FKT: Charlotte Winkler - Great High Peaks Traverse (NY) - 2020-06-26

Gender category
Route variation
Standard route
Finish date
Total time
10h 44m 24s

I was unsupported and completed the entire run solo.  Carried 4L of water and had water filtration systems to fill up at rivers between Mt. Marcy and the ADK Loj, there is often no water for the first 8 peaks.  Carried all the food I needed with me.

Started at 5:19am at the gate to Lake Road in the Ausable club.  Beautiful sunrise driving there, clear and 60 degrees!  Jogged the West River Trail, expecting to see a bear in the shadows of this seldom used trail.  Turned off this trail to the Lower Wolf Jaw (LWJ) trail at about mile 2 to start the steep climb to the col between LWJ and Upper Wold Jaw (UWJ).  Summit of LWJ at 6:39am, sun just clearing the mist from the mountains.  On to UWJ (7:11am summit).  From armstrong summit (7:30am summit) there are amazing views of Gothics’ spire.  Gothics has great almost 360 views, summoned at 7:50am.  Cables to aid coming down the cliffs on the back of Gothics are a lot of fun.  Saddleback has a couple false summits and coming down the back was steep and clifffy!! Great views of Basin from the summit of Saddleback (summited at 8:16).  Basin summit at 8:41am - saw the first people all day here.  Long down hill climb to the Old Snow Bird Lean-To campsite.  Filled up on water here (this is the first place to find water in this traverse, and if late in summer could be dry.  I carried 4L just in case).  Steep climb up the rocky trail to Haystack (summit at 9:28), still one of my favorite mountains and one of the most remote.  From Haystack to Marcy is more steep rocky uphill, summited at 10:20am and there were quite a few people at the summit.  Sat down for the first time all day on Marcy!!  Down the back of Marcy to 4-corners and up Skylight felt easy, summit at 10:50.  Then comes the long trek down the brook coming from lake tear of the clouds (headwater of the hudson river!) to the Lake Arnold trail.  Long moderate uphill to Lake Arnold, really feeling tired at mile 16.  Perked up again on the Colden climb, another of my favorites, summiting at 12:29pm.  Very steep descent to Lake Colden, around to the interior outpost and the hardest climb of the day: 2.1 miles, 2350’ elevation gain up to Algonquin.  After 20 miles and 12,000 feet elevation gain already that day this was daunting.  But it is a great climb up a waterfall and so steep you feel like you have to be getting somewhere quick!! Summit of Algonquin at 14:37.  Downhills are almost more painful than uphills at this point.  Down to the Wright junction and up to Wright summit (in my second fastest time ever) by 15:06.  Down to Loj by 16:15, the longest that rocky and steep descent has taken me.  Once at the Loj, I biked home.  This day was incredible and pushed me past what I thought my body was capable of.  Hard to walk for two days after!!

Some fun comparisons my friends said about the elevation gain:

- at that altitude you need supplemental oxygen in a plane

- half the elevation gain of Mt Everest!

Summit times for peaks:
6:39 LWJ
7:11 UWJ
7:30 Armstrong
7:50 Gothics
8:16 Saddleback
8:41 Basin
9:28 Haystack
10:20 Marcy
10:50 Skylight
12:29 Colden
14:27 Algonquin
15:06 Wright
16:07 at Loj!!