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Friday, Bal Cap, Rocky from Moonhaw, 02/21/21

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  • Friday, Bal Cap, Rocky from Moonhaw, 02/21/21

    With so many snowstorms lately and this winter being a real winter, what a beautiful day it was yesterday with the blue sky and nice sun making an appearance for whole day, and with a perfect temp and terrific snowpack height. I remarked that the snow height is terrific for getting over the blowdown it seems, and anymore would really be putting you up into the branches.

    There were a bunch of cars already at the two small plowed areas on Moonhaw Rd when i got there around 745am, was maybe room for a few more after myself. Was a bit surprised to see so many cars there before 8am but figured out why before too long.
    I enjoyed the great packed snowshoe trail right from the start going up the normal route up to Fridays first big blocky ledges. I had a question in my mind at one of these areas: why would whoever laid this path go straight up that one hill? straight up it. And on the way back down a few hours later realized why, and was super grateful that they did, go straight up, im almost certain they did it not for the up but for the down. it was so steep you pretty much had to butt slide back down, and it was fast. Real fast. I dropped a pole halfway down, that somehow stayed put, and i had to go back up, and do it over again. Im pretty sure i out-louded a big "WEEEEE" (reminded me of a bit my favorite comedian Mitch Hedburg (joke in peace) did about adults finding themselves on top of slides and, having to have fun, saying WEEE going down said slides).
    Anyway, on the way up to the normal herdpath junction i caught up to a party led by great guy Moe, they continued towards Bal Cap and Rocky while i went to Friday first. Beautiful track laid efficiently right up to the can, and after enjoying the views for a bit headed back down, doing my first butt-slides of the day here (these were honestly unintentional, im horrible at descending pretty steep stuff with my msr's and the sad attempts at "glissades" almost always quickly turn to inadvertent butt-slides).
    Made my way up to Balsam Cap and as fast as that was with the perfect day and perfect conditions, i decided to feel like a poacher taking the big party's perfectly packed path over to Rocky. Whoever laid that line over to Rocky coming from Bal Cap chose a great way up to the summit from the north, it was nice and gradual and avoided many of the torturous tight trees. That north slope is really beautiful forest that you can actually see, cause its not so tight that you have to keep your eyes consistently closed to avoid being blinded, like from Lone. I guess i normally go straight from lone (through the tighter trees) or straight over to Bal cap up or down the ledges. ill definitely remember that line to the north at least for the winter months.
    I passed the party again just prior to the summit can, they had a winter finisher in their group (Congrats Krysia!) and did the finish right for her on the summit. I partook in Rocky's cliffy viewpoint before heading back towards Bal Cap, meeting some ladies back at that can while i skirted past to sit at and enjoy the viewpoint for awhile before heading back down. There i enjoyed some talk and ensuing trail time with Clark, who i first encountered at Rocky's can. he picked the right day to do the six-pack from Denning. Was pretty humorous that me and Clark were saying it was interesting that we had passed so many people (including at Rocky summit, where in past i dont think i have ever encountered anyone there), and everyone had had on snowshoes. After so many horror stories about postholers, everyone had on snowshoes enabling terrific snowshoe trail conditions. Literally within a minute of saying this at the viewpoint a solo trailrunner with minimal gear and no snowshoes got to the spot, and he was heading over to Rocky also. I was going to say something about the snowshoes bit, but i knew he would cross paths with a legit guide before his next summit, who surely better than myself would have told the trailrunner the purposes of snowshoes, and not going to your waist in snow, and not destroying an enjoyable snowshoe path for everyone who is helping to preserve that nice trail and creating possibly injurious holes dependent on the weather (honestly on the way down from Bal Cap's viewpoint the runner had just chewed up the path a little bit, nothing to get too upset about, but if he did go over to rocky that stretch was definitely softer and he would have been punching through significantly deeper).
    Me and clark headed down Bal Cap and split ways at junction for Friday, and jogging down a ways i soon got to the whole nice stretch of butt-sliding sections. Thanks again to whoever set the path straight up the contours. I passed one more small group here before finishing up at the road lots.
    "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
    "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

  • #2
    We did this,at least the Friday>BC part, today. The track had 4-8'' of new snow, and for the most part could be found. The new snow in the lower section was very sticky, our 24' shoes weighed 24 lbs. I imagine 44'' shoes would have weighed 44 lbs. Once we hit the ridge, the temps dropped and the snow became soft and fluffy and fast. It was a beautiful day even with the wind and snow and fog. the butt wiped sections were difficult to gain purchase with clogged front crampons at the lower elv., up higher there was more snow so it mattered not.I will say this has been the best, longest SS season in many years, I don't look forward to the warming weather and rain for latter this week.


    • CatskillKev
      CatskillKev commented
      Editing a comment
      I think it was every day in March three years ago that would be comparable to this late January and February. Man did the common folk hate that one! It was great. Remember it came after an 80 degree Feb 28th.

      I'm glad I didn't get stuck in the wet snow today. A couple days ago I took a slight dunking in the Colgate valley swamp, and that made my second biggest snowshoes heavy. And there's always those dreaded crampons.

    • Blowdown Gang
      Blowdown Gang commented
      Editing a comment
      You are absolutely right Kevin. March of 2018. I remember only because I had like 8 or 9 peaks to finish my first grid. Climbed ND/Sherrill on March 1, no snow and very warm. Big storm on March 2. On the 3rd, Linda, Ralph Ryndak, and I climbed Fir from Burnham Hollow. Taking turns breaking trail, it took us 6 hours to climb the 2 miles to the summit. Good times!