Cascade Mountain, High Peaks Region, Adirondacks
I had to be half way to Boston, MA later in the day, but when I woke up, packed my tent and apparel back into my car and looked around, I decided that it was as good a day as any to climb one of the “High Peaks”. I spoke to a group of fellows in the Adirondack LOJ campground and they recommended Cascades Mountain because of its relatively straight forward trail and the proximity of the trailhead to the highway. Right on the highway, actually.
The climb up Cascade Mountain begins on a well-marked trail through open hardwood forests. On this crisp day in October, the trail had a light covering of snow and the temperature just below freezing when I left my car and headed for the peak. I knew that with a bit of climbing, I would soon warm up and not need my coat so wore my backpack so that I would have a place for my coat when I decided to take it off. A short distance from the trailhead, the “trail” begins to sprout a few rocks, then a few boulders and then some bigger boulders and the trick this day was to get through, around and over all of those boulders without slipping on any of the ice that was still present on some of them and between some of them.
As I climbed, it began to think that the temperature had begun to warm up; maybe the air was warmer or maybe it wasn’t but my body was certainly getting much warmer. However, at some points, snow and ice disappeared from the trail but as soon as I began to think that I had hit a drier, safer patch, I was back into a light covering of snow again which just made everything inconveniently slippery. At a certain point in the climb, you basically leave the treed areas and begin to climb on bare rock with intermittent tree cover. Not a difficult climb but more exposed to the elements. By my estimate, the temperature was likely in the -5C to -10C range with a nasty wind blowing across the top.
Part way up the mountain an opening in the trees provides a nice panoramic view of the Lake Placid area where the Winter Olympics were hosted on two separate occasions.
With the Cascade Mountain peak in the background this little mountain meadow provided me with my worst experience. I had to cross the little puddle/creek and chose the wrong route, broke through the thin ice covering and found out that where I had stepped was about a foot deep. Cold wet feet to the summit after that but at least I didn’t fall into it! If I had stepped a foot or so to the left, the water was only a few inches deep.
The summit of Cascade Mountain is an open top with relatively easy climbing to the summit although there are some tricky points if you are carrying camera gear like I was. The summit is not above the tree line, but is pretty barren due to a fire in 1903 that burned away the vegetation and the winds blew away the bit of soil that remained.
In the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks there are 46 peaks considered to be at or above 4,000 feet in elevation. Cascade Mountain is one of those peaks.
From the trailhead 1990 feet lower down along the 2.4 miles of trail to the peak, the temperature dropped and the winds picked up and extra clothes were added on. None of us stayed at the summit for very long and the fellow in the shorts was back into the shelter of the trees soon after this photo was taken.
These four joined me in our conquest of one of the High Peaks. Not Everest for sure but a fun challenge nonetheless. Final Elevation: 4,098 feet (1,249 metres)
One down, 45 more peaks to go 🙂