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Routes in Avalanche Lake/Pass

Adirondike T WI3+
Avalanche Mountain Gully WI4-
Matrix, The T WI5+
Trap Dike, The WI2 Easy Snow
Type: Ice, Snow, 2000 ft, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 9,472 total, 117/month
Shared By: Simon Thompson on May 5, 2011
Admins: Jim Lawyer

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39 Opinions

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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.
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
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. May 23, 2016
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. Dec 6, 2015
Nolan Huther
Clarkson University
Nolan Huther   Clarkson University
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! Jun 21, 2015
Skied the route from the summit in early March, there were no fixed anchors, we made v-threads for every rappel. Apr 19, 2012
Matt Glue
Boulder, CO
Matt Glue   Boulder, CO
Irene took out all vegetation in the dike. Don't expect any tree anchors. Dec 6, 2011
Auto-X Fil
NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
Auto-X Fil   NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
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. May 25, 2011