Porter Mountain

28 Dec

In keeping with our new Christmas tradition, Eric, Picasso and I headed up to Lake Placid for Christmas 2015.


On Christmas Eve morning, we got up, packed up, and headed out to the trail head for Cascade/Porter Mountains.  Last year’s plan had been to hike them both together, but I tore up my heels in new winter boots, so we called it quits after Cascade.  This year was all about unfinished business.  We also planned to knock off Street and Nye, which is why we were up and at the trail head at 7 am.


It was barely light when we got started.  We had packed our Hillsounds (kind of like Kahtoolas) and also some heavy duty crampons, fully anticipating ice at the top of the mountain.  We saw very little and ended up hiking in just our trail sneakers.  It was 60-something degrees and 80% humidity, so we ended up ditching jackets pretty early on in the climb.  Up, up, up we went.


Re-reading my blog post from last year, I have to laugh–the trail is pretty steep in places, but every year I get stronger, and I know because this year the hike didn’t feel too terrible.  Every time I started feeling less excited about climbing, we’d hit a nice “catch-your-breath” section of easy climb or flat or at least no more giant boulders.  When you have short stubby legs like me, those big boulders kill you.


While the trail wasn’t slippery from ice, it was extremely slick from mud and melted ice/snow.  We were often in ankle-deep mud puddles, and I was so thankful to be rocking my Columbia Out-Dries.  My feet stayed completely dry and safe, and I had zero blister issues this year!!! Hooray!!!  The mud was slippery, brownie-batter mud in places, and the slide marks from hikers before us were evident.  I almost fell a couple of times, too, but managed to stay upright thanks in large part to my hiking poles (and also my lightening quick reflexes).

lotta this..

lotta this..

At the split for the two mountains, we began a descent in a waterfall (so this is why they call it cascade mountain).  It was very steep and very slick and there were patches of ice.  I started to think about what would happen if one of us broke something here, if we’d be able to get back down without needing an emergency rescue.  We descended for probably a quarter mile, but it took 30 minutes (this may be exaggeration–it felt like it took forever–I toned down my hyperbole) because we were being careful to pick good footing and not get hurt.  Then we began to ascend again.  The summit was kind of a let-down in my opinion.  It’s not very big like some of the other mountains we’ve climbed.  We were able, though, to see a beautiful sunrise before we descended.

the sunrise made for some pretty spectacular pictures!

the sunrise made for some pretty spectacular pictures!

our little family

our little family

As we were going down, we realized we hadn’t seen anyone.  We finally started seeing some families about a mile from the cars and enjoyed playing “Will They Make It?”  (Me: Oh for sure.  Eric: Not a chance. She’s got on fuzzy Uggs, Shme).  Everyone we saw was very pleasant.  At the car, we had a quick snack and talked for a bit with a guy who was getting ready to head up.


This hike (and Cascade) is a pretty easy one if you’re looking for a good one to start with.


To read about the rest of the Christmas adventure, go here.


One Response to “Porter Mountain”


  1. 2nd Annual Christmas in Lake Placid | shmeruns - December 28, 2015

    […] the report on climbing Porter, go here.  It was a great climb, super warm, and relatively easy.  At the top, there were very clearly […]

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