Hiking Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong and Upper WolfJaw Mountains

When previous plans fell through on Saturday, I was free the spend the day doing what I enjoy most–being outdoors. I convinced my friend Brendan to hike part of the Lower Great Range in the high peaks–four mountains and three of the 46: Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong and Upper Wolfjaw. There was the option to add Lower Wolfjaw, but kept that at a “maybe” depending on time and how we felt after already hiking four mountains.

The day began early at 5:30AM-we drove up and stopped for food and coffee on the way. Normally I despise fast food, but with nothing open at that hour except McDonalds, an egg and cheese on a biscuit is decent hiking fuel. We arrived at the Ausable Club parking lot on the AMR to found it full at 7:15. We drove across Rt 73 and parked in the lot for Giant, grabbing one of the the last of two spots. It was a busy day in the high peaks.

We started hiking a little before 7:30AM with the dreaded “road” walk. I don’t mind it, it serves as a decent warm up for me. We got to the bridge over the Ausable Lake at 8:45AM.

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We stopped at Rainbow Falls for a quick glance. Pretty! I was here once before, in much colder weather when I hiked Sawteeth in December 2013.

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Now the real hiking begins!

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Finally, we hit the junction between Sawteeth and Pyramid at 10:20 AM.

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Summited Pyramid at 11:15AM, still relatively clean…

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We could see and hear other hikers over on the Gothics. It looked much further than it actually was.

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Reached Gothics at 11:48AM.

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Stayed for a little bit on the summit and had a snack or two. Headed down to go over to Armstrong.

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Got to Armstrong at 1:40PM; the summit was smaller than I was expecting!

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Some awesome views up here for sure. Didn’t stay long. Onto the next, Upper Wolfjaw. Ladders going down were a little scary.

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Got to Upper Wolfjaw at 2:51PM.

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Congrats to B on his Lucky #13!

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#17 for me–notice the mud now. We felt pretty good. We still had about 5 or 6 miles left to get back to the car, but had the option to add on Lower Wolfjaw. We got the intersection and decided against it. The mountain will still be there and it’s doable on its own.

The hike out via the Wedge Brook Trail was a slog. Our legs were tired after about 15 miles of hiking for  nearly 12 hours. But we did see some pretty falls.

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We were done at around 7:30PM.

The trail we took is highlighted in pink.

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Overall, it was an excellent day in the mountains! It was a long one, but I felt strong. The trail was muddy and wet in some spots, mostly coming from Armstrong and up and down Upper Wolfjaw. I came home with some bruises and scrapes on my legs–but that’s when you know it’s been a good hiking day.

Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, and Upper Wolfjaw-  a loop from the Ausable Club Parking
~15 mi RT

Pyramid
Elevation: 4,515′
Pyramid falls short on being a high peak because to be considered one, it must be at least .75 miles from the nearest higher summit and have 300 feet of rise on all sides. Pyramid falls short of this by .45 mile and 79 feet.  Pyramid is also considered a sub-peak of Gothics and is not included in the 46er list. {Source}
Ascent: 3,200′

Gothics
Elevation: 4,734′

Armstrong
Elevation: 4,446′

Upper Wolfjaw
Elevation: 4,203′
Total elevation gain recorded before my GPS watch died, after all the mountains were climbed: 3,339′

Gear used: EMS zip off hiking shorts found at Goodwill, cheapo Walmart workout racerback, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Kelty poles, Garmin Vivoactive GPS watch, Keen Durand hiking boots, Smartwool socks, Platypus 3L Big Zip water bladder

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Janis,

    I loved your pics and notes describing this hike. Well done!!! I know it was awhile ago, but do you remember how it was descending UWJ? Was it really steep? Also, were there any really narrow paths on cliff ledges that you had to traverse during the course of this hike? I’ve been trying to research this climb, but find conflicting reports. Thus, I’m hoping you might be able to clarify it. Also, what is your average speed when hiking? I consider myself to be slow, especially if there are steep descents. It took me 8.5 hours to do Big Slide. (I’ve only done 12 peaks so far – started last summer.) Do you know if there is a decent exit after Armstrong if I didn’t have the time and/or energy to do UWJ? I’m sorry about all the questions, but you seemed to have a good handle on how these hikes truly are for the average hiker. I’m hoping to get a realistic sense of how this climb would be for an older, and slower hiker. 😊 Thanks!!! Chris

    1. Hi Chris,
      From what I remember, there are no narrow paths on cliff ledges on this hike. I can’t remember how steep the trail down UWJ was–but I know there is always the option of doing both UWJ and LWJ on their own as a separate hike if all all three of them is too much in one day. I don’t think there is a way out after UWJ unless you go back the way you came and take the trail #34 between Gothics and UWJ on the map I posted above. But at that point you are really close to UWJ so it’s worth it go and hike it making a big loop. It’s a long day but I don’t remember it being that hard. The key is to start really early if you consider yourself a slower hike, that way you can get as much daylight as possible! Happy hiking 🙂

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