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  • Ice Axe?

    I'm fairly new to Catskill hiking, I've only completed 2 winter hikes so far both were very icy and slippery. This Sunday I'm planning on hiking Blackhead and am unsure if an ice axe would be necessary to finish the hike. Ive read there are some very steep ascents and some reviews mention the use of an ice axe. What do you think?

  • #2
    I think it you go up the middle route to the col between the Dome and the Head you will be fine with out it. If you go up the escarpment side( east) You may want full ice climbing gear.

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    • #3
      Agreed. Ice Axe is almost always overkill in the Cats. I ascended that tricky part recently on snowshoes and had no problem. Neither did the bare booters or the micro-spike wearers!
      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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mudhook View Post
        I think it you go up the middle route to the col between the Dome and the Head you will be fine with out it. If you go up the escarpment side( east) You may want full ice climbing gear.
        I would've said the exact opposite a few months ago. I was frontpointing in crampons from the col to the summit.


        Definitely not necessary. I've only brought one three times. I have used it each time but I don't know if I used it to justify bringing it. I have used it in three ways:

        Cane when I forgot trekking pole
        Hooking around rocks/roots - extended reach
        A lot of time on the downhill I prefer to just sit on the ice and slide down. I use the axe to stop.

        Not super useful in traditional ice axe methods but can come in handy.

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