On top of Mount Marcy - Being the highest person in New York State

Mount Marcy - Adirondacks - NY Travel Blog

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The lake at Marcy Dam

Today I realized one of the hikes that I had wanted to do for years. I hiked and climbed the highest mountain in New York State. The 1629-meter (5343-feet) high Mount Marcy.

I had tried to hike the mountain once (see here) but was stopped by bad weather. In the meantime I had visited some high points in other regions, or states. Like Slide Mountain (1277 m / 4180 ft), the highest point in the Catskills (see here), High Point State Park, the highest point in New Jersey (550 m / 1803 ft), (see here), Mount Greylock (1063 m / 3489 ft), the highest point in Massachusetts (see here), Bear Mountain (708 m / 2323 ft), the highest summit in Connecticut (see here), as well as the shoulder of Mount Frissel (at 725 m / 2380 ft), the highest point in Connecticut (see here).

The summit is getting closer!

Mount Marcy was originally called Tahawus, an Indian word for "Cloud Splitter". Later it was (re)named after Governor William L. Marcy who authorized an expedition to investigate the high peaks area of the Adirondacks in 1837. At that time there were no trails of course. Nowadays hikers have choice between several approaches to the roof of New York State. I took the most commonly hiked Van Hoevenberg Trail, starting at the Adirondack Loj.

From the trailhead it is only about 989 meters (3245 ft) up. That is actually 100 meters less that the hike to the 5th highest peak (1484 meters / 4867 ft) of Whiteface Mountain. The challenge of Marcy is the distance to get to the summit, 13 kilometers (8 miles) one-way through wilderness area, with no roads nearby.

I spent the night in Lake George and got up a 5am. I still had to drive about 83 miles to the trailhead. During the ride the temperatures went down close to freezing.

Your reporter being the highest person in the state (yes there was a cold wind, hence the angry face)
That worried me a bit. Fortunately by the time the sun broke through temperatures were around the 8° C (46 F) a pleasant hike temperature.

It took me about 4.5 hours to get to the summit. Of course, with many stops for enjoying he vast views, the pastoral, lakes and splashing waterfalls I was feasted on. The last section of the climb went above the tree line, giving even more view. And then the moment came that I could call myself officially the highest person in New York State. Those that were on top of Slide Mountain were still 352 meters (1155 ft) below me. The workers on top of the One World Trade Center Tower in New York City were even more than a kilometer (0.67 mile) below me. And I even beat my fellow hikers on Whiteface Mountain, which I could clearly see in the distance, by 145 meter (475 ft).

Deep below me I could spot Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest lake in the state and one of the origins of the great Hudson River.

Arrival at the parking just before sunset
It was here in 1901 that Vice President Theodore Roosevelt arrived after descending Mount Marcy to learn that the condition of President McKinley (to whom the highest mountain in the US is named after and who had been shot recently) was worsening. Roosevelt had to hike out to catch a train to be sworn in.

I could leave in a more relaxed pace and took an alternate route midway. Despite walking in a steady pace I arrived only just before dark at the parking, after a 10-hour and 40-minute hike.

A very rewarding day! Thank you colleague Maurice van B. for convincing me to realize this before I returned back to the Netherlands!

More pictures below.

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The lake at Marcy Dam
The lake at Marcy Dam
The summit is getting closer!
The summit is getting closer!
Your reporter being the highest pe…
Your reporter being the highest p…
Arrival at the parking just before…
Arrival at the parking just befor…
The first part of the trail is rat…
The first part of the trail is ra…
The first part of the trail is rat…
The first part of the trail is ra…
Infrastructure is great
Infrastructure is great
Sound good!
Sound good!
The lake at Marcy Dam
The lake at Marcy Dam
Some local falls
Some local falls
The struggle for life
The struggle for life
A view from Indian Falls on Algonq…
A view from Indian Falls on Algon…
Indian Falls
Indian Falls
Indian Falls
Indian Falls
More marsh-ish areas
More marsh-ish areas
Green!
Green!
Nearing the summit!
Nearing the summit!
The summit is getting closer!
The summit is getting closer!
More marsh-ish areas near the tree…
More marsh-ish areas near the tre…
A few hundred yards below the summ…
A few hundred yards below the sum…
A few hundred yards below the summ…
A few hundred yards below the sum…
Above the tree line
Above the tree line
Above the tree line
Above the tree line
The plaque at the summit
The plaque at the summit
View from the summit
View from the summit
View from the summit, Mount van Ho…
View from the summit, Mount van H…
The number 5, Whiteface Mountain. …
The number 5, Whiteface Mountain.…
The geodetic marker at the summit
The geodetic marker at the summit
Lake Tear of the Clouds, the origi…
Lake Tear of the Clouds, the orig…
The summit terrain
The summit terrain
View form the summit
View form the summit
On my way down
On my way down
GPS Profile (rendered by GPSVisual…
GPS Profile (rendered by GPSVisua…
GPS Height Profile
GPS Height Profile
Mount Marcy - Adirondacks - NY
photo by: mdalamers