View Full Version : Slide Mnt. via the slide (Catskills)

01-24-2004, 08:07 AM
I'm looking to scout a route up the slide of Slide mountain (in the Catskills).

The Catskills Forest: a History indicates the slide starts at the end of the south fork of Woodland creek, but it's not well described, falling back to Burroughs description. Has anyone been up this way and if so:

Is it a Catskills talus slide or a ADK style slab slide? I'm assuming talus.
How over grown and brushy is it? Or not?
Any views of the slide, even via binoculars from other peaks? I would think Giant Ledge but I don't remember a good vantage to it the last (day) time I was up there.

01-24-2004, 08:44 AM
Twin Mtn has a decent slide, and the pictures below prove it.



I couldnt find any pictures of the slide on Slide Mtn.

If you look at the topo map or aerial photo you can probably trace a route up the slide. Maybe I will give it a shot this Summer. I have too many winter hikes planned in other places.



John Graham
01-24-2004, 06:21 PM
The slide on the Woodland Valley side that gave the mountain it's name is very old and almost undetectable, except from a distance by the topography. I think it was a talus slide. I know a couple of people who came up that way, but none of them ever wanted to repeat the climb. It's main features are thick scrub and bad footing. There is a more recent, but much smaller slide right, next to the trail as it decends toward Cornell. I seem to recall it being pretty new when I first climbed the mountain in the seventies, and there was a ladder right up the slide. This is a slab slide. I think it keeps resliding, I seem to I remember the ladder being destoyed before they rerouted the trail off the slide.

01-24-2004, 08:12 PM
John, your news it pretty much what I worried it would be like. Maybe, before the leaves are out it may be worth a scouting

Now, Mink. It's odd that you mentioned the slide on Twin, I was there last year, saw the slide, noted it for future fun. It was even odder when the first picture you linked to looked really familiar. Even odder than that, perusing the other pictures in the album I saw myself, on that trip last year, lurking in one of the shots.

Are we sure we haven't met?

And thanks for the suggestion of aerial photos. I don't think much beyond the topos, and for the Catskills the USGS rarely notes the bare rock areas.

01-25-2004, 06:14 AM
The Catskills Forest: a History indicates the slide starts at the end of the south fork of Woodland creek, but it's not well described

Hey Warren, why not try writing to the author of that fine work and asking him? Expalin what you want to do. Dr. Kudish has a seemingly bottomless knowledge of the area and is a very pleasant guy to boot. Write to him in care of Paul Smiths College of Forestry, he will get your letter. He does not do email.
I have been corresponding with him on other subjects, and have a letter going out to him today. He will be back in the Catskills this spring and has invited me to assist him on some of his survey hikes. I hope you've enjoyed his book as much as I have. I believe it to be a landmark piece of work.
Good Luck,

01-25-2004, 04:29 PM
Warren, those pics arent mine, I hiked that loop just a few weeks back. I looked at those pictures just to get an idea of what equipment to bring based on terrain. I would show you my pictures but I once I again forgot to get them put on a CD. You are right that the USGS doesnt show the slides in the Catskills, but they are definitely there. Diamond Notch has some nice ones too.
Tom, thats a good idea, I think I will do that if I every have any similar questions. Thanks for the idea.

01-25-2004, 06:16 PM
I also beleive there is a slide on Friday. Does anyone have info on that one.

01-25-2004, 06:27 PM
Here is that aerial shot of Slide I couldnt find before. I dont think you can see Friday from it, but that slide on Friday sounds interesting.

01-25-2004, 07:15 PM
The Friday Mountain slides (there's three of them, each above the last) can be accessed from Moon Haw Road in West Shokan. They descend the northeast face of the mountain, and can be partially seen from the summit of Cornell, if you know where to look.

To climb these slides: Climb east to pass to the south of the private inholding at the end of Moon Haw, then drop down and follow the bank of the southern (Cornell Brook?) tributary of Wittenberg Brook to about the 2000' elevation. You will be able to stay on the southern bank of the brook for most of the way. As you reach the headwall at the end of the valley, you will note a small bluff covered with evergreen trees above on your left. Below this, a small stream running through a bank of fresh sandy detritus will be noted flowing into the brook, also from your left. Follow this stream up to the first slide and continue on the same heading over the next two slides and on up the mountain. Eventually, you will have to contour left (south) to find a safe passage through the cliffs to the summit. It is best to descend back to Moon Haw via the south side of the eastern ridge of Friday, where one can usually find a herd path.

The lowest slide is a wide, deep gully, quite wet (icy in cold weather) and mostly bare of vegetation. The upper two slides are narrower and have become grown over with young saplings in the last few years. This area is usually safe, if arduous, for climbing, except during wet weather, when the loose aggregate making up the surface may decide to slide further downhill with the climber atop it. This, of course, would not be a good thing,


01-25-2004, 07:40 PM
Those slides on Friday sound good. I think I might have to go there. Porky, about how big are these slides? Thanks for your help.

I wonder if there could be some avalanches on these slides. Last year I noticed fracture lines in the snow at the slides in Diamond Notch.

Any other nice slides out there in the Catskills? If anyone has any info on that please let us know. Thanks.

01-25-2004, 08:23 PM
I find it hard to qualify the dimensions of such features. I guess that the lowest slide is about four or five hundred feet long and one hundred to one-fifty wide, and the upper two slides are each about two hundred feet long and fifty feet wide. I could be off wildly on these estimates, so don't quote me.

I've never heard of a serious avalanche anywhere in the Catskills, and there would seem to be enough trees growing in and about the slides to prevent such an event in that particular area. Ted Duggan and I attempted to climb the route in January 2003. We were turned back by four to five feet of loose powder snow on the second slide. Although the stuff was too unconsolidated to allow any upward progress, it showed no sign that it wanted let go en masse. I reckoned we were (stupidly) doing everything we could to encourage an avalanche that day. Of course, I don't know if that proves anything besides our own foolish good luck,


Mark Schaefer
01-25-2004, 08:59 PM
Warren, I have not done the Slide Mt slide, however, from my reading of several sources I believe that it is on the northern spur of Slide Mt. Take a look at Map #43 of the nynjtc set. From the Slide summit you will see a northern spur that extends about a half mile to the north. The slide should be a bit below the 3800' summit of this spur. The slide is actually on the east side of this north spur (corrected in a post below). John Burroughs' description of his descent of the slide can be found at this link to his essay "The Heart of the Southern Catskills". (http://www.catskillarchive.com/jb/heartsouthern.htm) The essay covers his ascent of Wittenberg on the way to Slide. The slide descent is about 3/4 of the way through the essay. Look for the paragraph that begins "We were now not long in squaring an account with Slide, and making ready to leave."

There is an 1879 engraving that shows the slide. You can find a copy of this in Alf Evers book "The Catskills from Wilderness to Woodstock". The picture appears opposite page 513. This engraving also appears on the cover of the DEC pamphlet "Slide Mountain Wilderness" (I have a 1/99 edition of this pamphlet). The picture is from the perspective of Woodland Valley and shows the slide descending from a point a short distance north of the summit of Slide (corrected). From all accounts the slide is now forested.

I agree with Tom that you should write Michael Kudish to get a definitive description of the slide's location (to verify my interpretations of Burroughs). It may be easier to find the slide from the top rather than from the base. On the way out you could follow the Woodland Valley stream until you reach the private land boundaries. Then follow the property markings over to the Wittenberg-Slide trail to complete a loop hike.

Virtually all of the Catskill slides are talus slides. In general slab slides occur only where there is an underlying slanted or folded rock strata. All of the rock strata in the Catskills is horizontal. If you see a rock in the Catskills with a non-horizontal strata, it has become dislodged from the porous sandstone bedrock and is sliding down hill. Occasionally there is a near vertical rock ledge such as the Giant Ledge and the east face of Slide.

01-25-2004, 10:42 PM
I've been meaning to cold call someone at Paul Smiths on another Catskill/ADK related matter for a while now. Tom, that suggestion to contact Dr. Kurdish just coalesced those two questions together. Thanks. Now I just have to read The Catskills Forest book front to back instead of using it as a reference manual.

Mark, thanks for the link to the essay. My original guess for it's location is where you put it (based on topography), but if I'm reading Dr. Kudish's map correctly he's marked a slide on the east side of the spur you mention. While I don't have that pamphlet you mention, one of the reasons I'd like to find the slide, if it's still there, is a memory of a drawing, or engraving showing the slide, perhaps the one from the pamphlet.

Porky, the east ridge of Friday was a really fun climb, I've been wanting to go back for the slides.

Mark Schaefer
01-26-2004, 12:36 AM
:o Warren, you are right. I consulted about a dozen references (none of which is very clear on the location of the slide), but I overlooked the map that is included in Michael Kudish's book. I was misled by a "Guide to the Catskills", 1975, published by Walking News that stated the slide was on a NW slope. The end of that north spur was the only place I could find a NW slope that descended to the Woodland Valley. The Walking News book must have a typo, it should have read NE rather NW slope.

So I have to believe Kudish's map. The slide must be on the east side of the north spur. That does jive better with the engraving that I mentioned. It would appear that the top slide is just a bit north of the true summit of Slide. This also correlates well with Burroughs' words leaving the summit: "In a few minutes we emerged at the head of the slide that had given the mountain its name." I had thought he could have made it to end of the north spur in about 10 minutes, but it would only be about 2 minutes or less to Kudish's location. Might be a little longer now as the path Burroughs found may no longer exist and the area may be overgrown. This slide location also descends to the southern most fork of the Woodland Valley stream.

Anybody wanting to find the locations of the Slide Mt or Friday slides should consider purchasing Michael Kudish book and consult the large folded map that is included.

01-26-2004, 06:15 AM
Someone mentioned avalanches. I though I read somewhere about a small one that accured on Peakamoose road and burreid a plow truck. Does anyone know about this, I forgot were I read that.

Papa Bear
01-26-2004, 07:35 AM

Here's an aerial photo from the Terraserver (June 1994); Terraserver picture (http://terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?t=2&s=12&x=688&y=5813&z=18&w=2), centered on the peak of the north ridge. Switch back and forth between this view and the topo-map view (small pull down above the Compass Rose on the left of the screen) to get your bearings.

You can see a trace of the ridge line from the north spur (3800') up to the north-west (3640'), but no slide.

Wait, maybe there's a very slight coloration north of the stream opening out into a fan shaped pattern. It looks like it may start around 3200' or 3300', down a very steep cliff from the col east of the north spur. Good luck.


01-26-2004, 09:40 AM
It definitely believable that there was an avalanche near Peekamoose Mtn.
I think I have to buy that book for the map. If I go to these slides in the winter I would try and snowboard down them, maybe. Any advice on that? Thanks.

Mark Schaefer
01-26-2004, 02:42 PM
Papa Bear, thanks for the topo/aerial photo. There may be a few faint indications of the slide in this photo, but I may just be seeing pixelization. I believe the east side of the north spur is the correct location (after Warren pointed out to me that the slide is shown on Michael Kudish's map starting near the 4180' summit). It probably starts at about the 4100' contour, heads through or just west of the "M" (in "Slide Mtn" on the topo map), and then descends to the northeast to the stream shown in blue (perhaps down to the 2900' or 2600' contour to achieve the 1200'-1500' observed by Burroughs). I have been across the Wittenberg/Cornell/Slide trail about 15 times in the last 30 years and have never seen any visible indication of the slide. However, the Cornell viewpoints may not have a good perspective. This July, 1819 slide is probably well forested now.

01-26-2004, 06:22 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty convinced it's likely grown in by now. I'm also convinced it's worth scouting out (from the Slide/Cornell trail) if only to see what 200 hundred years of growth will do.

At the very least, there should be some fun up and down scrambling to be had on Catskill-style ledges there.

01-27-2004, 11:20 AM
Hey mink319, is that an aerial view of Slide Mountain in the Catskills? Doesn't look like it. Looks more like the gunks or perhaps the southern end of the Escarpment Trail.
Nice photo though. Did you take it?

01-27-2004, 11:37 AM
Indianchris I think you are right. I thought the same when I first looked at it. It is definently a ridge plus there is too much color on the tops rather then the green from the spruce. I have hundreds of Catskill pictures and none show the cliffs like that in one line and that color, unless i am focusing on a ledge from up close. I would think leges would not show up any different in an arial. I could be wrong though. It is a great shot.

01-27-2004, 01:00 PM
I dont know where that shot was taken, once this thread started I did an image search and that was the best one I found. I thought that it didnt look like the Catskills too.

Rob S
01-27-2004, 03:34 PM
Check this out - - -


The photo that was posted comes from this website.
This guy flies planes and takes pictures of the places he goes. There are a few pictures that are labeled "CatskillsFall", "CatskillsRed", "CatskillsWing", and "CatskillsWingZoom". But as IndianChris and Snowshoe have pointed out, it doesn't appear to be Slide. My first reaction when looking at the photo was the same (doesn't look like Slide) but I thought maybe it was just me. I also thought the cliffs in the front center were Giant Ledge, but the ridgeline behind the cliffs just didn't make sense. I have an idea, how about we take one of those scenic tours in a Cessna and scout the area for ourselves? Maybe in the spring? We did that in the Dacks a few years ago from Lake Placid. It was really cool seeing all the places you've hiked from a different perspective. Just a thought.

01-27-2004, 03:54 PM
Look in the center of the picture. It looks like you can see a few slides. Where is this?

Mark Schaefer
01-27-2004, 04:29 PM
Mink, that is definitely the Shawangunks. In the glare at the top of the picture it appears to be Skytop with Eagle Cliff to the left. If that is correct I believe we may be seeing the Near Trapps in the foreground. The curved line may be Routes 44/55. The Coxing valley on the left. The small lake on the right may be the fairly recently created lakes on Sparkling Ridge Rd. But I am not totally convinced of all of that. But it is definitely somewhere on the Shawangunk Ridge, perhaps further south. I only see cliff in this picture, no slides.

Many people lump the Shawangunks into the Catskills, although, as we know they are very different geologically.

If you look at the website the i12climbup mentioned. The first, Catskills Fall picture bears a resemblance to Lake Maratanza at Sam's Point, but again this could be further south on the Shawangunk Ridge. The Catskills Red picture is the one Mink posted.

In the Catskills Wings picture you can see the Rondout Reservoir on the left, Slide Mt in the distance, along with Ashokan High Point. The Catskills Wings Zoom picture is just zoomed in on Slide Mt to Ashokan High Point. It appears the plane flew along the Shawangunk Ridge and took a couple of pictures toward the Catskills before flying back over the Hudson Valley. The Galeville Army Field (now a Nature Conservancy Preserve) in one of the other photos is also just east of the Shawangunk Ridge.

Papa Bear
01-27-2004, 04:29 PM
There was an aerial photo of Slide Mountain I posted from the Terraserver above. Although it's black and white, there is virtually no similarity. There would be no way to hide that line of cliffs in mink's picture no matter what angle the shot ws taken from.

Here'san idea: scan all Terraserver pictures of the Catskills for a match with the mystery picture.

:D :D :D

01-27-2004, 05:22 PM
I would have to agree with Mark that its the Shawagunks. The white cliffs are something common in the Shawagunks, white the cliffs in the Catskills are a more grey color. Many people often lump togethor the Catskills and Shawagunks, which is a big mistake. They are very different.

01-27-2004, 06:10 PM
I figured it was the Shawangunks as well. Probably the traps area. It is not further south because there are no long stretches of cliffs like in the picture, the further south one goes.

Bob Smith
01-28-2004, 03:45 PM
Mink, you asked about other slides in the Catskills, If your going east on rt 23c just past Twilight Park there is a slide (very large, southeast direction) above The Catskills Creek and past Wildcat and Hillyer Ravine's
I always thought it would be a great place to ski

01-29-2004, 01:02 PM
Bob, are you sure that slide near Twilight Park is not visible from the Rip Van Winkle Trail, and not 23C? I think I noticed last time I went up that way. Thanks anyway for the reminder.
I think there is a slide up near Huntersfield Mtn. I remember that its up pretty high and has a series of ledges at the top and bottom. I know its in the vicinity of Huntersfield Mtn, but its a big territory with lots of small mountains and old logging roads. I cant remember where exactly it is, but its up there. I think I remember seeing it from a logging road that I was driving on, and went to see what it was, and it was a decent sized slide. That logging road is grown over now, so the only way to find it again would be to explore. This area is quite wild, it often gets overlooked because its not in the Catskill Park. The only time I have ever seen people there is in hunting season. There is also a very nice seasonal waterfall over that way.If anyone wants more info on this area, such as access points, roads, and descriptions just send me a PM.

Bob Smith
01-29-2004, 02:27 PM
Mink, I have not been on the Rip trail in 20 years, but the slide can be seen from Rt 23 C. You can get a real good view of it after you pass the falls that go under Rt 23C when your heading east.
There is a small parking area that a lot of ice climbers use and right past that is the view (looking up in the 2 oclock direction).

Mark Schaefer
01-29-2004, 02:54 PM
Bob, you do mean Route 23A (aka Rip Van Winkle Trail) in regards to slide east of Hillyer Ravine in the Kaaterskill Clove. I have seen that slide and know the parking lot. That is also the parking lot for the Naiad's Bath swimming hole - across the road and down a short path to the creek. There are many slides in the Kaaterskill Clove. It was a minor landslide that permanently closed the Malden Turnpike near 23A in Palenville. FYI County Route 23C starts at the traffic light in Tannersville and goes north past Camp Tri-mount in East Jewett, before turning west.

Arm, The Wittenberg-Slide loop offers some of the best views in the Catskills. It is a 15.1 mile loop according to the trail descriptions on the back of the New York New Jersey Trail Conference map. You can shave a little off that distance by following the old trail from the north end of Winnisook Lake over to the current trail. There is an easement across the privately owned start of that old trail, and it is still in excellent shape. Also there is an easement on the old road at the end of the Woodland Valley Road. There are signs on that old section of the trail that scare most people into using the official trail over the bottom of Fork Ridge. If you are short on time you can still legally hike that section of old road. It saves some distance and elevation gain at the end of the loop.

If you want a shorter hike the hike over the Giant Ledge to Panther provides some great view. For that hike you need to use the trailhead at the hairpin curve on County Route 47, as there is no parking at the north end of Winnisook Lake at the start of the easement that I mentioned above.

Or you could do the other 4K mountain, Hunter. The 2.3 mile hike up Becker Hollow is the shortest and fastest approach, . Or there is a nice 7.85 mile loop from the end of the Spruceton Road.

Bob Smith
01-30-2004, 08:11 AM
Mark, Your correct 23A. Good pick up

01-30-2004, 09:09 AM
Try goin to Platte Clove Mtn Road, but not this time of the year. Its a very nice road with many great views and gets almost no traffic. Its unplowed so its a great place to snowshoe, but I wouldnt ski down it because there are no guard rails, and if you fell it would be a long drop. There are also a few slides here, but not as big as the ones in Kaaterskill Clove.
To get there just keep going on Platte Clove Rd past Prediger Rd. If you want to drive it please wait until early May, there are shady spots that have snow very late, and if you had to turn around it would be very hard because its narrow.