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Monday, July 31, 2017

Cheney Cobble(Adirondacks)

My buddy Jim asked me to accompany him on a very difficult, long bushwhack hike up to Cheney Cobble Monday and I gladly obliged.  He is an avid and very accomplished hiker, and is closing in on another one of his goals, to climb all of the hundred highest(102) Adirondack peaks.  Cheney Cobble, at 3683 feet, ranks as only the 70th highest Adirondack peak, but is notorious for being one of the most difficult summits to hit.  Until recently, the normal access route to Cheney Cobble was from the west, but with the state's recent purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract, there is access from the east.  We met up at the beginning of Gulf Brook Road and then car pooled to the large parking lot and gate.  From there we geared up and got on our bicycles, riding in about three miles to a road junction and a no bicycles sign. 
Once on foot, the road is a long and dull hike. Fortunately, there are some decent views along the way.  Here, at a bridge crossing, is a marvelous east view over Labier Flow towards Boreas Mountain.
 On the west side of the bridge is a fine look at the Boreas River.
Continuing along Gulf Brook Road(accompanied by hordes of deer flies), we eventually caught some glimpses ahead towards North River Mountain first...
 ...and then Cheney Cobble, our intended goal.  The pronounced summit cone stood out, literally a mile away.
 Once across Slide Brook, the road turns sharply northeast.  A short distance beyond that is where we left the road to begin the bushwhack.  The woods started off open enough and we thought that maybe we'd have an easy go of it. 
 Unfortunately, the woods closed in on fast and we began hitting towering bands of rock cliffs, driving us further to the south.
 Jim, in a typical rough stretch with blowdown and duff.  I've never seen the duff so bad before, as the soft ground would swallow our legs nearly every other step, sometimes all the way up to the knee.
 As we passed 2700 feet in elevation, we began to hit larger and larger rock cliffs, which rose up to 0 feet above us.
 We kept circling south, hoping for a crack in the fortress, but as we winded our way further up, we ended up hitting extremely thick spruce.  Fleeting glimpses of blue sky above were enough to make us smile, although briefly.
 Jim, pushing through thick spruce ahead of me.  At one pint, the conditions were so tough, that we barely got .2 of a mile in an hour. 
 We did manage to find a rather large clearing along the way to the ridge.  I climbed up onto a fallen tree to garner this southeast view.
 From the same fallen tree, looking south at neighboring North River Mountain.
 Back in the woods as we approached the south summit bump of Cheny Cobble.
 More screened views south, a bit further up in elevation.
 After hitting the top of the south summit bump, we dropped into the saddle between the two, before continuing a less difficult final ascent to the true summit. The 3683 foot summit is totally wooded with no views.
 A short bushwhack northeast, provided us with the best views of the day.  Many high peaks are visible from here.
 White Lily Pond is the body of water, with Moose Mountain hovering directly above. The Dix Range is in the distance, with Colvin Range in front of that.
 Allen Mountain's hulking summit looms large directly north of here(in the shadows on the left). 
 Due to the extreme difficulty of our ascent, we decided to go over other options for the descent.  Unfortunately, north and east looked treacherously steep and west took us too far away from where we needed to go. So we decided to drop south-southeast off the summit and hopefully avoid the worst of the spruce and cliffs.  Luckily, we did just that, making it down with much less stress.  It was almost as if we hiked a totally different mountain down.
Once back on Gulf Brook Road, we hastily moved along, finding the bikes and headed back.  Stopped at Labier Flow again, to soak in the incredible views.  A stray shower looks like it was hovering just east.
 The final push back to the car along Gulf Brook Road.  Didn't see another soul the entire day.
Close to 10 miles RT on foot, with 6 miles of bike riding on top of that.  A long, tough day.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this hike.

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