Big Slide

The twenty-seventh High Peak gets its name from one of two large rock slides near its summit. The earlier slide, on the John Brooks (eastern) side of the mountain, formed in 1830 following a nine-day stretch of heavy rain. The second slide, along the South Meadow (western) side, resulted from another major rain event in 1856. According to several Keene Valley guides, local Otis Estes gave the peak its name in 1856. Despite the coincidental timing, the name of the mountain is probably derived from the 1830 slide, which is located on the Keene Valley side of the mountain.

Surveyor John Richards was likely the first to ascend this 4,240-foot peak as he ran a line for the Old Military Tract in 1812. Johns Brook Lodge sits near the base of Big Slide Mountain, the Adirondacks’ only backcountry lodge. Built in 1925, the lodge sleeps twenty-eight people and employs a “hutcrew” every summer to maintain the property and cook meals for guests. The lodge was named after John Gibbs, who lived where Johns Brook intersects the Ausable River in 1795. Because the High Peaks Wilderness Area prohibits the presence of human-made structures, the lodge sits on the John Brooks Primitive Area, a zone that stretches along the 3.5-mile trail toward the Garden Parking Area in Keene Valley.

View of Big Slide Mountain from Lower Wolfjaw Mountain
View of Big Slide Mountain from Lower Wolfjaw

Mackenzie, Kevin B. “Adirondack Landslides: History, Exposures, and Climbing.” The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 21, 2016, pp. 167–183., issuu.com/kellyadirondackcenter/docs/ajes.vol21.singlepages.

Warren, John. “A Short History of Johns Brook Lodge.” The Adirondack Almanack, 6 July 2011, www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/07/a-short-history-of-johns-brook-lodge.html.