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Panther Gorge

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About Panther Gorge:

Panther Gorge lies between Mt. Marcy on the west and Mt. Haystack on the east. The elevation differential between Marcy's summit and the gorge is approximately 1,950 feet. This area hosts some of the most remote backcountry traditional climbing in the Adirondacks. It's an exercise in tenacity just to get to the base of the routes. Once there, the rock quality is excellent with a view that's awe-inspiring. From north to south on the Marcy side: The four named walls on this side of the gorge are the Panther Den, the Feline Wall, the Agharta Wall and the newly opened(2015) Huge Scoop. On a side note, the Agharta name was inspired by the Miles Davisí Agharta album after Christian Fracchia and Charlie Dickens made the first ascent of the Agharta (not AgarTHa) ice route in 1999. Several other cliffs break the forest before Grand Central Slide (the easiest scramble in the area once above the cliffs). Immediately south lies the East Face, a quarter mile wide technical slab. On its southern border lies the Margin Slide. From north to south on the Haystack side: Marcy's walls hold the most technical and aesthetic routes, but Mt. Haystack also offers some unique climbing opportunities. There are currently 6 routes developed on this side. The first lies on a pillar about 525 feet south of the Phelps Trail, the first of its kind to be documented in the area. Next is the Ramp Wall, named for the obvious left rising ramp. This area has 3 routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.8. A "V" shaped wall south of the Ramp Wall (set between a basaltic dike and gully) forms another route while a set of adjoined technical slides lies approximately 1/4 mile to the south. The terrain in the middle of the gorge hosts a series of beaver ponds, blowdown fields, talus fields (along almost every cliff) and a variety of drainage streams that join with Marcy Brook (Champlain watershed).
Nearest town or city: Lake Placid
Directions: Plan on 13-19 hours minimum for a day trip including a climb. North End Access From the Garden in Keene Valley: Park at the Garden trailhead in Keene Valley (parking fee required in summer). Follow the Phelps trail 8 miles to the junction of Haystack Mountain and bushwhack south through the Haystack/Marcy col--the north end of Panther Gorge. Trend to the right of the drainage toward Marcy's cliffs to avoid extensive talus and blowdown. Slant Rock Lean-to and the nearby campsites are the most convenient bivy sites from which to attack the gorge from the north. South End Access From Adirondack Loj: Park at the Loj (parking fee applies) and hike 8 miles to 4-corners between Mt. Skylight and Mt. Marcy. Descend 1.2 miles into Panther Gorge. From Elk Lake: Park at the public parking lot near the end of Elk Lake Road in North Hudson. Follow the Elk Lake to Marcy Trail 9 miles to the south end of Panther Gorge.
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