Monday, December 24, 2012

Blackhead Mountain Attempt, Catskills

December 23, 2012
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 4 hours 36 minutes
Map: Catskill Trails Map Set
Parking: Snowplow turnaround (don't block), Big Hollow Road. There is a parking lot beyond the snowplow turnaround, but a sign said the road is closed during the winter (starting November 1). There were cars parked there anyways. The walk to the trailhead was about 15 minutes.
Restrooms: None
Notes: Catskill 3500 footer
Post hike dinner: Garden Cafe on the Green, Woodstock

Continue straight along the road. Trailhead for the Black Dome Range Trail is straight ahead. Continue .6 miles. Bear left on yellow blazed Batavia Kill Trail and continue for .9 miles. Turn right on blue blazed Escarpment Trail. Hike 1 mile to the summit.

From the Catskill Mountainer website:
Blackhead - East access has a 30-40 degree climb near the top for about 100 vertical feet.

This climb at the end is ice! We had microspikes on, but they were not sufficient. We found ourselves in a dangerous situation. We were very close to the summit, but ended up deciding to turn around (see note about 30-40 degree climb!). Going down was much harder than going up. We were sliding down, holding onto tree trunks, because our microspikes couldn't grip. There was a man with 2 boys behind us without microspike/crampons, and they turned around before us (the teenagers were complaining about turning around, but luckily the father had sense). Even so, they were spending a lot of time on their hands and knees. Our dogs found it difficult too. Next time we try this in the winter, we will try the west route, and bring crampons in case they are needed.

Year to date miles 398.7

At the trailhead, there was only a light coating of snow. The trail follows a stream. One of the stream crossings was difficult. It was wide, and very hard to find enough rocks to step on. And the rocks were icy. ACK! I hate stream crossings. Especially in winter.
The beginning of the hike isn't difficult, though the further you get, the steeper it seems to get.
On the blue blazed Escarpment Trail, we started sliding too much, so on went the microspikes.
We didn't take too many photos of views on the way up, but this was one of them. At this point, the hike was tiring, but still doable with microspikes.
One unhappy dog. It might look like snow, but underneath the thin coat of snow, the rocks are covered in a thick layer of ice. There isn't much to hold onto. Trek didn't want to go down.
Glen and Moxie at the top of an ice patch. Again, it looks snowy, but as you can see, Moxie is having a hard time getting down - here she is frantic, trying to find a way down. At one of these icy inclines, I tried hiking down the side, which looked like pure snow - figuring it would be easier. It wasn't. Underneath the snow was ice. My microspikes couldn't get a grip, and I ended up sliding down, hanging onto tree roots going down. It was not fun. The photo doesn't do it justice as to how difficult this was.
Going down, turning onto the yellow trail.

No comments:

Post a Comment