Two weekends ago, I headed up to the Adirondacks with my girlfriend Gillian to meet some friends and do the infamous Trap D_i_ke hike up Mt. Colden. The weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday, so we ended up hiking Street and Nye. But Sunday was gorgeous and the d_i_ke dried off enough to be hiked safely.
For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the Trap D_i_ke is basically three hikes rolled into one. First there is the approach from the trail head at the Loj, through Avalanche Pass and around the end of Avalanche Lake. Then, you head into the Trap D_i_ke which is a class four non-technical climb. Last you pop out of the d_i_ke and onto a slide for a friction climb to the summit.
I’d never done this hike before, but had read about it and was definitely interested. It didn’t disappoint either.
In what ended up being a slow start that we rationalized as waiting around for the d_i_ke to dry off, our group got up on Sunday and headed over to Cedar Run in Keene for a big breakfast. (That place has great food by the way.) Eventually, ‘round about 11AM (alpine start!) we finally got on the trail to find that the weather cleared up and we that we had a beautiful day on our hands.
The hike to Avalanche Pass was pretty standard. We stopped to snack at Avalanche Lake and then we followed the herd path to the d_i_ke and started the climb. Some of the gang seemed to be a little leery of this section of the climb, but I found it too be pretty safe and lots of fun. However, I think we came out of the d_i_ke too early. The slide was pretty steep at the start and I had some trouble getting going. In particular, my shoes (Innov8 Terroc 330s - which don’t have Vibram soles) got relatively poor traction on the slide, so I never quite got comfortable with this section of the hike. I found it more troublesome and less enjoyable than the d_i_ke. Especially as I noted how much more ease other people were executing this section with (e.g. at one point Gillian, bent over slightly and using her hands for balance, sped past while informing me that “It’s like being a spider” while I puttered around looking for good purchase.)
At one point I made a few bad calls picking out my path and found myself confronted with a section that was too steep to walk on safely. As a result, I had to drop down a bit and sidle over into a divot where some scrub pines were growing. After this, I stuck to the edge of the slide, finding better traction there. Eventually we all popped up near the balancing rock on the summit. It was windy and cool up there, but it felt really good to be on level ground. We had the summit to ourselves, so we soaked in some views, let the adrenaline dissipate, and headed down to Lake Arnold just as some shirtless surfer dude, no doubt a friend of Bear Grylls, got to the summit with two friends. Feeling slightly betrayed by both friction itself and my shoes, I had no patience for this kind of company. We made it out in good time and then had some dinner at the Ausable Inn before the long drive home.
The Trap D_i_ke:
In the D_i_ke:
Gillian and Avalanche Lake waaay down there:
On the slide:
Me at the edge of the slide:
The rest of my photos are here:
Some other good ones are here:
PS - If you check out my photos, you'll see that the DEC have posted a sign at the Loj explicitly stating that BearVaults do not work. I know there was some discussion about this on the forum recently, so I thought some of you might be interested.
PPS - Apparently, the word "d i k e" can't be spelled out on these forums, so please forgive the weird "d_i_ke" typo I had to use as a fix.