Ampersand Mountain

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Ampersand Mountain
Ampersand Mtn from Middle Saranac Lake.jpg
Ampersand Mountain from Middle Saranac Lake
Highest point
Elevation 3,353 ft (1,022 m) [1]
Prominence 1,313 ft (400 m) [2]
Coordinates 44°14′04″N 74°12′10″W / 44.234580189°N 74.202669378°W / 44.234580189; -74.202669378Coordinates: 44°14′04″N 74°12′10″W / 44.234580189°N 74.202669378°W / 44.234580189; -74.202669378
Location Harrietstown, New York, U.S.
Parent range Adirondacks
Topo map USGS Ampersand Mountain
First ascent Dr. W. W. Ely, in 1872[3]

Ampersand Mountain is a 3,352 ft (1,021.7 m) mountain in Franklin County in the northeastern Adirondacks, west of the High Peaks in New York State. The trail up the mountain begins on New York State Route 3 8.1 miles (13.0 km) southwest of the village of Saranac Lake, near Middle Saranac Lake; it is a popular day hike. The mountain takes its name from nearby Ampersand Creek, so named because it twists and turns like the ampersand symbol.[4] The summit is bare rock, with extensive views of the High Peaks to the east and the Saranac Lakes to the west.


W.W. Ely made the first recorded ascent of Ampersand Mountain in 1872. Ely and Dr. William Reed and three others later cleared the summit of trees, and built a lean-to. The following year, Verplanck Colvin cleared the remaining trees while working on his survey of the Adirondacks, and subsequent fires and erosion left the summit bare. Colvin credits Ely for the mountain's name. New York State built a fire lookout station on the summit in 1911, although a fire tower was deemed unnecessary due to the open views available. By 1920, tree growth was such that a 22-foot (7-meter) fire tower was erected. The tower was used until 1970, when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation closed it, as it had become more cost-effective to spot fires using aircraft. The tower was removed in July, 1977.[3] There is a memorial near the summit to hermit Walter Channing Rice, who manned the fire tower from 1915 to 1923.[4]

Ampersand was the first mountain that wilderness activist and explorer Bob Marshall climbed, in 1915, when he was 14. In 1925, Marshall, his brother George and Herbert K. Clark became the first to climb all 46 of the Adirondack peaks over 4,000 ft (1,200 m),[5] becoming the first Adirondack Forty-Sixers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ampersand". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  2. ^ "Ampersand Mountain, New York". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b Podskoch, Martin, Adirondack Fire Towers, Their History and Lore, Fleischmanns, NY:Purple Mountain Press, 2005. p. 26. ISBN 1-930098-64-2
  4. ^ a b Goodwin, Tony, ed., Adirondack Trails, High Peaks Region, Lake George, New York: Adirondack Mountain Club, 2004. ISBN 1-931951-05-5
  5. ^ Brown, Phil (ed). 2006. Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks. Saranac Lake, New York: Lost Pond Press. ISBN 0-9789254-0-8.

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