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Catskill Finish on the Blackhead Range

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  • Catskill Finish on the Blackhead Range

    On Sunday I finished the Catskill 35 list with a traverse of the Blackhead Range.

    My friend Jim, who's from Massachusetts but whose sister lives in the Catskills, joined me for the hike. We spotted a car at the Big Hollow Road Trailhead and hiked from the Barnum Road Trailhead to there.

    It was cold for October. The cars at the trailhead which had apparently been there overnight had a dusting of snow on them. The temperature for the day would vary a lot with the elevation. At one point the water in my Camelbak tube froze, and I had to put it under my coat. In the cols and valleys, though, it was just a little chilly, so we were adjusting our layers throughout the hike.

    The autumn color was at peak in the valleys. Just driving up 23 to the trailhead was gorgeous. We started on vivid yellow and red leaves, mainly sugar maple. The trail starts gaining elevation before long, with a few ledgy scrambles, with the season looking more and more advanced as we gained elevation. It wasn't long before we saw a dusting of snow on the ground, and by the time we reached Camel Hump the branches were covered in a thin layer of rime. Several times during the hike it snowed, never hard, but at times more than just a flurry.

    There are four peaks on the Blackhead Range traverse, Camel Hump (which doesn't have enough prominence to count for the list), Thomas Cole, Black Dome, and Blackhead. Blackhead is one of the ones you have to climb twice, once in the winter. I had done that winter hike in 2013, but that was up and down without doing the other peaks in the ridge.

    Camel Hump had some great lookouts, especially since being early in the day there was more ice on the peaks. Thomas Cole's summit is off on a short herd path to the north of the trail. Black Dome was the high point of the hike. Coming down from Black Dome has some very steep sections which made me glad I didn't attempt to break trail up to the summit back in 2013.

    We didn't see any other hikers until after we passed the Black Dome / Blackhead col, but after that we ran into quite a few. On Blackhead I summited the 39th of the 39 peaks required for the Catskill 35 list. We had considered going down the Escarpment Trail, but decided to go back to the Black Dome / Blackhead col and down from there.

    Thanks to Jim for joining me on this memorable and beautiful hike.

    Here are the pictures.

    In October of 2010 my friend Tanya and I had planned to hike Killington in Vermont, but a surprise snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow there, and she wasn't prepared for a snowshoe hike, so we switched at the last minute to the Catskills, which I had never been to before, but for which I had bought a map. I needed the Catskill 4000 footers for the Northeast 111 list anyway, so we climbed Hunter. That was my first Catskill 35 peak. Five years and one day later, Blackhead was my last. Here are the 35 peaks in order of first ascent.

    Hunter, Balsam [W], Eagle, Twin, Indian Head, Wittenberg, Cornell, Kaaterskill High Peak, West Kill, Rusk, Halcott, Panther [W], Plateau, Sugarloaf, Slide [R], Big Indian, Fir, Slide [W], Friday, Balsam Cap, SW Hunter, Blackhead [W], Windham High Peak, Vly, Bearpen, Sherrill, North Dome, Balsam [R], Rocky, Lone, Table, Peekamoose, Panther [R], Balsam Lake, Graham, Doubletop, Thomas Cole, Black Dome, Blackhead [R]

    --

    Cumulus

    NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
    NE111 in my 60s: 24/115 (19/67, 5/46, 0/2)
    NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 36/48; NEHH 81/100
    LT NB 2009

    "I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
    - Lewis Carroll

  • #2
    Congrats to you!!!😀😀😀 I completed the catskill 39 and then did them for the winter patch as well. I am glad I did it. It was a fantastic experience!

    Comment


    • #3
      Congrats! I missed you by a day. I did the trio on Saturday!
      ADK 46/46, 22w
      NH 21/48
      NE 70/115

      Comment


      • #4
        Cumulus - Congrats on the finish, a great hike to complete the list! The Camel's Hump is one of my favorite spots in the Catskills especially if you can get there in winter with a descent snow pack.

        Nice meeting you on Halcott a few Octobers back!
        Peter

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        • #5
          Congrats Cumulus... while we're at meetings, I remember sort of meeting you in the Sandwich Notch area on Mt Jennings.. in 2011 I think...

          Jay

          Life is a short, warm moment
          And death is a long cold rest.
          You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
          Eighty years, with luck, or even less.
          -Pink Floyd

          Comment


          • #6
            Congrats Cumulus. Enjoy the achievement
            Catskills: 39/39, 35W/35W
            ADK: 46/46, 5W/46W
            NH: 5/48

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jay H View Post
              I remember sort of meeting you in the Sandwich Notch area on Mt Jennings.. in 2011 I think.
              The 10th of September 2011. You suggested I take the side trip to Jennings Peak, which I did.

              --

              Cumulus

              NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
              NE111 in my 60s: 24/115 (19/67, 5/46, 0/2)
              NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 36/48; NEHH 81/100
              LT NB 2009

              "I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
              "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
              - Lewis Carroll


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cumulus View Post

                The 10th of September 2011. You suggested I take the side trip to Jennings Peak, which I did.

                --

                Cumulus


                Yup, I was up there for the 10th anniversary Flags on the 48 and a bunch of friends and I hiked up East Osceola for the event. Good times!

                Jay


                Life is a short, warm moment
                And death is a long cold rest.
                You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
                Eighty years, with luck, or even less.
                -Pink Floyd

                Comment


                • #9
                  Congrats, I have always enjoyed your posts, I passed you on your way down Seward a few years ago, but did not connect till I saw your forum picture again.

                  Comment

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