Compiled on Thursday December 11, 2014
Weather: Hikers & campers should expect and prepare for cooler and windier conditions in higher elevations, and more rain. Always check current forecasts before entering the back country as the weather forecast can change. National Weather Service Burlington: http://www.weather.gov/btv/
Friday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. Wind chill values as low as zero. South wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 11 to 16 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Night Snow and sleet likely before midnight, then snow between midnight and 4am, then snow and sleet after 4am. Low around 21. Breezy, with a south wind 16 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow and sleet accumulation of around an inch possible.
Saturday Sleet before 3pm, then rain and snow likely between 3pm and 4pm, then a chance of snow after 4pm. High near 34. Southwest wind 7 to 11 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Saturday Night A 30 percent chance of snow showers before 1am. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 14. Blustery, with a north wind 17 to 20 mph.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 22. North wind 10 to 16 mph.
Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 13. North wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm.
Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 29. Breezy, with a south wind 11 to 16 mph increasing to 19 to 24 mph in the afternoon.
Monday Night A 30 percent chance of light snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Windy, with a south wind 29 to 34 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph.
Tuesday A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. Windy, with a southwest wind 24 to 29 mph decreasing to 17 to 22 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday Night A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Northwest wind 8 to 15 mph becoming north after midnight.
Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 26. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm.
Latest Regional Forecast: National Weather Service – BTV
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Weather conditions may change at any time, check current weather conditions and short-term forecast before entering the backcountry. All users should plan accordingly, including bringing flashlight, first aid equipment, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Weather conditions may alter your plans; always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Winter Conditions: Winter conditions are present throughout the area. Snow, ice and cold temperatures are present at all elevations. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers as needed to keep comfortable. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries just in case.
Snow: This week’s nor’easter brought nearly 2 feet of new snow, more in the higher elevations. Lake Colden Caretaker reports 24 inches of snow at the stake. Winds are creating deeper drifts.
Snowshoes & Skis: Snowshoes or skis are required on all trails in the High Peaks Wilderness and should be worn on all trails in the Adirondacks. The use of snowshoes or skis avoids “post-holing”; eases travel and prevents injuries.
Trail Conditions: Many trails, especially secondary trails, may contain unbroken, fresh snow. Traveling through fresh snow (known as breaking trail) takes more time and energy – plan accordingly. Use caution around stream crossings as snow may cover thin ice or open water.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger and snow will be deeper. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits.
Ice on Water: Ice has only recently formed on lower elevation and larger waters. People have been traveling on Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake. Use caution around the inlets, outlets and along the shoreline which are slushy at this time. Always use caution when traveling on ice. Check the thickness and remember ice that holds snow may not bear the weight of a person.
Avoid Hypothermia: Stay dry and warm. Drink plenty of water, eat food and rest often.
Blowdown: Recent strong winds are likely to have resulted in blowdown on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails.
Hunting Seasons: Hunting seasons for big game, small game and waterfowl are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. There is no record of a hunting related shooting incident in New York State involving a hiker.
Backcountry Snow Information: Winter is finally here with our first significant snowfall of the 2014/2015 season. The High Peaks received 20-28” of new snow, with higher amounts the further east you go. This storm initially dropped a denser snow in the beginning, due to the warmer temps associated with it. As the storm progressed, temps dropped and the snow became less dense and easier to transport. Wind speeds also picked up, with speeds gusting up to 30 mph out of the east, so expect higher amounts on those leeward sides. The snow fell at rates of 1 – 2 inches falling per hour, so significant loading has occurred in a relatively short amount of time. Expect soft slab formation in non-wind affected areas and wind slab in leeward slopes and gullies, due to the lighter density snow and winds occurring at the tail end of this storm.
If you are going to travel in avalanche terrain, make sure your transceiver has new batteries, bring probe and shovel. Practice rescue techniques, have a plan before you venture out. Dig snow pits, make your own decisions based on what you find. Don’t rely on other people’s word, practice safe travel techniques. Know the red flags!! And if it doesn’t feel right, DON’T GO. It will be there another day.
NOTE: Fires are prohibited in Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone
NOTE: Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.
Be Prepared Before Entering the Back Country:
Check (before entering the backcountry)
- Local Forest Ranger for current information.
- Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
- Appropriate outer wear and foot wear
- Layers of non-cotton clothes
- Map and compass and know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Rain gear
- Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces
- Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth
Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return
Please be aware that accessing the Forest Preserve through the rest areas is prohibited. In accordance with New York State Regulation §156.3(d), vehicles may not be left unattended in the rest area, unless the operator or passenger is within the rest area. Also parking of vehicles for longer than three hours during the hours of darkness is not permitted in accordance with §156.3(c).
Elk Lake Trails and Clear Pond Gate: The two trails that pass through the Elk Lake property to Panther Gorge in the High Peaks Wilderness and the southern approaches to Dix Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open for public use. The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This will add 4 miles to roundtrip, plan accordingly.
Avalanche Pass Slide: The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type through the winter.
Avalanche Lake Outlet: The bridge on Avalanche Lake Outlet is washed away. During low water rock hopping will be necessary to cross, during high waters crossing will require getting wet. Hurricane Mountain Trail: The trail from the Route 9N trailhead has been rerouted to bypass areas flooded by beavers. The trail now extends 3.4 miles from the trailhead to the summit. The reroute and new footbridges were completed by the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program.
Marshall and Other Trail-less Peaks: Many of the herd paths found on Marshall and some of the other trail-less peaks meander around the slopes of the mountain without reaching the peak. Those climbing these peaks should navigate with a map and compass rather than follow the paths created by others.
Trap Dike: Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.
Closed Campsite: The designated campsite on Big Slide Mountain Brook in Johns Brook Valley near the intersection with the Phelps Trail has been permanently closed due to site degradation. Other designated campsites are located across from the Howard Lean-to and just past Johns Brook Lodge. Signs on the hiking trail direct hikers to these sites.
Bradley Pond Trail: The first foot bridge on the Bradley Pond Trail has been dropped and is unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped most of time on the downstream side of the bridge site.
Northville-Placid Trail: The trail contains a large area of blowdown near the Seward Lean-to. A detour around the blowdown has been marked with pink flagging.
Courtesy of DEC Region 5