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Winter Exploration in the Adks

Looking out the window this bright and sunny morning might fool one into a sense of warm security, but given that most of our cars wouldnt start because of the frigid arctic air completely belies that perception once you set foot outside. Still, a lot of us jump at the chance to get up early and hit the slopes and trails no matter how cold it is, so heres to ice picks, crampons, and frozen toes. People from all over come to see if our famous winters really hold their water, er, ice. Janet Morgan of the Adirondack Loj at Heart Lake right outside Lake Placid knows this well. We are especially busy during the months of January and February, she says. However, visitors dont necessarily know where the best winter trails are, or whether they should really attempt an alpine ascent of one of the dozens of ice covered slides that cascade down many of the High Peaks. No amount of online research or pouring over trail maps at 2am the night before coming out here can match the expertise of winter guides on our frigid peaks. Guiding services dont abruptly end once the snow starts to fly quite the opposite. Winter mountaineering, ice climbing, and skiing in the backcountry is a totally different challenge than summer exploration. Events that draw people to challenge themselves in our woods are also extremely important, since many have established themselves long ago as significant attractions for regional and national visitors. We spoke with Vinny at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley about their upcoming 12th Annual Mountain Fest. Mountain Fest has turned out to be a big deal for us, he said. Its one of the few opportunities for people to be exposed to world renowned climbers, take clinics, and test out new gear. Events like these bring in so many people hungry for a taste of our region that they simply cant be ignored. The Adirondacks are key in helping to lure more visitors to our region, no matter what the season.

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