Adirondack Mountaineering

Welcome. Adirondack Mountaineering spotlights the most remote Adirondack backcountry venues and seeks to portray the spirit of wilderness adventure. Narratives, photographs and videos provide in-depth descriptions of each outing— slide climbs, rock climbs, ice climbs, bushwhacks and the journey of a winter 46er. My hope is that each visitor to this site develops a deeper appreciation and respect for the Adirondack Park, for the natural wonders within its borders. 

The Adirondack Park is a six million acre region comprised of public and private land. It is God’s country—a mix of crystalline rivers, serene ponds, diverse waterfalls, expansive woodlands and majestic mountains. Hundreds of miles of maintained trails traverse rugged terrain where a sense of freedom is only natural. Once you experience this freedom and touch the essence of the land you become part of something greater than yourself. I challenge you to explore its reaches and not feel more in touch with the Adirondacks as well as yourself.

 

Slide Climbing

Ascending the long rock scars decorating the region’s mountains is an Adirondack tradition that bridges the gap between hiking and rock climbing—scrambling. This pastime began before the advent of the trail network as the path of least resistance for early explorers like Verplanck Colvin and “Old Mountain” Phelps. Formed by heavy rain events (and one by an earthquake) some slides predate written Adirondack history while others were born as recently as 2013. In fact, several dozen slides were created or enlarged by Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011.​

Slide climbing provides a challenging option for those adept at navigation and familiar with exposure (the air underneath a climber). Over 100 slides are documented on the slide climbing page with links to trip reports, photo galleries and video. This resource is subcategorized into climbs during the winter and non-ice seasons. The Slide Resume at the bottom groups the slides by mountain with associated links.
 

Rock & Ice Climbing

This page is dedicated to technical climbing and focuses heavily on Panther Gorge and other first ascents in the area. These are usually full-day ventures though a few roadside venues are interspersed in the links. More information on rock or ice climbing may be found in Adirondack Rock and Blue Lines 2. 
 

Forty-Sixers

Becoming a 46er, someone who has hiked the 46 High Peaks of New York, has grown exponentially over the years. Click “Journey of a Winter 46er” to vicariously experience a taste of what winter trekking in the Adirondacks entails.
 

Published Works

Dedicated to articles and photographs I’ve published in various magazines, blogs and books. 
 

Panther Gorge Resources

A New-York Daily Tribune article from 1870 once described Panther Gorge, the defile between Mt. Marcy and Mt. Haystack as, one of the “three great [Adirondack] gorges”. I’ve been documenting the gorge since 2009 and compiled various resources: history, bushwhacking reports, technical climbing documentation and an interactive aerial with nearly 100 scenic photographs taken throughout the gorge. Also read "Panther Gorge Rocks", "The Wild Side" and "A Climbing Experience in Panther Gorge".
 

About MudRat

Who I am, why the moniker, what I do and my connection to the Adirondacks.

Thank you for visiting. Peruse the pages, explore and enjoy! 

Respecting the Wilderness

The popularity of outdoor adventuring has exploded over recent years. Increasing numbers of people are visiting the Adirondacks. Thousands of miles of hiking trails, mountains large and small, over 100 notable slide climbs and 3,300+ documented rock and ice climbing routes create diverse options for those the inclination to step away from the roadside.  Challenging conditions during all seasons make this both an exciting destination in-and-of itself as well as a training ground for grander mountaineering expeditions across the country and abroad. 

Unfortunately the usage comes with a price—the impact we have upon the terrain. This problem has grown with the recent increase of hiker traffic - we're loving the land to death. Those who enjoy the land have a responsibility to learn about it, respect it and use it responsibly. Those who know the precepts of "Leave No Trace" and conservation have a responsibility to teach those with less experience. This concept is not new.

Verplanck Colvin, an Adirondack pioneer who surveyed the region during the eighteen hundreds, spoke of “hanging lakes upon the mountain sides” in reference to the mosses that we often see in the backcountry. The mosses capture the clouds’ vapor and begin the process that fills the Hudson River and provides water throughout much of the state. He and others like him understood the importance of the region, its interconnectivity with all forms of life and took action.

Understanding the Adirondack Park and its relationship to humankind as well as the plants and animals that call it home is no less important today. Each of us must take an active role as a steward of the land to ensure its continued vitality. The following links are a starting point for additional information: ADIRONDACK WILDLIFE REFUGEResponsible Slide ClimbingAdirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest PreservePROTECT the Adirondacks!Summit Steward Program, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant ProgramForever WildLeave No Trace.

© 2018 by Kevin B. MacKenzie

46-R #5430W, NYS Tier 1 Rock/Ice Guide; First Ascents

Member: NYSOWA, DEC Technical Rescue Team, ACC Board

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