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Blackhead and Balsam

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  • Blackhead and Balsam

    Any recent info on these two? General snowfall and icy conditions report for the area?

    I did Panther and Slide last year and am thinking about knocking these two off Saturday if possible. I recall Blackhead having some very steep areas near the summit, haven't done Balsam in summer yet.

    Will have my 80lb mutt with me. Have micros and snowshoes but no crampons.

  • #2
    I was on TC /BD on Tuesday, from Barnum Rd. SS all the way. Today on Westkill SS from lot to lot. Unless the millipedes wear the snow off with their tiny spiked feet you should be OK with SS and spikes. The escarpment side of BH is always an icy mess, no place for a dog in winter, I would avoid that and go from Lockett Gap. Balsam should be the same, but with less ice underneath the 4-6'' we got this week. Enjoy


    • #3
      Hiked Balsam from McKenley Hollow Sunday, SS all the way. The turn around was plowed but not the parking area.


      • Blowdown Gang
        Blowdown Gang commented
        Editing a comment
        I think we chatted briefly on Balsam last Sunday. Nice to meet you!

      • mudhook
        mudhook commented
        Editing a comment
        You were not with the Claryville/Grahmansville crew yesterday?

      • MountainSister3
        MountainSister3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Nice to meet you BG !

        Mudhook, I seem to be a crew of one these days, all good !

    • #4
      Thanks for the advice. Wasn't able to make it down due to a family emergency. Now looking at next weekend.

      Two questions...

      Water crossings on Balsam... easy?

      Is Lockett Gap the same as Big Hollow? I can't find anything online on Lockett. When I did the 3, I did them via big hollow. BD and TC then back over BD to BH. Irrc, there is some exposure on the hollow side but not steepness like the backside?


      • CatskillKev
        CatskillKev commented
        Editing a comment
        You might see it as Lockwood Gap. Its the col between Blackhead and Black Dome. Its the way you did it last time.

        Someone told me on Slide that they saw a lot of blood on Blackhead from an apparent crash, so be careful.

        Water crossings are not always particularly easy for Balsam, especially the first one up a quarter mile. There are a couple ways to do it. One is just down stream, one is a ways up stream.

        Freezing rain today, snow coming Wednesday night into Thursday.
        Last edited by CatskillKev; 02-08-2017, 11:19 AM.

      • mudhook
        mudhook commented
        Editing a comment
        Big Hlw is the where the parking area is. The trail goes up a 1/2 mile, spilts, one to the lean -to and the escarpment side of BH, which should be extremely icy by this week end, the other goes to the col between BH/BD, which could be icy, but not like the escarpment side. The col is known as Lockwood Gap, named for a Hunter area wood baron and furniture maker or in some circles as Lockett Gap, a famous big snowshoe.
        Almost 50* now, after a day of rain, with snow and sub teen weather following tonite.

    • #5
      I had no problem with the water crossings, there had been more rain that week than this. Rocks were placed pretty well for my snowshoes. Enjoy !


      • #6
        Thanks for the info.

        Looking at Saturday and Sundays weather it's supposed to be in the upper 40s, and I know you just had a bunch of snow. Would this prevent any of you from going out on the trails?


        • #7
          If you go from Rider Hollow and then bear left, you will have no water crossing issues for Balsam.

          If you do Blackhead from the end of Big Hollow road, there is a stream crossing either way. It's usually crossed fairly easily....
          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


          • #8
            Not worried so much about the crossings as I am about how fast you think the snow will melt and if I will be hiking up an river with a icy bed. Don't know what your total snowfall was earlier this week. We got about 6", it melted Tuesday when it was 47.


            • #9
              This week wasn't really that bad for losing snow. It was mostly below freezing, and the same could be said for tomorrow up high. Then it gets bad on the weekend. Really bad. There won't be ice for Saturday, though.
              I might be kidding...