Whiteface Mountain the 5th highest peak in the state

Whiteface Mountain Travel Blog

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At the top of the "Hoyt's High Run" ski lift, approx 250 meters (820) below the summit

I came to the Adirondacks with the goal to hike to the highest point of the State of New York, Mount Marcy. After my hike to the highest point of Massachusetts (see here) I found it more than logic to visit my "own" state's roof too.

Unlike Massachusetts Mount Greylock mount Marcy is less "easy" to negotiate. Marcy does not have a convenient access road to the summit, nor is it accessible from a close road. So, it is a pretty long hike for a day hike. And due to its high elevation the last part of the trail is on bare rock above the tree line. 

And of course, for today the weather forecast was not too good. Clouds (spoilt views) and thunderstorms (not pleasant on bare rock peaks) were forecasted. So, I decided to drop the idea of hiking Marcy and choose, maybe inspired by Mount Greylock, a mountain that has also a road to its summit, Whiteface Mountain.

After such a long and steep hike, this "magnificent" view was my reward!
With its summit at 1484 meters / 4867 feet, Whiteface is the fifth highest mountain in New York State. 207 meters (679 ft) higher then my older record, Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills, and just 145 meters (476 ft) shorter than Marcy. My idea was that, if the thunderstorms got really bad, I could easily stay in the "Castle" near the summit.

I had visited Whiteface already twice, in the lazy fashion, by driving to the summit, see here and here. Now it would be hiking only. The trailhead at the Wilmington Reservoir started at an elevation of about 400 meters (1312 ft) this meant I had to negotiate more than 1 kilometer (3500 ft) height difference.

The top, for the third time, but this time on the power of my own!
Something which not showed the first 2 kilometers, in which I only ascended 50 meters (164 ft). This slow start was made op in the next 3 kilometers that took me up almost 700 meters (2300 ft).

I made it past the summit station of one of the ski lifts of the Hoyt's High run of Whiteface Ski Center and finally reached the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway, right at one of the hairpin curves. I was amazed how high the curve is actually located, on a huge pile of nicely stacked boulders. At this very point I also touched the clouds and going up for the last 100 meters (300 ft) I was walking in a foggy landscape. The views must have been smashing, but all I saw was mist. The advantage was that it was nice and quiet at the top.

On my way down I decided to add another two peak to the hike: Lookout Mountain (1242 m / 4075 ft) and Mount Esther (1302 m / 4270 ft), both can be access from the Whiteface trail.

View from Mount Esther
Lookout must be passed to get to Esther. Mount Esther, the only mountain in the Adirondacks named after a woman, was named after Esther McComb. Esther reached the summit on a solo hike in 1839 at the age of 15. She intended to hike Whiteface but got lost (and was found by a search team). In 1939 a tablet was attached to the summit to Esther's memory. A fellow blogger states (here) that some doubt that Esther McComb has ever existed...

Although the views from Mount Esther are not that famous it gave me today's best views. Timing was almost scaringly perfect. When I got back at my car the rain, that had been in the air all day, commenced and increased.

More pictures below!

Shumba says:
I spent the summer of 1997 in Long Lake and fell in love with the Aridondaks. I also hiked Whiteface and several others. Returned a couple of years later and hope to visit again one day.
Posted on: Sep 05, 2012
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At the top of the Hoyts High Run…
At the top of the "Hoyt's High Ru…
After such a long and steep hike, …
After such a long and steep hike,…
The top, for the third time, but t…
The top, for the third time, but …
View from Mount Esther
View from Mount Esther
The hike started sunny
The hike started sunny
At the feet of one of the hairpin …
At the feet of one of the hairpin…
Almost at the top of one of the ha…
Almost at the top of one of the h…
View from the highway into the val…
View from the highway into the va…
The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Hi…
The Whiteface Veterans Memorial H…
Climbing away from the hairpin cur…
Climbing away from the hairpin cu…
The parking near the summit
The parking near the summit
Whiteface Castle
Whiteface Castle
The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Hi…
The Whiteface Veterans Memorial H…
The Esther McComb memorial tablet …
The Esther McComb memorial tablet…
The summit of Mount Esther
The summit of Mount Esther
GPS Height Profile of the three hi…
GPS Height Profile of the three h…
GPS profile of the hike (rendered …
GPS profile of the hike (rendered…
Whiteface Mountain
photo by: mdalamers