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Trap Dike Mt Colden March 11

The end of the ice climbing season this year came by a little to fast for me.  It has been sad to see it go.  Letting go of it hasn’t been easy, so with the opportunity to get some more alpine climbing in just before the true start of spring was an easy answer.  Climb the Trap Dike on Mt. Colden in the Adirondacks.  No problem.  I got a later than normal start for me, leaving the trail head at the Adirondack Loj at 9:00am.  With the sun out until 7:00pm I wasn’t worried at all.  The hike into Marcy Dam was easy and obviously well packed.  With a small break for food and water at the dam, the rest of the approach to Avalanche Pass and to the start of the Trap Dike went easy.  Caffine always makes the morning approach more manageable.

The lake was still frozen, so we crossed at the closest spot between both sides of Avalanche Lake to the mouth of the Trap Dike.  Once across, it was time to rack up and pick a good line to start ascending the dike.  With the warmer temps parts of the ice bulges were blown out with water running.  The ice wasn’t in bad shape for this time of the season.  Besides, if you have a good attitude, life is always going to be fun.  I short roped the whole climb starting at the Trap Dike itself and ending with the Colden Slide summit.  I only had two spots that I actually set a belay on while climbing the ice in the dike.  We had to post hole a fair amount of the climb.  The sudden warmer temps had made the snow pack softer allowing the deep snow wells to cave in under pressure.  The majority of the Colden Slide snow pack was firm with short sections of slabby ice that was actually a welcomed site compared to the deep snow wells.

The weather cooperated with the sun shinning down on us all day.  It couldn’t have been a better day to enjoy the mountains.  The wind picked up once on the summit making the lunch break/summit celebration a little subdued.  After a quick refuel and gear switch it was time to start our decent.  I decided to descend using the Trap Dike instead of hiking down the back side of Colden.  This turned out to be a fun and interesting way to descend.  The bushwack at the top of the Trap Dike was easy to manage and rappelling the ice bulges went easy.  Once we got back down to the lake it was a straight shot back to the parking area and salvation.  Pretty amazing day.

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