View Full Version : Hunter Mountain

05-03-2004, 07:09 AM
Is the accepted summit of Hunter Mountain in the Catskills a tree with two blue painted rings around it just off the trail before the Fire tower? I walked around in the woods looking for the high point, and saw that tree.

Dennis C.
05-03-2004, 09:15 AM
When you have made your best effort to find the highest point of any peak, marked or otherwise, then you are there, at least in your own judgement (look around ... check altimeter). In years past, we have found register jars on bushwhack mountains left by climbers who thought they'd reached the highest point, when in fact they hadn't. We'd just move it to the higher bump. Who knows, perhaps visibility was limited at the time of their visit.

05-03-2004, 12:48 PM
Hmm. I've been on the top of Hunter five times in 30 years and I don't remember ever seeing a tree with blue markings. Could it be some new way of designating the summit end of the blue-marked Becker Hollow trail? From the USGS topo, it looks like the true high point is NNE of where the Becker Hollow trail enters the summit clearing, closer to where the Colonel's Chair trail comes in.

05-03-2004, 03:07 PM
I may be wrong, but I think you were at the old fire tower location. Did you go to the new fire tower? If you went to the top of the tower, you were most definitely at the highest point so I wouldn't worry about the summit location.

05-03-2004, 03:30 PM
According to http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=42.17778&lon=-74.23083 , I am glad I walked all the way to the new tower last summer !

Mark Schaefer
05-03-2004, 03:46 PM
Hunter has a very flat summit within the 4040' contour line. Most people would attest that the summit is at the clearing with the fire tower. I checked about a dozen guidebooks, including Gary Fallesen's "Peak Experiences" which details the NY state county highpoints. None of them mention any point higher than the tower location. Neither the Catskill 3500 Club's website nor the County Highpointer's webpage mention anything other than the summit tower. Could there be another point with an elevation slightly higher than the tower's base? Probably.

I am a Catskill 3500 club member, but not a county highpointer. For me climbing the tower was enough. I know the county highpointers take these things more seriously than general peak baggers. I'll have to look for that tree on my next visit. It is the first I have heard of it.

The Catskill Guide (http://www.catskillguide.com/hike-3.htm) online description (click on the Becker Hollow Trail, which includes the last part of the Spruceton Trail) indicates that the summit is southeast of the tower along the blue Spruceton trail (between the tower and the Becker Hollow trail junction). I excerpted that description below:
Trail passes over summit before entering the clearing with the fire tower. The earlier tower's location is at the 4000' feet at the junction of the Becker Hollow, Hunter, and Spruceton trails. Some of the anchors are still visible.

paul ron
05-03-2004, 06:47 PM
Last time I was there in 1986, if I rember correctly, there was a round benchmark imbeded in a boulder just out back of the rangers shack. Isn't that the highest point other than being in the tower anyway?

05-04-2004, 07:57 AM
there is a big rock behind the cabin (almost at the trees) that says "4040'" on it - since the rock is higher than the ground that might be the highpoint (but climb the firetower to be sure you are as high as you can get).
the topo maps show only one benchmark, it is SSE of the tower in the woods. there is a slight trail to it (parallels blue trail for about 300 feet). 2 years ago when we found it we needed the GPS, it was covered with moss (we cleaned it off, so if leaves haven't fallen on it, it should still be visable). but it is not the summit.

05-04-2004, 09:27 AM
Thanks for the info. The AMC map I have had the summit a bit before the fire tower, and I didn't know if it was right or not.

Mark Schaefer
05-04-2004, 01:35 PM
I rechecked the AMC guidebook that comes with the AMC map. The text does not mention the summit being anywhere other than the summit clearing with the tower. The AMC map is very dense 1:100000, as is the NYNJTC map at 1:63360. Both have a lot of info crammed onto Hunter's summit. The AMC map does use a triangle to indicate summits. That may be based on the benchmark that Ken mentioned, which is well off the summit, off the trail, near the 4020' contour, shown on the topozone map that Ridgerunner posted. Given the density of the AMC map it may be that the trail was somewhat carelessly drawn through the benchmark. The little tower drawing on the AMC map is also shown off the summit - which probably should not be taken seriously as the map maker was just unable to squeeze it into the trail junction at the summit clearing.

Michael Kudish's book "The Catskill Forest: A History" states the current tower (vintage 1953) is at the highest point of the mountain. Being a forestry professor I am sure he extensively hiked around the summit.

The AMC map does give a list of the Catskill 3500 mountains. About half of these have an elevation 10 feet higher than the Catskill 3500 Club's list, e.g. Hunter 4050'. The map states that the list is based on the latest USGS maps. Does anybody have access to a 10' contour USGS map? That might give some insight where there is a 4050' contour on Hunter. The latest Hunter quad (http://www.nysgis.state.ny.us/quads/usgsgif/o42074b2_gif.htm) I can find online is still a 20' contour map (1945 quad with 1980 edit based on 1978 photos - this appears to be the one used by topozone).

Papa Bear
05-04-2004, 01:50 PM
I would bet the 4050' AMC number is simply their convention of adding 1/2 a contour interval when there is no spot elevation at a summit. This is how they publish the elevations for the White Mountain peaks.

I doubt very much there is any such thing as a 10' contour map. Topozone is generally very good at using the latest data from the USGS. The map whose link was given is the 1990 1:24000 quad (click on "Map/Photo info") with 20' contours, which I doubt has been updated.

Don't confuse the little circle with the dot in it with a contour line. I believe it's the symbol for the tower.


Mark Schaefer
05-04-2004, 02:01 PM
You are right Pb! Now that I understand AMCese, that is exactly what their Catskill 3500-Footers list states. "Where no exact elevation is given on the USGS maps, the elevation has been interpolated by adding half the contour interval to the highest contour shown on the map."

Mike P.
05-06-2004, 04:23 PM
I've always have stepped on the 4040 rock Ken mentioned, walked around the old cabin location & then climbed the tower. I'm happy with that

10-10-2004, 03:22 AM
I managed to get to Hunter 10/1/04 and 10/7/04. Here is a pic of the 4040' Summit rock and what the Summit area looks like while standing on the rock.

10-11-2004, 02:18 PM
My grandfather (and my Mom) were the observers on Hunter back in the 70's.
This thread reminded me of a story he used to tell people who braved the climb to the top of the tower on especially windy days. He would point out the spot of the "old" tower on the east summit. Of course people would ask what happened to the old tower. He'd give me a wink and tell them it blew down one windy day. I always got a kick out of the expressions of their faces.

Mark Schaefer
10-11-2004, 03:23 PM
Trailhead, I heard that story from an observer, Bill Byrne, on my first climb of Hunter Mt in 1974. I believe he was in his 60s at the time. I also met him several other times at the tower in the following years. Thanks for the memories.

Over the years during high winds at Hunter and other towers I have had to assure fellow climbers that the tower had successfully weathered many hurricanes. So they need not be overly concerned that the tower was creaking and shaking.

10-11-2004, 04:03 PM
That's him Mark. He's mentioned in quite a few of the fire tower books as he had alot of good stories to tell and the tower offered an audience to tell them.

I spent alot of summer days up there as a kid so there's a good chance you met me too.

I'm leading an ADK hike up Hunter later this month with my mom. We haven't hiked together in a long time and I'm looking forward to it.

10-11-2004, 09:10 PM
I thought the AMC guide to the Catskills is against anything off trail? That might be why they say the Summit is the clearing rather than being off trail.

Tom Rankin
10-13-2004, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the info. The AMC map I have had the summit a bit before the fire tower, and I didn't know if it was right or not.

Sponge, if you climb the tower, you're higher than any rock! :-)

BTW, Ken, it's in FRONT of the cabin. Just went there a few weeks ago, and met you at the bottom! ERD pointed it out to us.

10-13-2004, 10:56 PM
>>BTW, Ken, it's in FRONT of the cabin. Just went there a few weeks ago, and met you at the bottom! <<

depends what you consider the front - the cabin's porch faces the tower, if you are standing on the porch facing the tower the outhouse is to your right and the rock is even more to your right (sort of behind you) - - - if you walk past the tower (from the porch of the cabin) you can find a faint path to the survey marker (harry & i cleaned a big wad of moss off it about 2 years ago).

i know you were there, i was there twice looking for you guys (doing sw hunter in between) then on the way down i met the guy from your group that turned back and walked out with him. then you guys showed up at the parking area.

10-14-2004, 09:28 PM
My grandfather (and my Mom) were the observers on Hunter back in the 70's.

So trailhead, are you Herb? If so I hiked with you a few years ago in the Catskills.

10-16-2004, 09:14 AM
Hi Dawn, how are you?

I remember those hikes. Rocky and Lone were the last ones but we did a couple before that. Considering your handle it looks like you've been busy since then. I've been in the Adirondacks for the most part. Finishing my 46 and helping some other people towards finishing theirs.

I've got to get back to the Catskills. I still have 8 peaks left to go.

10-17-2004, 01:14 PM
Let me know if you want company to help finish your 8. If one of them is Halcott, I will be leading that hike for the 3500 club on November 6th.

Yes, I finished the 46 on 8/28 and the 115 on 9/25. I've been busy since I saw you last!

10-19-2004, 09:40 AM
Thanks for the invite!

I'm leading a trail run that day, however. I had fun the last time I climbed Halcott. It was a few years ago on Earth Day and I'm pretty sure you were on that trip. There was a big Catskill 3500 group and then a big ADK group afterwards-quite a crowd for a trailess peak.

Nice website BTW>