In finishing the Adirondack 46 High Peaks a second time, I had a few of the more remote peaks to tackle. I had considered attempting Allen Mountain instead, but the planning (read: breakfast in Keene Valley) dictated this pair instead.
After doing about 11 miles the day before, and having a 6-hour ride home afterwards, the close combo of Whiteface and Esther fit my plan perfectly. I started from the Atmospheric Science Research Center, which sits at the base of the old ski lift on Marble Mountain.
Conditions were perfect for hiking, with hard-packed snow almost the entire length of the hike. There was enough snow along the entire route to smooth out the innumerable boulders, rocks, and roots which are a hallmark of this trail.
The snowy summit of Giant Mountain at 8:15 AM was completely clouded in, but the wind was low making it beautifully quiet. I snapped a couple photos and quickly turned back to head towards Rocky Peak Ridge, hoping for it’s wonderful views.
I would ascend via the “Express” trail directly to Santanoni Peak, then descend all the way to Couchsachraga, and hit Panther Peak on the way out via Bradley Pond. Looping this way makes the total hike about 15 miles with 5,000 vertical feet of climbing.
It helps that the weather was perfect, and that it’s been a dry summer so mud and water were eminently avoidable. But it’s also a lovely and wild forest, you just have to look 10 feet off the trail to see it.
With autumnal weather finally arriving, I jumped on an opportunity for one more Adirondack hike. Keeping with this year’s theme, I carved out a plan to hike two new trails, alternative approaches to Mounts Colden and Marshall.