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There's more than one way to skin a Cat -- 2/10/19

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  • There's more than one way to skin a Cat -- 2/10/19

    I've been to the Cat & Thomas Preserve on Lake George several times in the past and have redlined the trail system there. Or so I thought. Whether by a recent addition or an oversight on my part there is a trailhead for Cat Mountain at Edgecomb Pond on the eastern edge of the preserve. About a third of a mile of an old dirt road connects this trailhead with the trail system I had covered numerous times before.

    Between this newly discovered access point and having never been up Cat in the winter I opted to set out from the Edgecomb Pond traihead on Sunday. Crampons were required. From the car to the start of the trail fifty feet away that is. The parking area was solid ice. I nearly crashed to the ground several times while gearing up but quickly got going. I went with snowshoes even though you probably could have gotten away with micros on the day. I just prefer the snowshoes as they're easier on my feet. I took the red trail to the blue trail to the summit. The good news was the trail was tracked out but unfortunately a parade of barebooters and microspike wearers before the most recent freeze left the surface a bit uneven. It was just soft enough down low to break through the crust if you left the track but thankfully around 300-400 feet below the summit the crust was hard enough to walk atop and get out of the track. Not much else to report on the trip. Nice day... 25 degrees or so. The dreary forecast of 85% cloud coverage was largely wrong and the summit was pleasant and almost wind free. I covered the 2.5 miles to the top in eighty minutes at what felt like a very leisurely pace. Never pushed too hard and wasn't breathing heavily on the climb. Slow and steady with just a few half-minute stops along the way.

    Cat is one of my favorite views on Lake George and it did not disappoint on this day. Just a gorgeous panorama from the Tongue Mountain Range all the way south down the lake. I hung out for about a half hour enjoying the view then headed back down. Only saw three other people all day. One guy on the summit who I chatted with for a few minutes and two women ascending as I was headed out. I got a real late start to the day so I decided to save Thomas Mountain for another time. Just as well as my back has been bothering me for a few months now and after being pain free climbing Cat I didn't want to push my luck by adding Thomas to the outing anyway.

    Oh... and if you have any old maps of Cat & Thomas they're no good anymore. The trail to the old overlook/summit of Thomas has been closed for at least two years now and no longer appears on the current version of the map, and the markers for some of the trails have changed colors. And last but not least the cabin on Thomas has been removed though the lookout spot at the site of the old cabin serves as the "official" summit for the Lake George 12ster challenge. Print out a new map (dated August '18) from the Lake George Land Conservancy if you go.

    A few pictures from the day...

    Middle ground - Tongue Mt Range, Montcalm Point, and the Narrows. Three high points in background (L to R) - Black, Erebus, and Sleeping Beauty...

    Dome Island in middle of lake with Buck Mountain looming above it. Also... Sleeping Beauty (L) and Pilot Knob (R)...

    Looking south down Lake George...

    Panorama of the first two pics...