Rocky Peak Ridge & Giant Mtn

Hikers:Frank, Matt, Me
Peaks:Giant Mountain (4627') (#12), Rocky Peak Ridge (4420') (#20)
Trailhead:Zander Scott (Ridge Trail)
Trip Time:9.5 Hours (40 minute break on each summit)

We left Albany around 6:15 AM and headed North to Adirondack State Park. We mapped out our hike earlier in the week. This was our first hike in our quest to conquer the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks. We parked our Jeep on the side of Rt. 73 and gathered our gear together. We arrived at the Zander Scott Trailhead (formerly known as the Ridge Trail) around 8:15 AM to start our hike of Giant Mt. & Rocky Peak Ridge. The skies were clear and the temperature was around 70°.

Matt, Me, Frank

Matt signed us into the trailhead and we began our ascent of Giant. Our accent starts off easy for the first couple of yards and then came the rocks. The aches and pains started early for us. I started to develop a cramp in my right side within the first 1/2 mile and Frank had a feeling of sickness come over him. He rehydrated, waited a few minutes and then started to feel much better and was ready to press on. Climbing up the Ridge Trail the first site you see is Giant Washbowl.

Giant Washbowl

After passing Giant Washbowl the hike resumes on a nice steady climb. As we continued the climb we passed a group of about 9 kids w/ 2 counselors. The trees were giving great coverage so it was tough to determine how high we had hiked at this time. Suddenly we could tell we were approaching our first opening. We relaxed out on the rock face and had a snack along w/ more water. We were able to see Chapel Pond from our view which made us realize how much we had actually climbed.

Chapel Pond

We continued to climb the flat rock which seemed to not want to end. As we continue to climb on the open rock the temperature was increasing and the rock was getting hotter. Finally after about 2.5 hours we made it to a x-roads. Either we could climb .1 mile to Giant summit or go 1.2 miles to Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR). I was set on getting the longer one out of the way first. Either way we had to come back to this point to get to our Jeep. The guys agreed and so now we started our decent of Giant Mtn. Our descent was roughly 600' and then a 500' ascent of Rocky Peak Ridge. The ascent was a little tricky in some spots where we had to descent by holding on to one tree and then grabbing another. We were on rock covered with moss and we didn't want to slip, so swing like moneys was the safest bet. It’s a nice hike over to Rocky Peak Ridge going from shade to sun over and over again. As we were nearing the final part of our accent the trail narrowed and I mean it was foot in front of foot. It looked like a well travelled trail in just one straight line. After about a 1:15 minutes we had reached our first summit of 46.

Me, Matt, Frank on Rocky Peak Ridge Summit

After a nice 45 minute rest along w/ lunch and a lot of water we were ready to get moving and get to the summit of Giant. We continue back our same beaten trail. We descended quickly and attempted to ascend Giant as fast as we could but we had started to burn ourselves out. I personally can say I was getting exhausted. I was up to trying to cover 100' and then take a water break. That was my goal but it seemed it was more like 50' and then I needed a break. It took roughly the same amount of time to get back to our x-roads and we took a small water break. We had .1 of a mile left and we were ready to push on. After doing the ascent and descent of Giant to RPR then RPR to Giant this last stretch was like a nice walk. The ascent was a nice steady climb nothing what we had experienced before. It seemed like just minutes before we made the summit of Giant.

Matt, Me, Frank on Giant Mountain Summit

We dropped our packs and laid down on the summit and admired the view. You could see a lot of the 46 high peaks from Giant. There was another group of five on the summit and we talked to them for about 10 minutes. They were from Glenville, NY and had come up for the day to hike Giant. One of the guys had completed the 46 and started to tell us stories of some of the peaks. He also pointed out the mountains in front of us and told us which peaks were what. If I wasn’t so physically and mentally drained I probably could have retained some of the information he had told us. After a few photos and soaking in the view we decided to finish our day and descend the mountain back to the Jeep and get home. I was feeling good at this point, mostly just tired but not too much pain.

Matt hiking down Giant Moutain

The hike down was the most painful part of the hike in my opinion. I was jumping off of rocks and large steps like I was 8 years old again jumping off a swing at the playground. Well about the time we came to our first false summit I was in a great deal of pain. My knees were killing me and I wasn’t jumping from rocks anymore. The descent continued and continued and damn I thought it was never going to end. I felt like we were hiking a never ending trail. Did they lengthen the trail that day while I was on the summit? I don’t remember any of this from before. Then off in the distance you could hear what to me at that point was an oasis, the sound of fuel powered vehicles, yes cars and trucks. I could hear them but not see them; I was thinking at this point we must be close. Well it turned into not close enough. We hiked easily for another 20 minutes, but to me it was like an hour. We got to the jeep and I had water sitting in a cooler. I had run out on the way down with like 40 minutes left. Ever go w/o water for a while on a hot day and when you finally get it the best tasting thing in the world, I had never tasted better tap water then what was in my bottle. I got into the back of the Jeep and we headed home just shortly after 5:30 PM.

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