Elevation: 2,098 ft
GPS: 44.14324, -74.12238
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Shared By: Kevin MudRat MacKenzie on Aug 26, 2022
Admins: Morgan Patterson, Jim Lawyer, Kevin MudRat MacKenzie


This area is dedicated to Adirondack slides or landslides. There are hundreds mostly located on various aspects of mountains in the High Peaks region with a few exceptions such as Snowy Mountain. Of the assortment, there are perhaps 80-100 worth climbing depending on your propensity for adventure and navigational/climbing skills (not to mention bloodletting during some of the bushwhacks). It is worth noting that moss, lichen, and pioneer trees repopulate the slides depending on their steepness and aspect. Expect to deal with this as a slide ages.

In short, the slides are strips of exposed bedrock (generally anorthosite) or sandy debris that offer challenging scrambles, a few technical climbs (some on Mts. Colden, Gothics, Dix, Pyramid for example), and unique views of the surrounding terrain. Their characteristics are best described in this excerpt from Adirondack Landslides: History, Exposures, and Climbing in the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies: Vol. 21: No. 1, Article 13.


Slides or debris avalanches occur with some regularity; one might say frequently in terms of geologic time. History shows that they are generally triggered by intense precipitation falling over a short period of time (localized downbursts/ hurricanes) or heavy rainfall over several days, thoroughly saturating the soil. The range of precipitation intensity varies from 10 cm in one hour to 56 cm over two days (Bogucki 1977). When the thin layer of soil covering the underlying bedrock becomes saturated on an area of sufficient slope, gravity can exceed frictional forces and slippage can occur, sometimes catastrophically. Soil, trees, and rocks can slide downhill at an amazing speed. Debris avalanches are most likely to occur on slopes between 17° and 44° though most form on slopes > 30° (Bogucki 1977). Small stream valleys or gullies draining higher elevations of sufficient slope seem especially susceptible to sliding. 

Existing slides are often augmented in length, width, or in the number of converging slide tracks near their head walls, generally following the course of small tributaries or intermittent gullies. As discussed below, these additions to pre-existing slides commonly occur and, even if the change is significant, are not technical “new” slides but repeat offenders. Slides distinctly separated from a neighboring track are generally described as “new,” but an intriguing question is – are they truly new or simply a modern incarnation of an ancient landslide?  

Tim Tefft suggests that the Lake Placid slide (44°21’55.1”N, 73°54’26.1”W) has probably re-occurred over thousands of years (Tefft 2011). If true, this puts “new” in a subjective context and accurate only when related to a human lifespan or initiation of settlement. 

Historic photographs and aerial photographs also confirm that slides often reoccur in the same areas. Resources such as Google Earth aid with navigation as well as provide a limited set of historic aerial photographs. The timeline feature provides incremental imagery back to the 1990s. The pattern of trees on mountainsides and regrowth in disrupted streambeds indicate that landslides scars can gradually revegetate. Comparing photographs of recent slides to older images of the same area sometimes show the new slide located in roughly the same area as an older slide. The Lobster Claw slide (44°4’29.6”N, 73°46’55.2”W) located on the western aspect of the ridge between Dix Mountain and Hough Peak is a good example of a recurrent slide. It was created after Tropical Storm Irene during the early summer of 2013 as a result of heavy rains.

Continue reading…

Conjoined Slides on Haystack.

Bogucki, D.J. 1977. “Debris slide hazards in the Adirondack province of New York State,” Environmental Geology, 12: 317-328.

Tefft, Tim. 2011. “Whiteface Mountain,” in Heaven Up-h’isted-ness! The History of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, Cadyville: Adirondack Forty-Sixers, Inc., 539-557.

Getting There

Slides are located on most of the High Peaks and many of the lower mountains. See getting to the Adirondacks.

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Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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