On a cold November day I hiked up St. Regis Mountain with a couple of friends, Rich and Bill. The forecast was for clear skies through early afternoon and below freezing temperatures all day. A 9:00 AM start seemed right to let the temperatures rise a little and to still get up top before the clouds drifted in. Being back on Standard Time also meant that a late start would not be too wise.
knew there would be ice and snow on the trail. I’m old school when it comes to being prepared in the woods. We all brought the usual stuff. Food, water, a couple extra layers, map, compass, flashlight, first aid, emergency kit, etc…, you get the picture. We also brought traction devices for the ice we knew would
be on the trail. Rich had heavy duty STABILicers, Bill and I had instep crampons. The crampons work well, but they are cumbersome to put on and take some getting used to. I am planning to buy a pair of Microspikes this season; they have excellent reviews. I believe that at this time of year it is irresponsible and down right dangerous to hike on icy trails without some type
of traction device. The safety concerns are obvious, but there are also environmental considerations. Without these devices hikers need to detour around icy spots. This causes damage to plants and soils on the edges of the trail and widens the path.
runners; two women in their 20s. They were in good shape and were headed back down long before we reached the summit. While I admired their ability to accomplish this feat, I couldn’t help but notice that they were not very well prepared to be in the backcountry under the conditions of the day. One of the runners had a small belt pack and the other didn’t appear to have anything extra. I wondered if they had traction devices. One slip on the icy trail and they would be in serious trouble, as the cold temperatures would quickly take over their light running cloths if their activity level decreased. Hypothermia would certainly set in if the unexpected happened. Likely other trail runners would disagree with me and possibly rationalize their actions, but I felt that this was a dangerous situation.
ourselves. Although it was a bit overcast we could see for miles. We bundled up, had some lunch and enjoyed the view. The entire Canoe Area lay at our feet, with Upper Saranac Lake leading our eyes south to the Western High Peaks, slightly to the east we could see the whole Great Range and due east was beautiful Whiteface Mountain totally cloaked in brilliant white. We hiked around the top to get views to the north and west. Only from the top of the fire tower can you get a 360 degree view and it is closed to the public until it can be rehabilitated and made safe again.