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Avalanche Lake/Pass
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Avalanche Mountain Gully 
Trap Dike, The 

The Trap Dike 


Type:  Ice, 2 pitches, 2000', Grade II
Original: WI2 Easy Snow [details]
Page Views: 7,283
Submitted By: Simon Thompson on May 5, 2011

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BETA PHOTO: Looking up Trap Dike from the middle of Avalanche ...


The Trap Dike and the North face of Gothics are THE classic winter mountaineering ascents in the Adirondacks. Though most parties will only rope up for a couple for a couple of pitches, the Trap Dike provides a fun, exposed, and fairly continuous line directly to the summit of Mt Colden.

From the base of the dike, climb one pitch of stepped ice(usually). The belay used to be just above the ice on some fixed tat from bushes/trees. I am not sure if the belay is still there since Irene*. After the first pitch, hike some low-angled snow to the next obvious steep step. This pitch is shorter than the first but is usually the crux of the route.

  • -If anybody has information on this please comment.

Photos of The Trap Dike Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Very exposed slab in early December 2015. Only ver...
Very exposed slab in early December 2015. Only ver...
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the lower ice bulges.
One of the lower ice bulges.
Rock Climbing Photo: End of the trap dike with thicker, harder ice in e...
BETA PHOTO: End of the trap dike with thicker, harder ice in e...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thin brittle ice in early December 2015
BETA PHOTO: Thin brittle ice in early December 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: First waterfall in early December 2015
BETA PHOTO: First waterfall in early December 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Trap Dyke in March 2015, Heavy snow in the dyke an...
Trap Dyke in March 2015, Heavy snow in the dyke an...
Rock Climbing Photo: trapdike, on the slab
trapdike, on the slab
Rock Climbing Photo: trapdike, heading towards the slab
trapdike, heading towards the slab
Rock Climbing Photo: trapdike, dec 20 2014
trapdike, dec 20 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: trapdike, december 20 2014
trapdike, december 20 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: trapdike from avalanche lake
trapdike from avalanche lake
Rock Climbing Photo: Trekking up the dome
Trekking up the dome
Rock Climbing Photo: Skiing back down to the first rappel.
Skiing back down to the first rappel.
Rock Climbing Photo: Huge crown line - be careful and consider the aval...
Huge crown line - be careful and consider the aval...

Comments on The Trap Dike Add Comment
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By Auto-X Fil
From: NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
May 25, 2011

In early season, the ice climbing can be long and fun. But later in the year, the Dike will fill in and it'll be mostly a snow climb - but bring a second tool just in case.

The Dike itself is great, with some steep front-pointing cruxes. The slabs are a long, brutal hike with serious exposure (bring protection if the slabs are hard/icy!) but well worth the summit.

And, to top it all off, the ski tour into Avalanche Lake is second to none. If you've got the skills to descend Colden on planks, this might be the best moderate ski mountaineering objective in the Daks. Even with a hike/glissade/rap down the dike, the ski tour+solo up was probably my finest day in the mountains. The approach and route are five-star, and fun in nearly any conditions except avy danger.
By Matt Glue
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 6, 2011

Irene took out all vegetation in the dike. Don't expect any tree anchors.
By apeman e
Dec 14, 2011

The belay is gone.
By Dave Schultz
From: Saratoga Springs, New York
Apr 19, 2012

Skied the route from the summit in early March, there were no fixed anchors, we made v-threads for every rappel.
By Nolan Huther
From: Clarkson University
Jun 21, 2015

Emergency avalanche equipment appears to have been left by the DEC in the Pass- several new fixed length metal avalanche poles with slings can be found shortly after the sign which warns not to climb the Avalanche Pass Slide in the winter (the one as you enter the pass from the Loj). Soon after we found a heavy looking snow shovel hung up on a tree, not sure of this goes along or if it is there for the benefit of the caretaker or something like that. We spotted this in June, so it was probably a new caution after the avalanche which occurred on the Trap Dike this past winter. Good to know in case of an emergency!
By jcmaco
Dec 6, 2015

We climbed this route very early in the season (Dec 5, 2015). This winter has not yet seen much snow and so there was less than 1cm at Adk Loj. The waterfalls were starting to freeze and there was up to 20 cm of poor quality and brittle ice. On the side of the waterfalls are sections of solid ice with good purchase. Frozen mud was also a preferred ice pick placement. We belayed one pitch (second waterfall) and there were still a few dry cracks for cams and nuts. The rest of the dike was climbed unroped. No possibility for ice screws at that time. Higher up, where the terrain is less steep, the ice was thicker and still had lots of bare rock.

The slab was terrifying. Almost no purchase and a thin layer of verglas or bare rock at a 30-45° angle. Practically no opportunities to setup protection. We eventually traversed to the left where snow had accumulated and we set up a running belay by placing slings on branches. A few sections were belayed because of the exposure. We would strongly recommend to wait for more snow on the slab before attempting this section.

It took us 3 hours to reach the base of the trap dike from Adk Loj (lake wasn't frozen), 3.5 hours up the trap dike, 3.5 hours up the slab and 3.5 hours back down via Colden trail.

Can confirm that the probes and shovels are still there on the way to Avalanche Lake. We saw one bolt w/ hanger in the trap dike (didn't use).

We'll definitely come back later in the season.
By Agarciap
Feb 6, 2016

anyone been up lately? what are the conditions like?
By Robert Hall
May 23, 2016
rating: WI2

Just like many of the climbs in Huntington's Ravine (Mt Washington, NH) this climb's technical rating bears no resemblance to the degree of commitment needed for this true Alpine Adventure. For example, see the description above from Dec 6, 2015.

But even in a good year, with relatively "thick" ice, the slabs above the dike are the real "crux". Then, of course, you have the hike back.

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