What is a slide you ask? I wondered the same thing when I first ventured into the Adirondacks a few years ago. A slide in the Adirondacks is exactly what it sounds like; a bare patch of rock that has been scraped clean by a landslide. In the summer this provides excellent scrambling in the mountains and in the winter it provides ample opportunities for ice climbing/backcountry skiing. Essentially it is the closest you can get to traditional mountaineering in the Adirondacks and boy is it ever fun!
Courtesy of www.adirondackmountaineering.com
Our story begins after 3.5 hours of driving from the Ontario side at the Monument Falls parking lot. We strapped on our snowshoes and crawled up over the snowbanks on the other side of the road. An obvious game trail winds through the forest leading towards a pond at the base of the mountain.
Upon reaching the pond, we began our bushwhack along the creekbed to the base of the slide. This was easily the toughest part of the hike with snow being waist deep and postholing even with snowshoes. We started to become demoralized until I happened to look to my left and noticed a sheet of ice through the trees to my left. A short walk later and we were at the base of the slide!
The first headwall
We ate lunch at the base of the slide. The freeze dried camping meals did the trick and we prepped for the climb. The grade looked fairly easy so we decided to simulclimb it using a running belay, constantly keeping 2+ anchors in between us in case of a fall. After about 40-50ft of climbing we reached the top of the headwall.
The trip up and over the 2nd headwall was little more than a steep and icy hike. We used our mountaineering axes to steady ourselves and paused to enjoy the view.
Our next challenge was the third headwall. As we gained elevation, the views expanded. We were able to see the splendid of Whiteface to our left.
The third headwall
We passed the third headwall with relative ease. I put in two precautionary ice screws but the ascent hardly warranted it. We continued up the slide until the tree cover and snow became deeper. Just before the trees is when the view is best.
Once we began our hike into the trees, we encountered snow drifts up to our chests with some tree wells approaching 5 feet. As we got closer to the fourth (and final) headwall it became apparent that due to time constraints and lack of ice accumulation that it wasn’t in the cards for the day. We bushwhacked back out of the trees and took a few extra minutes to enjoy the views before the trip down.
Once back at the car, we began our trip back to across the border. We were already talking about the next slide objectives. The Adirondacks just have that effect
Map courtesy of Off On Adventure