3) Gray 4) Skylight 5) Marcy 6) Tabletop 7) Phelps (click for details)

This campaign with Rob, which included a tent and food for two days, was initially going to be 3 ascents. It ended up being 5 ascents totaling about 25 miles of hiking and ascending / descending. Our feet and legs felt the strain!

We parked at the Adirondack Loj around 7am. Hiked in 6.6 miles and setup our tent at the Feldspar campsite, which was 1.7 miles past Lake Arnold and just south of Colden. (So we took the Mount Marcy trail loop past Marcy dam counter-clockwise.)

Once tent setup, we hiked about 1 mile to Gray trailhead. We ditched one non-essential pack for the ascent. Thankfully Rob carried the one pack we needed at the top holding our food and extra clothes in case we met worse summit weather.  Then up Gray (.4 miles). Rougher unmarked trail. Not much open space at summit. Just a small out-cropping to sit on. And it was already occupied by a young couple!

Gray Peak summit view with the couple occupying the one outcropping site.

Back down from Gray with a short break. Made some more water with our SteriPEN; this light-based device kills beaver-fever (giardiasis) in only 90 seconds. We drank a lot of water this way which lightened our load by not having to carry all our water in with us.

"Giardiasis, popularly known as beaver fever, is a parasitic disease caused by Giardia lamblia. About 10% of those infected have no symptoms. When symptoms occur they may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Vomiting, blood in the stool, and fever are less common."

Then on to Skylight about .25 miles further on. Ascent was a 'marked trail', unlike Gray, and 0.5 miles long. Summit was large open area with great 360 degree views. Nice look at adjacent Marcy from Skylight. (Second favorite summit after Marcy.)

Back down Skylight and made our way back the 1.5 miles to our campsite. Day one ended with about 12 miles of hiking and ascending/descending. Our feet needed this extremely cold mountain stream treatment before dinner and card games. (Just like an athlete's ice bath after a game!) This may be how we were able to ascend 5 instead of 3 peaks over these 2 days.

Next morning we were up and broke camp by 7am. We hiked out of camp with our tent and all our gear on our backs again since we wouldn't be coming back this way. Made our way to Mount Marcy's trailhead. Ditched the non-essential heavy pack in the woods, and ascended the highest peak in the state.

Part-way up Marcy view looking southwest.

Marcy summit. Winds steady 20 knots gusting to 30. Needed extra layer and windbreakers.

Plaque on Marcy summit.

Click on this video link (https://youtu.be/Soj2pZJXjWE)  and turn speakers on to get a feel for the strong winds and weather on top of Marcy. Below this summit the weather and winds felt like a mild, warm summer day.

Descended Marcy on other side and made our way around the trail-loop back towards the Loj. This route took us past two more peaks (Tabletop and Phelps). As we passed each one we assessed our ability to ascend that peak. We ascended tabletop (a rougher non-marked trail) and were greeted with this vista.

Descended Tabletop and continued on the loop back to the Loj. When we got to Phelps we thought long and hard about ascending. The day was getting late and our bodies were getting worn out. Luckily the SteriPEN had enabled us to stay well hydrated with cold mountain stream water. After much calculating, we decided to make the ascent up this well marked peak.

View from Phelps. See below for statistics on each peak.

Final water stop before departing the High Peaks Wilderness. Home by 6pm just in time for wonderful home made meal by Macie, our LP host this weekend.

Get out there if you can. Nature amazes.

3) Gray Mountain stats:
7th highest peak
4,840 feet elevation
4,265 foot ascent
17.9 mile round trip
14.5 hours typical time
29th best view rating
Level 1 of 6 difficulty (6 = easiest)

4) Skylight Mountain stats:
4th highest peak
4,926 feet elevation
4,265 foot ascent
17.9 mile round trip
14.5 hours typical time
12th best view rating
Level 1 of 6 difficulty (6 = easiest)

5) Mount Marcy stats:
1st highest peak
5,344 feet elevation
3,166 foot ascent
14.8 mile round trip
9.5 hours typical time
3rd best view rating
Level 1 if from west side; 3 if from east side (6 = easiest)

6) Tabletop stats:
19th highest peak
4,427 feet elevation
3,660 foot ascent
15.2 mile round trip
9 hours typical time
39th best view rating
Level 3 of 6 difficulty (6 = easiest);
felt like level 2 near end of day 2!

7) Phelps Mountain stats:
32nd highest peak
4,161 feet elevation
3,660 foot ascent
15.2 mile round trip
9 hours typical time
26th best view rating
Level 3 of 6 difficulty (6 = easiest);
felt like level 1 at end of day 2!!

(Click to enlarge.)


  1. Special thanks to Rob for joining me on this adventure and helping plan and execute a great 2 days in the high peaks.

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