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West Couchsachraga & the Santanoni Range - 6/6/2020

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  • West Couchsachraga & the Santanoni Range - 6/6/2020

    I met TBPDPTI at the Upper Works parking lot at 6:20AM. Our main target for the day was the summit of West Couchsachraga: the ~3300 foot sub-peak located a half mile to the west of and 500 feet below everyone’s favorite high peak, Couchsachraga. The latter would be required for our itinerary, and the summits of Panther/Santanoni were thrown in as bonus peaks.

    Off to the races at 6:30AM with a few pesky bugs and generally unsettled skies. 90 minutes later we were ascending the Panther Brook Trail, where we noticed the sky grow darker and mild precipitation falling. By the top of Panther Brook, we donned full rain gear and even heard a few rumbles of far-off thunder. Our first question: hit Panther first as an early win, or save it for later with hopes of a view if the weather improved? We decided to save Panther and go full steam ahead for Couchsachraga. This was a good choice.

    We descended toward Couchsachraga and the weather felt ominous. The skies were dark and the woods were still. Felt like a storm would unleash at any minute, but it never did. The summit of Couch was socked in. From there we began our bushwhack.

    The crown of Couchsachraga is moderately thick and not an “easy” place to bushwhack. However things opened up considerably as we lost elevation. We skirted the large cliff band below the flat summit ridge and then found generally open woods for the rest of the descent. This half-mile stretch is STEEP as it drops 700+ feet and then climbs another 200+ feet to the summit of West Couch. All in all, a fairly straightforward bushwhack.

    The summit of West Couchsachraga is awesome. There’s a large rock which offers sweeping views to the south, including Little Santanoni, Moose Mountain, Long Lake and much more. It’s hard to think of diminutive Couchsachraga as towering over anything, but BOY HOWDY does it rise high above the west summit!

    Somehow, in the vortex of the Couchsachraga space-time continuum, our outbound bushwhack took just under an hour while our inbound bushwhack took only 45 minutes, despite having to gain back the 700+ feet to Couch’s summit. Spooky.

    What else is there to say? Grinding ascent back to Times Square, picture-perfect views from Panther, a little more grinding to Santanoni and more excellent views. We plunged down the Express Trail and then put some hot sauce on it for the remaining flat miles. Back to the cars a few minutes before 5PM, just before the next storm rolled in. Very satisfying hike!
    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

  • #2
    We also found a red insulated thermos style mug jyst below the cliffs below the summit of Couch. Has anyone here lost anything like that recently?

    Great hike today bro!!
    High peaks: Summer: 46/46 (1st iteration); 29/46 (2nd); 11/46 (3rd); 7/46 (4th) Winter: 7/46 (1st); 1/46 (2nd)

    The other 56: Summer: 55/56 (1st); 12/56 (2nd); 4/56 (3rd); 3/56 (4th) Winter: 13/56 (1st); 3/56 (2nd); 1/56 (3rd); 4th (0/56)

    Comment


    • nickUSA
      nickUSA commented
      Editing a comment
      Good call! It's a Coleman brand, if that helps anyone. Let me know and I'll try to get it back to you!

  • #3
    Entire range plus a bonus peak. Impressed! You have me intrigued about West Couch now. I might skip Santa that day though!

    Comment


    • nickUSA
      nickUSA commented
      Editing a comment
      Wouldn't blame you. It's a tough climb at the end of the day!
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