SLM has the type of terrain where the first freeze practically requires the hiker to use traction, and now with the fresh snow covering the ice, it’s pretty much necessary. I decided to visit this little peak again the other day. I was passing through and had a couple hours to spare for a bit of exercise. I didn’t end up with much for views because of the low clouds and the storm moving through, but again, I was not disappointed.
The hard part was the old woods road along the initial part of the trail. There are always loose stones scattered about and many not yet frozen to the ground. Many of these moved under the snow making a few of the steps more of a fancy jig. Once the trail veered from the old road the terrain was much better, in my mind. With microspikes afoot I moved along quite nicely thought the attractive forest surrounding me.
As the terrain began to steepen the ice became a bit more obvious. After a short stop at the “Tree Bench” and a sip of hot chocolate I attacked the next steep section of the trail. Just in case you are wondering what a “Tree Bench” is, it’s a tree branch or stem that has grown in such a way that it has formed a pleasant bench to rest upon.
Past here comes another short but steep section to a partial view, obscured by trees. After a moderate section I worked my way up the final section that can be more of a rock scramble, if you want it to be, I did. What I mean is, the open rock area can be scrambled as an approach to the summit, or it can be skirted to the left and avoided in the trees. Either they can both be rather slippery, but with proper traction can be a viable ascent route. From here, it got extremely windy as I broke out of the trees onto the open face of the mountain, but it wasn’t long before I stood on the summit snapping photos of what I could see beneath the clouds.
The descent was very fast, but in some cases a bit tricky. With careful footing and the use of an occasional tree for balance and support, it wasn’t all that bad.
Interested in hiking in the Whiteface Region? Maybe you have never been on snowshoes before and want an introduction to winter travel and snowshoeing? It’s easy to get something set up, contact a local guide service for details – programs can run daily.