9.6 mi to summit

17.7 mi total


2,270 ft start

5,000 ft max


4,288 ft gain


8 hr 36 min to summit

13 hr 12 min total

This hike with Meenu for my peaks 21 and 22 and her 44 and 45 turned into the longest and most challenging one so far. We started at 4 am and it was cold and there were a few snowflakes here and there. The first few miles to through Marcy Dam toward Lake Arnold went well, but we were really ready for it to get light. It was wet and muddy everywhere and the logs/boards to cross were very slick. We had to negotiate the famous floating log area and it was not passable, so we had to navigate around which was still extremely wet and difficult. Meenu submerged her already wet foot (boots were leaking) and we were really concerned about her for the rest of the hike. The conditions really slowed us down. We got to the junction for Gray and started up, knowing we were taking a long time. This was a tough ascent with barely marked trails and some boulders and steep spots. I slipped down one big rock face that we should not have gone down that approach - it would have been fine in summer but there was ice and navigating a crack in the boulder did not work out. Fortunately my slide ended up in a muddy but ok landing, but it was very scary. Shortly after we ran into a couple of women we had seen earlier. They were coming down and gave us a warning about how to go around a steep spot and recommended putting our spikes on. We did that finally (should have much earlier) and it made a big difference. When we finally made it to the summit of Gray at about 11 am, we were so relieved we were nearly in tears. We didn't stay long, and hoped that the trip to Skylight would be faster and we'd still be okay, but I was worried about how long it was taking and Meenu's wet feet. The climb up Skylight (after a small mistake/detour) was easier, but still very wet and icy so it took a while. But what a reward in getting to that summit. Amazing 360 views of everything around us, especially Marcy - right there. We had the huge summit all to ourselves. It was an incredibly breathtaking experience. It was about 1 pm at that point and we knew we had a long hike back with no chance of making it out before dark. We started down and just tried to keep positive and make the best time we could. Unfortunately Meenu realized she dropped her phone and had to run back up and find it - she did! The rest is kind of a blur of just keeping one foot in front of the other. We both submerged feet again at some point. My waterproof socks did a pretty good job but I can't imagine how Meenu felt because my right toes were painful at the end. We navigated the floating log section again, and down all those boulders (plus a little peak in there that we somehow didn't really feel the full effects of in the morning but now was a challenge). It was getting dark at 6 pm and we still had a few miles left. I had to do my little trail run and we were a little over a mile to Marcy Dam so I said I'd meet Meenu there. I kind of ran/walked fast - but the mud and rocks were pretty impossible and it was getting dark, so it was not much of a run. I sure counted it though. I ended up circling back because if I went all the way to the dam I'd have to wait for her and we'd both be along for longer. I was happy to see her light and we kept up the slog past the dam and then those last two miles to the car. It was so hard and so long. Finally, about 15 1/2 hours in we say lights from the parking area. It was about 7:47 pm and we were so relieved and so tired. We could barely manage to take our wet shoes off and get out of there. After a stop to get coffee, food and change into some dry things we made the drive back home. Another 24 hour trip as we got back at just before midnight. It was one of the hardest things I've done but an amazing day with a good friend. The next day we said we kind of missed that tired car ride home, singing and talking in the dark. I won't forget this one.


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Other peaks climbed on this trip