FKT: Evan Metcalfe, Kieran Metcalfe - Lake Placid 9er Challenge (NY) - 2023-06-22

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
14h 10m 27s

We decided to start our route with Hurricane as it is the longest section. We started at 4:53 am as it was just starting to get light and hit the summit not long after sunrise. After descending, we took a two minute break at the car and then headed up Big Crow. After doing the longest mountain of the day, the 30 min round trip to Big Crow seems like it happens in the blink of an eye although the views are very nice for such a short hike. Baxter was third with a slight trail-finding hiccup on some exposed rock when nearing the top. From there, we headed to Pitchoff and were hard-pressed to find a parking space even at 9am on a random Thursday. Mt. Van Hoevenberg was our fifth mountain and we climbed it from the west since one of us had actually climbed this one before and knew the route from that side. The summit was packed although we hadn't seen many cars at our trailhead so we questioned whether or not the other way up may have been easier. It was a quick drive from there to Mt. Jo and although there was no one at the parking booth, the payment process was relatively easy. We decided to take the "short route" up which ended up being quite steep but got us to the top quickly. Cobble hill marked the start of the final third of the mountains and was a nice easy one while still having a nice view out from an exposed rock face. When we got to the Bear Den parking lot, we were a bit confused as it looked more like a construction site than a parking lot but we just parked in a secluded spot to stay out of the way and went from there. We both struggled a bit with energy on the way up Bear Den and the trail is not overly well marked in a few places so we lost the trail a few times but always had a relatively easy time finding it again. Our energy levels started to pick up on the way back down so it may have just been that the climb up Bear Den is very consistent and we never got a chance to rest. We had saved Catamount for last because of driving logistics although that may not have been the best choice as we found it to be the most challenging mountain. We were happy to still have some energy left at the top because it has some nice scrambles and exposed rock faces that we thought were one of the highlights of the day. It was also a really nice viewpoint to end the day with. We descended just as the sun was starting to get lower and decided to break a jog for the last 1km to the trailhead.

Overall, the day was not overly hot but felt much hotter with the sun and we were very thankful for the shade on the better part of most of the trails. Between the two of us, we drank about 12L of water that we refilled into camelbacks from a 20L jug in the car. For fuel, hot counter chicken tenders (which got progressively more suspect in the hot car as the day went on) and Swedish Berries seemed to be foods of choice for the day. We typically ate small amounts at the car while making gear changes after every mountain and drank juice and pop during the drive to keep the energy up. Since he mountains are so short, we didn't carry much while hiking other than water, a few granola bars and some candies. We did not start the day intending on going for speed and as a result, we rarely ran but as the day went on and we felt strong and realized we were making good time, we started to increase our speed.

We'd recommend this challenge or even just doing them all maybe 3 at a time because although some are lesser known mountains, they all seem to have been chosen for their great views!