Johns Brook (JB) Vally and Grace Camp Trip
We started off early from NYC and arrived at The Mountaineer around 1:30pm to rent Daniel an AT setup and Orcun some snow shoes. Following a burger and a few beers we headed up to the Garden parking area. Everyone coming out said the snow was great at high elevations. After a quick change and strapping our skis/boards to our bags, we started the 3.5 mile/900 vertical hike to Grace Camp. Within the first mile, we all knew we over-packed and it was going to be a difficult hike in. After a longer than expected, 30 minutes of which was after dark, we reached the bridge (which looked new) to cross Johns Brook. We soon arrived at the Grace Camp, which was nestled in some fir trees and got the lights (which do a so so job, candles are recommended as well) and heat going. Next was our water, unfortunately because it was after dark and we didn’t want to risk getting water from the JB river, we opted to melt some snow (which took a bit). We enjoyed some dinner, wine and whisky and got to bed at a decent hour.
After sleeping in (a bit late), we needed to get more water for the day and night, as well as prepare breakfast and lunch. We found a secure spot to get water from JB and carried up 15 liters to be boiled. After all the prep work and eating, we got a late start on our journey up to the Gothics. Both Daniel and I decided to skin up, while Orcun hiked with his board - in hindsight, we all should have hiked. Regardless though, it was an enjoyable skin up, but did require to hike up, down and over a few sketchy spots. We skined/hiked about 2 hours before reaching the first slide on the Gothics. At this point it started snowing heavily, we assessed our time and realized we had to ski this slide to avoid hiking/skiing again in the dark. So, we set a skin track and started heading up. Unfortunately we encountered what I assume is typical ADK ice (which was insane) about half way up. After trying to work around it, we realized we didn’t have the proper gear to continue up (I have crampons now though) and decided we should just ski it. We built a nice platform off to the side in the trees, had lunch and then strapped in for the descent. It wasn’t a long run, but we got some good turns in. After skiing the slide a bit, we decided we needed to head back to Grace Camp. I wanted to explore Ore Bed Brook - which you are supposed to be able to ski - but unfortunately after skiing a few hundred yards it got sketchy. So, we hiked out in the heavy snow, which was quite enjoyable. That night we cooked a hearty dinner and finished the wine. After dinner, we decided do to the conditions, we would hike out in the morning and ski Whiteface.
It was quite the trip overall and we’ll be back for sure next year. Though we’ll likely go a little later in the season. Check out the rest of our pictures here.