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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 back-country 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.

Although temperatures are forecast to be in 50 and 60s this week, nighttime temperatures remain near freezing and cooler weather can be expected at the higher elevations. Backcountry users should continue to be prepared for cold weather.

The warm weather and rains have decreased snow cover so that there is little to no snow in the lower elevations, and most trails are muddy and very icy, but there is still some two feet of snow at higher elevations where snowshoes and crampons continue to be necessary. Snow and ice bridges at water crossings have melted and the levels of streams has risen so low water crossings may not be passable; use caution crossing streams and stay off ice on water. Remember, there is still plenty of snow in the High Peaks – the caretaker reports 24 inches at the stake at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin.

Lake ice has generally out, is extremely thin or consists of weak layers of water, slush and ice so travel on ice should be avoided - including Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake.

Downhill skiing is continuing to wind down for the season. Gore, Whiteface and McCauley will be open this weekend on spring conditions, but Oak Mountain, Mount Pisgah, Big Tupper, and Hickory Mountain have closed for the season. Titus has had a power outage and is currently closed, but may reopen this weekend, so call ahead there.

This will likely be the last weekend for cross-country skiing. Most cross-country ski areas are now closed with the exception of Lapland Lake which will be open this weekend on spring conditions, and the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, which is reporting conditions that should be skiable this weekend, albeit icy and with some bare patches. The Paul Smiths VIC will be open for one final weekend on similar conditions. Expect a 2-3" loose granular surface. Bring your rock skis and ski with caution.

Snow in the backcountry is soft with icy patches and bare ground at lower elevations. Newcomb Lake and the Fish Pond and Hays Brook Truck Trails are reported skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail above Whiteface Inn Lane to the top of the pass has cover, but that's about it for the Jackrabbit. There is still good cover in the High Peaks beyond Marcy Dam and the Wright Peak and Marcy ski trails are skiable with caution. The one caveat there is that you should approach by way of the South Meadow since the only crossing of Marcy Brook has melted and the water there is high. And remember, no lake ice should be considered safe, including Avalanche Lake, Lake Colden, and in the St. Regis Canoe Area.

The ice climbing season has ended and with the warm temperatures, rock climbing has already begun.

Nearly all snowmobile trails have closed for the season. There are still some pockets of snow in Hamilton County around Morehouse and the Town of Webb, but getting to good snow is an issue, so for all intents and purposes the snowmobile season has ended. The gates to DEC roads typically closed during mud season have been shut.

Most waters are running above normal for this time of year and the Hudson, Independence, and Oswegatchie rivers are running well above normal, but this has been fourth-warmest winter on record for lower 48 states and reduced snowpack could mean generally lower levels for rivers and streams this spring, a situation that could reduce the threat of floods, but hamper paddlers and rafters looking for big rapids this spring.

The Hudson, Sacandaga, and Schroon rivers could be notably affected. Unless there are torrential spring rains, the Hudson River may not reach the level required for class five rapids as this rafting season begins. On the Ausable, low water two years ago and extreme flooding last year, combined with lower water levels this spring could adversely affect the upcoming trout season which begins April 1st. Spring stocking could also be affected, but we’ll have to wait an see how that plays out.

For now though, remember that waters are generally high and stream crossing more difficult.

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

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