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Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap & Friday – Aggressive Bushwhack Hike

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  • Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap & Friday – Aggressive Bushwhack Hike

    Over the past year, my son, Jamie and I had hiked many of the Catskill 35’s including some of the easier bushwhack peaks. Now it was time to test our hiking and navigation skills on some of the more difficult bushwhack mountains being those of: Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap, and Friday.

    Hike Plan: Hike from Lone to Friday, end to end. Leave one vehicle at the Moon Haw PA and start the hike from the Denning Road PA. Hike up the Phoenica East Branch Trail (yellow) to the Peekamoose-Table Trail (blue) and follow it only a short distance to the Fisherman’s Path, along the east side of the Neversink River. Follow the Fisherman’s Path until Donovan Brook and then head straight for the summit of Lone. To Rocky, drop down south to the col between the two mountains and then head up to the summit of Rocky. Then, head directly from the summit of Rocky to Balsam Cap. From Balsam Cap, hike to the col between Balsam Cap and Friday. Follow the herd path around the Friday cliffs to the east side where there is a very obvious chute between the cliffs that leads to the summit. Then follow the ridge back to the Moon Haw PA.

    We arrived at the Denning Road PA at 8AM which was an hour later than I had hoped to start our aggressive journey to these four mountains. We headed up the yellow trail and at just beyond the start of the blue trail began to follow the Fisherman’s Path crossing over 2 bridges. The Fisherman’s Path is a nice easy trail that parallels the Neversink River. We made very good time hiking as we reached Donovan Brook. We took a bearing on the summit of Lone and then hiked up just to the right of the brook to reach the ridge line and followed it up to the summit. On top there are some fields of ferns where the previous hiker herds have passed through this area. There is somewhat of a false summit just after these fields but one must keep going following the herd path which eventually leads to the canister. I was surprised that the canister had not been placed right at the summit. (Jim B. – how come?). We took a short break and then headed to our next bushwhack summit. There is a short herd path from the canister that leads to an overlook that provides a partial view of Peekamoose and to the southeast.

    To reach Rocky we headed ESE to the col between Lone and Rocky. There are some small cliffs between the summit and the col that are easily negotiated. Once at the col we took a bearing on Rocky and headed up to the summit. Mid way up we began to run into thick pine growth that made it very difficult to move along quickly. Finally we reached the summit of Rocky and took a break for lunch and signed the canister log book. Rocky was not very inspiring.

    From Rocky to the Balsam Cap summit is a straight line course. There is a lot of blow down in this area making movement very slow. This combined with more thick pine growth patches that really slowed the hike down very significantly. It was not much fun slogging though this section at all!! The distance between these summits is only about 1 mile but it took us almost two hours to reach Balsam Cap. We took a short break and headed out again.

    Friday lies to the NNW of Balsam Cap. We headed for the col between the mountains. Along the way, there is a lookout where I believe there are views of Cornell and Wittenberg and maybe Friday, if you lean out far enough. Don’t!!! Soon after reaching the col the cliffs of Friday came into view. We followed a partially visible herd path along the base of the cliff around to about the east side of Friday. Here there is a fairly obvious chute up through the cliffs to the summit of Friday. At the end of the chute we followed a herd path off to the left which is in the direction of the true summit where we expected to find the canister. After reaching the true summit and searching around for 20 minutes or so for the darn canister it was not to be found. So I said “the heck with the canister. We can’t waste any more time with looking for it”. Then just before we headed back down I spotted another herd path which I thought would lead around to the chute. BINGO!! There was the canister. We signed in and took a break for 10 minutes before our final decent to the Moon Haw PA. So far, we were right on the hike plan. Everything had fairly well, except that we had lost some time that we had not figured in due to the heavy growth and blow downs that had slowed our hike plus looking for the darn canister. But that was all about to change next.

    From the summit of Friday we had planned to follow the ridge line down to the Moon Haw PA. We hiked back down the chute between the Friday cliff and began our trek down the ridge. At about the 3300 foot elevation we ran into a cliff and had to hike either to the east or west and find a place to descend it safely. At the time we were slightly on the east side of the ridge so our decision was to walk around to the east for a place to go down. This was a bad decision because there was not just one cliff but a whole series of them taking up further east and away from the ridge line for each cliff that we descended. Unfortunately, we were now committed to this route and we would have to now aim for the ravine that is Wittenberg brook and go out that way. Descending from each cliff slowed us down considerably. I knew that we were going to loose daylight soon and I was concerned that we at least reach the floor of the ravine before it was completely dark. Fortunately we did, but we were still several miles away from the parking area.

    Now it was dark, both of us had head lamps (I actually carry two head lamps with extra batteries). Movement became very slow as we were following in and out and along the stream bed. Hiking from rock to rock in the dark and being concerned with every step that you don’t slip and injure or break a leg or ankle causes a very slow hike. But, better slow than having an accident that would leave you helpless to make your way out. We now had been hiking for over 12 hours straight with only a few short breaks every couple of hours. I could tell that my legs and knees were now getting a bit tired. So, we would stop every so often for just for a couple of minutes to rejuvenate them. The night was warm for this time of year and it was very pleasant to just sit in the dark during these periods and listen to the sounds of the babbling brook next to us. My son, Jamie, did a great job in leading the way down Wittenberg brook. It was very late when we arrived at the PA so we decided to leave the car at the Denning Road PA until the next day and head back to the house and get some sleep. This day had been a wonderful opportunity for father and son to spend time together and have a great adventure in the Catskill Mountains. Even though our hike did not end up exactly on plan we did have the skills and the proper equipment to deal with the unexpected situation on our descent. These things can and do happen and everyone needs to be prepared for what could occur when venturing into the wilds of the Catskill Mountains. Cheers and good hiking to all, Jim

    See pics of Lone to Friday hike:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/kennardj...dayHike9252010
    ADK 40/46 (Remaining: Allen, Cliff, Redfield, Gray, Skylight, RPR)
    CHH 85/102
    Catskill 3500 #1888 / #774W
    Saranac 6er #590

    ADK member: Genesee Valley Chapter
    The Explorers Club member: Fellow National 2013

    Websites:
    www.shipwreckworld.com Discovery: Mid 1800's Canal boats Lake Ontario - Posted 1/22/15
    www.jimkennard.com
    ...Peak Experiences of a Catskill Senior Hiker
    _________________________________________
    Catskill 3500 --- Finish - December 23, 2010
    Catskill 3500W - Finish - December 29, 2011
    Saranac 6 - Finish - May 29, 2014
    _________________________________________

    "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
    - Sir Edmund Hillary

  • #2
    Glad you made it out! Just curious did you have the destination set as a way point?

    Here is what I THINK we usually do when coming down off Friday.

    NOTE: Don't quote me on this, or attempt this exact route, I just made it up by eyeball. It is not a GPS log.

    How far off are the Friday and Lone canisters?
    Last edited by TFR; 09-27-2010, 07:25 AM.
    Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

    Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO Views And Brews!

    Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

    Comment


    • #3
      jim, your report makes me look forward even more to a club hike of BC & Rocky from moonhaw. i did them from the neversink side, which is lovely, but id love to hike thru the cliffs and chutes with someone who knows them well. it just sound like so much fun!
      "The lessons we learn from the wild become the etiquette of freedom." - Gary Snyder

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by melissa View Post
        jim, your report makes me look forward even more to a club hike of BC & Rocky from moonhaw. i did them from the neversink side, which is lovely, but id love to hike thru the cliffs and chutes with someone who knows them well. it just sound like so much fun!
        I've never seen the club lead just that pair. Did you mean Friday and BC?
        Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

        Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
        Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
        Past President Catskill 3500 Club
        CEO Views And Brews!

        Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

        Comment


        • #5
          yes. thank you, tfr. its a huge relief to know that someone understands what im talking about: "you know, that one bushwhack mountain in the catskills? the one with like, all the balsam?"
          "The lessons we learn from the wild become the etiquette of freedom." - Gary Snyder

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice TR Jim. Been on three through hikes and two "epic adventure" attempts of these peaks. very challenging at times even with those who have real good knowledge of the area. Never hit the same track twice. Most times your route varies depending on conditions and the mood of the mountains. Friday's cliffs are real good at testing your limits. And as always, remember, a good day of hiking is making to the car and of course that first cold one!!
            Tom nice disclaimer.
            We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~Winston Churchill
            http://community.webshots.com/user/slimjim65
            March 22,2011 @ 7:21 p.m. is the official start of Spring

            Comment


            • #7
              Fun hike..Nice TR Jim

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Slimjim, It was a little too late when we got back to get into the brewskis. However, a Hurricane Kitty and a Coney Island Lager were happily consumed the next day while writing the TR. If we had only gone west when encountering the first cliff on our decent of Friday I believe we would have been able to stay on the hike plan as intended. I guess this may be one of our Catskill Peak Experiences to be remembered !! Cheers, Jim
                ADK 40/46 (Remaining: Allen, Cliff, Redfield, Gray, Skylight, RPR)
                CHH 85/102
                Catskill 3500 #1888 / #774W
                Saranac 6er #590

                ADK member: Genesee Valley Chapter
                The Explorers Club member: Fellow National 2013

                Websites:
                www.shipwreckworld.com Discovery: Mid 1800's Canal boats Lake Ontario - Posted 1/22/15
                www.jimkennard.com
                ...Peak Experiences of a Catskill Senior Hiker
                _________________________________________
                Catskill 3500 --- Finish - December 23, 2010
                Catskill 3500W - Finish - December 29, 2011
                Saranac 6 - Finish - May 29, 2014
                _________________________________________

                "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
                - Sir Edmund Hillary

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TFR View Post
                  Glad you made it out! Just curious did you have the destination set as a way point?

                  Here is what I THINK we usually do when coming down off Friday.

                  NOTE: Don't quote me on this, or attempt this exact route, I just made it up by eyeball. It is not a GPS log.

                  How far off are the Friday and Lone canisters?
                  Hi Tom,
                  Yes, I did have our Moon Haw Road PA destination set as a waypoint.
                  The cliff we encounter on our decent altered our route which caused the problem.

                  Regarding the Lone and Friday canisters, I will email you directly the waypoints for both the summit and canister locations as I understand that posting actual coordinate info on this forum is not permitted. In both cases the herd paths will easily take you to them. However, when covered by a new snow fall there is no visible herd path. I had read a post somewhere that a person was searching around for the canister on a Winter hike and never found it probably because it was not at the actual summit. One of the pics that I put up on Picasa is that of a flat rock which should be the actual summit of Friday.

                  No hike today as it is raining here in Woodstock, so I am now heading back now to Rochester.
                  ADK 40/46 (Remaining: Allen, Cliff, Redfield, Gray, Skylight, RPR)
                  CHH 85/102
                  Catskill 3500 #1888 / #774W
                  Saranac 6er #590

                  ADK member: Genesee Valley Chapter
                  The Explorers Club member: Fellow National 2013

                  Websites:
                  www.shipwreckworld.com Discovery: Mid 1800's Canal boats Lake Ontario - Posted 1/22/15
                  www.jimkennard.com
                  ...Peak Experiences of a Catskill Senior Hiker
                  _________________________________________
                  Catskill 3500 --- Finish - December 23, 2010
                  Catskill 3500W - Finish - December 29, 2011
                  Saranac 6 - Finish - May 29, 2014
                  _________________________________________

                  "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
                  - Sir Edmund Hillary

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good trip report Jim. I especially liked the fact you didn't mention gps or waypoints. Why were you using gps, though, if you were wanting to test your navigation skills?
                    I might be kidding...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Kennard View Post
                      Hi Tom, Yes, I did have our Moon Haw Road PA destination set as a waypoint. The cliff we encounter on our decent altered our route which caused the problem.
                      I've go to hand it you. My first round, I went with club leaders most of the time. That might have been because my very first whack was to Fir, which went fine, but then when trying to get to Big Indian, we missed the narrow col, and ended up in a steep valley of nettles and tall cliffs!
                      Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                      Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                      Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                      Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                      CEO Views And Brews!

                      Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CatskillKev View Post
                        Good trip report Jim. I especially liked the fact you didn't mention gps or waypoints. Why were you using gps, though, if you were wanting to test your navigation skills?
                        Maybe he was testing his GPS-Navigation skills!
                        Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                        Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                        Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                        Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                        CEO Views And Brews!

                        Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TFR View Post
                          Maybe he was testing his GPS-Navigation skills!
                          Makes climbing mountains more like figuring out your new phone than figuring out the mountains. I guess we should move all the canisters to where they belong since the gps is so accurate that anyone using them can't find the canisters.
                          I might be kidding...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jim,

                            It is great to see someone report the fun of climbing mountains in the Catskills. And for Adirondack- or Whites-hikers, it emphasizes that the challenges in 3500-3600' peaks are different from the bigger mountains, but no less significant.

                            Those of us who have been there many times really enjoyed your narrative, and we almost knew what you were going to say next. There are lots of places on Friday you can't just go down easily, and a few places where it is a piece of cake.

                            Now you can go back and find the latter!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CatskillKev View Post
                              Good trip report Jim. I especially liked the fact you didn't mention gps or waypoints. Why were you using gps, though, if you were wanting to test your navigation skills?
                              Here we go again.........
                              Natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally. Trees are referred to in accounts of the principal events of Buddha's life. His mother leaned against a tree for support as she gave birth to him. He attained enlightenment seated beneath a tree, and finally passed away as trees stood witness overhead. H.H. D. L.

                              "experience is something you don't get until after you need it, that's the problem." - Joe Simpson


                              As I was walking - I saw a sign there
                              And that sign said - No tresspassin'
                              But on the other side - it didn't say nuthin'
                              Now that side was made for you and me!
                              - Woody Guthrie -


                              Charter Member of the Tongue-In-Cheek Club (TIC)

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