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Blackhead 3/5/17

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  • Blackhead 3/5/17

    We got to the trail head off Big Hollow Rd around 12:00 pm. Temps were low but the cold wasn't much of competing factor due to the clear skies and bright sun. The first stream crossing was a little tricky and took a few minutes to find a safe spot to cross. We took the red trail to the blue, most of the way up the trail was clear with minimal ice. We were fine with boots and poles. As we approached the ascent to Blackhead, spikes and poles were necessary. The whole way up the trail was covered with sheets of ice, one member of our group had a broken micro which made his ascent significantly more difficult than ours, although he still did a great job. The climb was just the right amount of challenging and was very rewarding. Lots of great views while heading towards the top made it a lot easier too. Once we got to the top and rested the cold temps really started to settling in, so we didn't break for much longer than ten minutes. On the way back we followed the yellow trail, some ice on the descent but could easily be avoided by walking on the outside of the trail. The view of Black Dome was spectacular and the sun was coming down on the face and gave us a really nice view. We were very tempted to continue to Black Dome but decided against it due to time restrictions. After we passed the markers for Black Dome spikes were were absolutely needed. I thought I was doing well on the switchback with just my poles and careful footing, but one misplaced step led to me eating **** and landing on my hip. From the yellow we transitioned to the red trail and headed back down to the parking lot. The rest of the trail was easy to cover, there was ice and snow but again it could easily be avoided. Overall it was a terrific hike and we cant wait to come back and hit Black Dome and Thomas Cole.

  • #2
    I don't know if there is another explanation, but you saying that the first stream crossing took a few minutes makes me wonder if the bridge is still there. Did you cross 2 bridges before the right turn at the junction?
    I might be kidding...

    Comment


    • #3
      I was on Blackhead yesterday (before you got there). If there is a lesson learned here, it has to do with being too eager to remove traction. It is baffling to me why you would wear your spikes up and then take them off for the walk down. If you are trying to preserve the points, that is an unwise choice. New spikes cost about $60. How much is your ER copay?

      A couple of areas on the switchbacks were definitely crampon worthy.
      Last edited by NorthShore; 03-06-2017, 11:19 AM.

      Comment


      • CatskillKev
        CatskillKev commented
        Editing a comment
        Microspikes should only be worn on ice and snow. This practice will also preserve the points. If you can't handle a fall, then you shouldn't hike this time of year because you probably will be damaging the trail.

    • #4
      Well i handled the fall completely well and was about as safe falling as you could be. I also was using poles. I find the spikes to be very uncomfortable especially when not walking on ice, so I don't see any reason to wear them when they are aren't needed especially when they can be taken on and off in a matter of minutes.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by BMRCsteve View Post
        Well i handled the fall completely well and was about as safe falling as you could be. I also was using poles. I find the spikes to be very uncomfortable especially when not walking on ice, so I don't see any reason to wear them when they are aren't needed especially when they can be taken on and off in a matter of minutes.
        And it saves the points, and it saves the trail. Both environmentally correct things to do. Unfortunately, most put on their devices and hate to show enough concern for the trail to reach down and take them off. This is bad, and this is the moral of the story. Thank you.

        What about the bridge? Were both bridges still there? :-)
        I might be kidding...

        Comment


        • NorthShore
          NorthShore commented
          Editing a comment
          The section where he fell was completely ice and snow covered for at least a half mile down from the col. It was very icy. There is no morality in becoming a victim.

      • #6
        Both bridges were still there. This was the trail on or near where the OP fell:


        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by NorthShore View Post
          Both bridges were still there. This was the trail on or near where the OP fell:

          Thanks, looks pretty icy there. Was there a stream crossing at the beginning that took a few minutes?
          I might be kidding...

          Comment


          • NorthShore
            NorthShore commented
            Editing a comment
            Not for us. They must not have crossed on the trail.
            Last edited by NorthShore; 03-06-2017, 04:33 PM.

        • #8
          There was a stream crossing at the start, pretty close to the registry. Looks like we may have taken a different route up. And the location of the photo was not where I fell hahah. Nevertheless very fun hike.

          Comment


          • #9
            I think they are referring to the steam crossing at the junction of the Batavia Porky Pine lean-to trail and the trail to Lockett gap. And I agree, micro spikes have created much erosion and herd path formation, but on ice or crusty snow where you can hear them bite, they are cheaper than a visit to the ER. If yo can't hear them bite, stand by to crash,( an old nautical term) or take them off and rely on your balance skills.

            Comment


            • CatskillKev
              CatskillKev commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, if you're not dulling the points, then you're not hurting the trail (in other words they should not touch dirt, which will always dull metal). Ice is a great place for them, although they will send you for a ride occasionally because they weren't designed for steep ice, especially in the heel. Sometimes its better to put them on backwards for descent. That's not inside out though.

          • #10
            There is no bridge over the stream at the very beginning of the Acra Point loop trail. You can go right at the junction about a mile in and it's a nice walk a long the ridge with views of the valley below before dropping down to the climb up Blackhead. I believe this adds a few miles to the loop.

            I always take my microspikes off if I don't believe I need them at the moment. Glad you fell safely, Steve.

            Comment


            • ChickLang
              ChickLang commented
              Editing a comment
              You can get to blackhead by continuing on the blue trail to the summit instead of heading back to the lot.

            • CatskillKev
              CatskillKev commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, I did that once in 14 minutes and 45 seconds. But that's not important now.

              I thought maybe you and Steve did the same hike, and that explained how he had a tough stream crossing at the beginning.

            • BMRCsteve
              BMRCsteve commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeh I believe we passed Acra Point, which may have been unintentional but that's that way we ended up going.

          • #11
            wondering if you saw your party (2 gals)? I think we started around 1, as we were hiking Balsam in the morning. We only saw 2 guys coming down (about halfway up on the yellow trail to the col) and a lady (solo). we saw the spots where somebody had wiped out on these icy switchbacks. they were very sketchy and the poles were useless... I had the crampons but wasn't going to put them on just for these small sections... otherwise, hillsound spikes were ok. I was amazed at the volume of water all around. we hiked the range in september and it was dry as a bone. despite the cold, the water was flowing just about everywhere... the yellow trail was new to us, as we descended via the escarpment trail previously.
            46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

            Comment


            • BMRCsteve
              BMRCsteve commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't think we saw each other. Our group was a party of 3. We passed one large group of about 5-7 and then a group of 3 towards the end.
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