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This weekend in the Adirondacks: High water means dangerous crossings - Energy And Water Development Corp

This weekend in the Adirondacks: High water means dangerous crossings

A full moon behind foliage covered in rime ice on Whiteface Mountain. Archive Photo of the Day by Doyle Dean

The Adirondack snowpack took a dramatic hit this past week and conditions for this weekend will depend largely on how much snow we actually get, but here’s a general take on what to expect.

Snow depth is now patchy across most of the Adirondacks at lower elevations, but there remains at least four to six inches of patchy crusted snow and lots of icy areas across most of the region and six to ten at about 2,000 feet. Snowshoes or skis are required in High Peaks Wilderness and there is more than two feet of snow at Lake Colden, and more at higher elevations.  Trails across the region are currently very icy – so carry traction devices and expect to encounter blowdown from recent storms. And deeper new snow at the highest elevations will again keep the possibility for avalanches higher.

There was flooding due to ice jams early this week, mostly on main stem rivers. Rivers and streams remain high and many are dangerous and impassible. In the High Peaks, water crossings in the Johns Brook Valley are dangerously high, especially on the Phelps Trail to Slant Rock.

In the western High Peaks, crossings on the trail to Allen Mountain should not be attempted, and the trail to Mt. Adams may also be impassable due to high water. Ice on the Flowed Lands is also unsafe and the crossings on the Opalescent should be avoided. Lake Colden remains frozen but the southern end of Avalanche Lake is now open.

Wherever you go, plan alternative routes or plan to turn back in the event of high water.

The best skiing will be dependent on the final snow totals, but even then sticking to smoother terrain is going to be the best bet. That will include the region’s cross country facilities, which will all be open, though check the local snow depths before you plan to head out. The region’s downhill facilities will also be open with plenty of terrain – it’s been cold enough for snowmaking and combined with fresh snow, should make downhill conditions good.

Snowmobiling is another story. Trails are in poor and marginal condition around the region. Exposed areas are thin, with bare spots. Seasonal roads will be the best bet this weekend, and it’s going to be best to avoid the narrow woods trails. Expect to encounter areas of washout and some closed water crossings.

Great care should be used with lakes and ponds this weekend, and they should probably be avoided on snowmobiles. There have been two major thaws within a week and water levels on lakes have risen dramatically, softening the ice at the margins and opening inlets and outlets.

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