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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.

Winter conditions are the rule throughout the Adirondacks. Temperatures are below freezing at all elevations and trails are very icy. Ice and some snow will be found on trails, even at lower elevations, but more above 3,000 feet.

Snow depths around the region vary, with four to five inches on the western slopes of the Adirondacks and a dusting to several inches of snow at lower elevations elsewhere. Five inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; three to six around Indian Lake and in the Old Forge area.

The region's rivers and streams are running at or just above normal for this time of year and ice is forming on all water bodies and some isolated early season ice fishing has begun.

Several inches of ice has been reported on Cascade Lake, Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden although use caution, especially near inlets and outlets. Ice on or near running water should be avoided and be sure to check the depth of ice before and during crossing. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

Although ice formation is still lagging, ice climbing conditions have greatly improved over the past week and early climbing routes are in - the popular ones are reported crowded. The Chapel Pond canyon climbs are still somewhat thin, but other routes are in there including the Crystal Ice Tower. In the Cascade Pass area, Pitchoff is being top-roped and Cascade Falls (improved after widening by Tropical Storm Irene) is claimable. There is decent climbing reported on the North Side of Pitchoff and Multi-Gulley and Crane Mountain are being climbed. Roaring Brook should be in soon, although no climbing yet at Poke-O-Moonshine, Mineville Pillar, or the other more remote popular routes.

Nights have been cold enough for snow making, and warm days make for some great skiing at mountains that are open. Whiteface is reporting 28% and Gore 39% of their trails open. McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a few trails open but downhill facilities relying on natural snow remain closed. Mt. Pisgah in Saranac Lake is hoping to open in this coming week, but not yet this weekend.

Looking at the cross-country ski conditions. Garnet Hill and Lapland Lake have a few trails open, although snow is thin and hard and so recommended for intermediate-level and up skiers. Mt. Hoevenberg and Cascade Ski Center should both be open this weekend with a few trails, but it would be best to call ahead.

The Jackrabbit Trail is not yet skiable, but some early ski routes like the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni should be skiable this weekend for the die-hards. The Whiteface Highway is reported thin, but shoul be skiable this weekend. There is not enough snow cover yet in the High Peaks for any back-country action. If you are a more advanced skier and are headed out looking for some cross-country skiing this weekend, keeps your plans flexible. All skiers should use caution on the still thin snow cover.

Most of the region's snowmobile trails remain closed, but there should be some available riding around Speculator, Old Forge, and Indian Lake, including the eastern parts of the Moose River Plains and in the Perkins Clearing Easement Lands. Snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Check with local clubs before venturing out.

Finally this week - the new low water crossing below Marcy Dam is icy and treacherous. Hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from the South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook.

It should be a nice weekend to get outside for those eager for winter’s arrival, but with plenty of thin ice and little snow cover, safety should be a foremost concern.

Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack, online at

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