Giant Mountain
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Giant Mountain / Rocky Peak Ridge, August 2002

Giant revisited March 2006

This was my second attempt at the Giant of the Valley. The first attempt turned out to be a day spent touring the Keene Valley area and getting to know the people and businesses while waiting for an alternator, but that's another story.
Brendan and I took the Ridge trail to Giants summit which is the shortest, but also the steepest route. We found some wild blueberries at the higher elevations, which was a good thing because I left our lunch in the vehicle. All we had to eat were two small bags of trail mix and the blueberries. We didn't let that ruin our day and even hit Rocky Peak Ridge after peaking Giant. It was a bit hazy but the views were still awesome, Giants' location allows for a nice view of the Great Range and the Dix Mountain wilderness, and from RPR you can see Lake Champlain.
-------> Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture

Here's a nice view overlooking Chapel Pond from one of our early lookouts.    What a view!
Dix Mountain in all of it's Glory.     The mighty Dix Mountain awaits
Mountain Goat and Dad on the summit.     Another one conquered
This huge cairn was on top of Rocky Peak Ridge.     Say cheesy

 Giant Mountain, March 2006

After hiking Ampersand again, I couldn't wait to get back out before winter left for good. We decided on Giant Mountain. I was joined by an old friend and a few new ones. The four of us were on trail by 9 or 9:30 am. I was carrying snowshoes just in case even though there wasn't any snow in sight near the trailhead. I've been up high too many times in March. The rest of the group gave in and brought theirs along as well. The weather was near perfect, cool enough to keep us from overheating but warm enough to hike in shirt sleeves (at least for me anyway). I had forgotten how much I love this mountain because of the early views you get. I had also forgotten just how steep the ridge trail is. We definitely got a workout.
That's the trail?   It wasn't long before we realized that crampons would be better served than snowshoes.
The trail was in good shape down low but as we gained altitude; which is something you do quickly on this trail; it became more treacherous with ice flows covering much of the maintained trail. We hadn't brought any crampons, but I was beginning to think that my snowshoe cleats might help. The ice was nice to look at but made for hard work as we ascended.
The group
The photo above is a group shot from one of the early lookouts as the trail traversed open rock faces. From left to right; BJ, Dan, Jeremy and Charlie (me).
After crossing the open rock, we entered the trees again and the snow started showing up as we got higher. The footing actually got better as any ice was now covered by a good base of snow.
There is snow up here   I guess I'm glad I brought the snowshoes.
We made better time in the snow and eventually came to the open summit of the "Giant of the valley". The sun wasn't shining but we had good views of all the peaks. We enjoyed some lunch on top, took a bunch of pictures and headed down. The trail down was equally as treacherous when we hit the ice, but we managed only a few falls and no injuries. It was great to get on top of a high peak and as I type this I already have plans to get out again soon.
Happy peak baggers   A happy group of peak baggers!
Below is a panoramic view from the peak, we could see many of the high peaks.

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