Big Slide Mountain
Keene Valley in the Adirondacks is home to the greatest number of high peaks in a given region, including my most recent hike of Big Slide Mountain. Big Slide is number 27 on the list of the 46 high peaks, and overall, it was a tough but rewarding hike.
Big Slide is about a 6-7 hour hike depending on where you start and your pace. I hiked with my father and recent ADK blogger, Tyler Place. We set out at around 10:00 AM from The Gardens parking area and took The Brothers trail to get to the summit of Big Slide, which was about 3.9 miles up. Big Slide can be accessed from another nearby trail, utilizing the John Brooks path, or can be done as an even longer loop (about 10-12 miles depending on who you ask, I've seen reviews of 12, as well as 10...good luck!).
Big Slide was a fantastic hike at 4,240 feet above sea level with a 2,800 foot ascent. The Three Brothers route was fit with multiple, each one better than the last, lookout points that make for great picture-taking and serene enjoyment of the magnitude of the High Peaks region. For your information, the first Brother lookout is 1.5 miles from the original trailhead off of the Garden parking area. There are a few lookouts prior to hitting the summit of Brother One, so don't get your hopes up that you're scaling the mountain at record pace thinking you've reached the top of Brother One - we made that mistake. Once you've reached the Summit of Brother One, number Two is only .2 miles further, and then number 3 is about a mile further than that. Each has a few steep climbs, including a couple rock scrambles especially on Brother One, and some relatively moderate terrain to catch a breath on. Following the summit of Brother 3 there is a view of the Big Slide summit which seems so much closer to you than it actually is. It's about 1.2 miles further, but from my apparently off-balance depth perception, it seemed much closer.
The 1.2 mile hike from Brother 3 to Big Slide summit starts off pretty easy, with mostly moderate terrain for the first 10-20 minutes or so, some nice little creeks along the way to cool off your head/face in. But, it'll start to really pick up on the difficult level, with some serious steeps, ladder climbs, rock ledges, great (but dangerous) lookout points, and at this point in the season, still plenty of ice. It seems like the ice will be there until June, but maybe it'll melt away earlier. MAKE SURE to come prepared with the proper gear - crampons even in May, trekking poles, maybe a change of socks and other proper footwear. I saw a few hikers wearing sneakers, no poles and no crampons. We had to help them up at least one of the steeps. I didn't have crampons but I did have poles, and it was a hinderance on the way down for sure. Plenty of slipping on my part.
The Summit lookout area is small in terms of the space for revelers, but it is spectacular in terms of the panoramic views. Giant Mountain to the west, the Gothics, Marcy, Algonquin, Haystack, and several others to the South. Really incredible views that are tough to walk away from once you're ready to travel down. This was only my 3rd of the 46ers, but it shot a new sense of lifeblood into me to quickly get back up to the High Peaks and pick off more of them - and fast.
As stated above, our trip down included my not having crampons and it proved to be a bit of a pain. I slipped multiple times and had a few close calls, but all in all it was about 1 mile of pain and the rest was smooth with no ice. Some knee pain from a few of the steeps where I forgot my age and hopped off the final rock ledge of each, but all in all we did fine. Considering we had a few short breaks along the way and about 30 minutes or so on top to take in the views, our 6.5 hour round trip wasn't all that bad. Big Slide is a heck of a mountain, a must-climb for any ADK hiker or visitor. Thanks for reading!