Or the right way up Wright, depending on how you view it. 😉
The Wright Slide is a great approach to summit this mountain, offering amazing views all the way up the bare slope. However, the bushwack at the top will have you begging for the steep, open rock again!
Dexter sat this one out, and I was up at the crack of dawn making the drive to the Adirondack LOJ parking lot to get there early. I met my friends and, after our hello’s, hugs, and handshakes, we started off toward Marcy Dam. The weather was perfect, and the already full parking lot proved that most everyone else thought so as well.
Our approach was going to be from the east, so we took a left at the intersection that normally takes you up Wright/Algonquin/Iroquois to the right. The hike into Marcy Clearing was without incident; it’s a fairly level walk in the woods, and we passed or were passed by a number of people heading in the same direction.
At the Clearing we stopped to dress down a little, take some photos, and check out the slide we’d be climbing. It looked pretty intimidating from far away, that’s for sure. At least to me!
Soon we were back into the trees, passing the lean-to’s that form a loop west of Marcy Dam. We passed a couple (actually the second couple) that were lost and looking for Mt. Marcy. I’m still amazed people head into the Adirondacks without the proper gear; a map, compass, matches, and water at least. Oh, and shoes… not flip-flops. These trails are rocky! We got them back in the direction they needed to go and proceeded toward the slide.
A quick bushwack brought us to the bottom of the slide; a mass of deadfall, blow-down, boulders, and branches.
Clamoring over large fallen trees we were greeted with a clear path up the mountain, and better yet, the bugs weren’t terrible! I still took a moment to put some bug spray on and a bit of sunscreen. The skies were pretty clear and the exposed rock face offered no shade to hide in for quite some time, and I buuuurn.
The hike up the lower slide was a mix of rock jumping, small climbs, and avoiding wet rocks. It went quickly until we got to a spot that formed a deep crevice. With the amount of water pouring through the rocks there, we had to take our time to avoid slipping into the deep pools of water. Just past that area we reached a “V” where the paths could go to the right or left. Francis had read going to the right was easier but it certainly didn’t look that way. Like, it looked damn near impossible to the right. He and Dain hiked up to the left looking for a good spot to continue while the rest of us waited. Within minutes and a few hundred feet, they yelled down that there was a herd path that took us over to the approach on the right. This quick detour brought us right onto the steep rock face of the slide!
Looking up we saw it wasn’t as bad as it appeared from Marcy Clearing, but still formidable. The top of the slab looked flippin’ steep, but working our way up we found the rock to be incredibly “grippy”, with Francis even cutting his hand on it! You could walk up with relative ease, although at times the slope reached about a 45 degree angle. At one point Jay picked up a rock that proved to be incredibly heavy for its size (and later turned out it’s most likely a meteorite!).
We were up to the treeline quickly and ready to bushwack onto the summit. It’s a hard push from here on up, and donning long sleeve shirts helped some.
BUT… my arms were exposed. The cuts and scratches piled up like the debris field at the bottom of the slide.
There’s just so many times you can get slapped in the face with a tree branch and not think they don’t know you’re there! I’d fight a tree, I was getting to that point. I’m pretty sure we all ended up with a bit of blood on our arms and hands!
We eventually came to an “ski” trail and decided it was going in the same direction we were… up. Following the trail, we found parts of an old airplane wreckage; some of it partially buried and very interesting to see in person. There are multiple areas with aircraft wreckage on Wright, with many websites detailing it. Check ‘em out!
The trail continued up but eventually we lost any sense of its existence, so back to bushwacking we went. Oh. Joy. LOL Soon enough we found ourselves into the smaller alpine trees and brush, which opened up views toward Colden that practically took our breath away. Okay, so hiking up the mountain pretty much took care of that for me, and getting my tail kicked by all of the vegetation left me feeling like I was in a bar fight, but those views! You don’t get those on the floor of Good Times Bar & Grill!
Eventually we got onto the exposed rock of the summit, and each of us plopped down for lunch. We made great time as the trail/bushwack is pretty much a straight shot up, but I for one was hungry as hell. It was great seeing the open skies and mountains beyond since the last time I was up on Wright was in winter, with wind gusts upward of 70mph and rime ice blasting my face into oblivion. This was much, much more pleasant.
We took photos, talked, and rested, then began our descent down the Wright Peak spur trail where it intersects the trail to Algonquin. The hike out was without incident, and I enjoyed the many conversations we had on the way down. Although we often hike together, sometimes we don’t always get to converse with each other for long periods of time. Today, there seemed to be ample opportunity and it was welcomed.
Oh, did I say without incident? Well, halfway down I hit a slick rock and slipped off of it, twisting my ankle and going down hard. My poles flew from my hands as I planted firmly on my butt, but there was no stopping gravity. Unfortunately I had to limp down a bit slower, but it didn’t damper the day at all. We were all smiles at the parking lot, and talked a bit about future plans for the trap dyke and additional slide climbs. I grabbed some advil from Tabs, ditched the shoes and pack, and prepared for the long drive home.
An amazing slide climb behind us, the day proved to be a great challenge with beautiful weather, angry tree branches, wonderful views, and strengthening friendships.
The Wright way to end the day! (That was terrible, yes, I know!)