winter trip above tree line in Vermont, the upper stages of Mount Marcy in winter were just as stunningly beautiful! Winds were light and skies were blue, but evidence of harsher winds were present in how the snow above tree line was shaped into what resembled wind swept sand dunes. Reaching the top provided us rare and excellent views of the surrounding Adirondacks, and even of the Green Mountains of Vermont.
After a quick few summit photos, and some push-ups, we started the decent and made typically fast decent times. Not much wildlife was out and about on this cold winter day, but we did see a really cool animal known as a Marten!
All in all, I don’t think things could have gone better. The biggest obstacle, the weather, turned out to be gorgeous! As far as high points go, this was so far the biggest and longest climb yet, even though it was just my second of the year.
Mileage: 15.22 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,576’
Trails Used: Van Hovenberg Trail
2019 High Points: 2/49