Whiteface, Esther


Topographic map courtesy of Topozone.com

July 2009

Whiteface Mountain, as seen from the entrance to the downhill ski area




Marble Mountain

Lookout Mountain

Whiteface is a mighty mountain, (5th highest in NY, at 4638 ft.), and perhaps the most unique of the 46 high peaks in New York, because it is so accessible. It offers many ways to summit it’s crowded and overpopulated peak. There are two different routes to hike up, or you can simply drive your car up the Whiteface Memorial Highway, which snakes its’ way up the Northeastern slope. It is almost all by itself, a lonely peak separated by the rest of the 46 peaks, with a world-famous ski resort on its’ eastern side. But it does have just one next-door neighbor: Esther Mountain, (28th highest at 4240 ft.).

This presented an interesting option for us. We could take it “easy”, by not having to do our normally laborious and long hike in with full packs on, camp, then do the mountain hike the next day, then hike back out on the third day.

No, this trip we seized the opportunity to get a bit more luxurious, and so we camped at the foot of the mountain, at the KOA (Kampgrounds Of America) in Wilmington. This offered nice flat tent sites, bathrooms and showers, and even a swimming pool! It also meant that we could go out for dinner in nearby Wilmington, or even Lake Placid.

So we arrived at the campgrounds on Friday afternoon, set up our tents, then went out for dinner. The 13-mile hike began at dawn the next hot morning...

(Part of my Original 46er quest)