View Full Version : rec's on a Catskill overnighter this weekend?

01-06-2004, 09:57 PM
This is my first post so please go easy on me.

A buddy and I are looking for recommendations on good overnight ski/snowshoe tours in the Catskills for this upcoming weekend. It sounds like there may not be enough snow for a ski tour in which case we could just pack the snowshoes. Neither of us own crampons or have any experience using them. We've both done a fair amount of backpacking and I have done a few ski tours in the Adirondacks with my 'heavy' cross-country ski gear. I'm awaiting the arrival of some guide books and maps for the Catskills I've ordered but thought I would present the question to the forum. I've enjoyed reading the threads and have already learned a ton. Any suggestions for trails and camping areas would be most appreciated. My current thinking is to find a lower level campsite, drop the gear, and then explore upwards a bit.


01-06-2004, 10:39 PM
Here's a few:

From Spruceton road, off Rt. 42, Park at the Devils Path western terminus. The col between Westkill and North Dome offers decent camping. West Kill is trailed, North Dome a steep bushwack.

Off of Rt.28, Fox Hollow Road has a trailhead for Fox Hollow lean to not to far in, the trail leads to Panther Mnt, and then beyond to Giant Ledge. The Lean to can be a base camp for Panther. Good if you go in on Fri Night. You can tent on Giant Ledge and do this from the other direction.

From Alder Lake, base camp at Beaver Meadow Lean to. From there you can get the Mill Brook trail to Balsam Lake Mountain with nice fire tower on top. Really good if you come in Friday night. The approach to Balsam Lake Mountain from the other side is good for that sort of thing, too.

That's off the top of my head, it would be in your best interest to check things like route #'s and trail names. With a NYNJTC trail map you should be able to find what I'm talking about.

Jay H
01-07-2004, 08:40 AM
I would definitely check the weather, there was a storm that passed through I think Sunday night into Monday that might have been freezing rain or perhaps flurries. You might not have enough snow for snowshoes though, and crampons right now might be a smart thing to have with you. (of course, if you carry your snowshoes, you can use that in a pinch).

There is a projected small storm to come in on Friday that might give a little snow to the catskills so that might help you. I think it's definitely not enough snow for your skies (unless you want to trash them on exposed rocks). When we did Vly/Bearpen on Jan 3rd, we barebooted it and carried crampons. And even then, the crampons were never used.


01-07-2004, 09:30 AM
I agree with Jay. if you are looking to use snowshoes or ski you may even want to wait another week. Especially since the Catskills had rain Saterday and then freezing rain which soften up the snow. Now with this cold air in place I would image the snow is going to be pretty hard and icy. This will make for a great base because any snow we get now will make conditions great for skiing. Long term forcast are calling for a possible storm Monday as well. This one could produce more than the one predicted for friday.

01-07-2004, 11:22 AM
The Panther/Giant Ledge idea is a good one. However, having been up there on New years day I would suggest going in on the Woodland Valley side. The parking area is in good shape and right on the road. I noticed that the Fox hollow parking looked a little tough to get in and out of. Also, if the conditions are too icy, there are BEAUTIFUL tents sites on Giant Ledge wihich is a 1.5 mile walk form the parking. When we wlaked it last week I was just getting over the flu and not very strong. The short walk with the intermittent ice made the short distance feel like more than twice what it was. Hardly worth using crampons, but a little rough for bare boots. I relied on my poles a lot. Leave the skis homw for now. Throw the snowshoes in the car just in casr the weather changes. But for now, that area is boots and PERHAPS small crampons only.
The temps up here are dropping now, and the ice we picked up SUnday night isn't helping. Friday night they expect it to hit zero (lower up in the SLide Mtn area)
Have fun!

Bob Smith
01-07-2004, 02:36 PM
Western, Both Warren and Jay gave you good advice. I would be very careful, after this cold snap I'm sure there is a lot of ice and you may want to purchase crampons. The only reports I've seen call for 30% chance of light snow, with no snow pak to talk of and ice with 1/2 over it sounds a little too slippery for me.

Mark Schaefer
01-07-2004, 09:42 PM
I agree with all the comments concerning lack of snow. No place in the Catskills currently has skiable snow, nor are snowshoes necessarily needed. Crampons would be helpful in many locations. There has just been dustings of snow since the freezing rain last Sunday/Monday and no snow is forecast prior to next Sunday night into Monday.

A few additional locations that have lean-tos down low with hiking above. The mention of skiable trails is not applicable until there is more snow:
Elm Ridge lean-to and Windham high peak. The lean-to is just a little over one mile in from one of two trailheads. The easiest to reach would be the northern trailhead of the Escarpment Trail on Route 23. Windham High Peak is only 1.15 miles above the lean-to so this is an easy short trip, but with great views.
Devil's Kitchen lean-to with hikes possible to Indian Head/Twin and Overlook. The 1.1 mile trail into the lean-to from the Long Path trailhead at Platte Clove Preserve and the trail to Overlook are skiable.
Either McKinley Hollow or Rider Hollow lean-to with a hike to Balsam and Eagle possible. The lean-tos are 0.65 and 0.5 miles from the trailheads at opposite ends of the Oliverea-Mapledale Trail.
Giant Ledge / Panther clarification. TomEske recommended going in from the Woodland Valley side, and that it was about 1 mile to the Giant Ledge campsites. This is a recommendation for the trailhead at the hairpin turn on County Route 47. You would not want to use the trailhead in Woodland Valley which is over 3 miles and about 2000' elevation gain to the Giant Ledge campsites.

You might also want to follow these links to some old threads if you have not seen them already:
Catskill Help (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=1221)
The Burroughs Range - Catskills (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=1198)
everyone in the Catskills, step inside (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=1151)
Skiable ADK (or Catskill) peaks? (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=931)

01-12-2004, 09:50 PM
Thank you for the good suggestions. I ended up taking your advice and did a trip in north central PA instead of risking the Catskills without crampons. I looked at some of the trail reports and it sounds like that was a good move since everything was so icey. I'll pick up some crampons this week and look to use them in the Catskills in a few weeks on one of the hikes you recommended.