The ninth highest mountain in the Adirondacks was named by Phelps and Perkins in 1857, on the same day they named three other High Peaks. While they stood atop Mount Marcy, contemplating potential mountain names, they noticed a cup or basin-like depression between the summit of Basin and a rising ridge line to the west. Colvin and Ed Phelps made the first recorded ascent of Basin on August 10, 1877 as they explored the land between Gothics and Marcy. Lawyer James Storrow and guide Orlando Beede climbed the peak at some point between 1869 and 1871, though the exact date is unknown.

Basin is one the central peaks of the Great Range, a northeast-southwest trending line of mountains in the Central High Peaks Wilderness Zone. The Great Range Traverse, a classic Adirondack hiking route, passes over eight high peaks, including (in order) Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, Haystack, and Marcy. The route is twenty-five miles long, ascends over 9,000 feet in elevation, and contains some of the most gnarly sections of trail in the high peaks. Several ladders and cables have been constructed along the route to help hikers maintain their footing on steep rock faces and cliffs.

View from Pyramid Peak. Basin is in the center (with all the slides), Saddleback is to the right, and Marcy is splitting the clouds behind Basin

“Great Range in Adirondacks: What to Know about 1 of the Hardest Day-Hikes in Country.” New York Upstate, 9 June 2016,