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Thread: Bushwhacking Race Mountain Mass's Cliffs and Bear Rock Falls

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    West Hartford, CT (Photo: Sages Ravine, Salisbury, CT)

    Bushwhacking Race Mountain Mass's Cliffs and Bear Rock Falls

    Anyone here have any experience bushwhacking Race Mountain's cliffs, particularly in the really steep stretch around Bear Rock Falls?

    Today, a friend of mine and I had two main targets -

    1) Sages Ravine via its old, abandoned trail from near the CT/MA state line on Rt. 41, in the valley, up to the Appalachian Trail's crossing of the Sages brook, and

    2) The base of Bear Rock Falls a mile and change north of the A.T. Sages crossing.

    We hit both. Sages was epic and scary in places, especially soaking wet after a couple days' rains. From there, we traversed northward to find the Bear Rock brook's falls.

    We reached Bear Rock's base via the A.T. northbound, about 0.9 miles north to the point where the trail begins its long ascent of Race. We took a sharp right (SE) there on an old logging road, an old A.T. routing, for about 0.1, then taking a left (NNE) where another old logging road was joined. We then followed that road, or its bank, steadily and somewhat steeply down, NE, joining another road at a very rough spot, then following that new road, also mostly rough, NNE to a hairpin turn depicted on the historic UNH 1949 Bash Bish topo, NE quadrant:

    From there, we whacked through intermittently rough and generally wild though open terrain, about 1/4 mile, descending sharply near the brook, following our ears to the roar of the falls until we found their base at about 1200'. Returning, we scrambled back up the steep south bank, then fortunately spotted an old road bed, mostly level, which contoured between 1250 or so and 1220' and joined the road off which we'd bushwhacked. We followed this down to a point, then descended eastward from about 1000' as the grade eased, catching first a canal fed by Bear Rock Brook (!), then an unpaved road which took us north and then east to Rt. 41 where Bear Rock Brook crosses it about half a mile north of the state line and my car.

    The last mile or so of road, whack and road leading us down to 41 was, unfortunately, along private property. I believe it would not be difficult at all to create a new Bear Rock Falls sidetrail from the A.T. to the base of the falls along our return route to the old logging road and then back up to the A.T. It would be a nice addition to the extensive and very nice trail network in the southern Taconics. I'm curious to see who owns the land the trail would traverse and whether they might be willing to give permission for such a use. Much of this route appears to be within the A.T. protected corridor or within Mount Everett State Reservation.

    From the base of the falls, we could see the bottom 100' or so, and from the sidehill views approaching from the south, we could see another 75'. From the top, on prior trips, I've scrambled down the south bank of the top of the falls and been able to see down about 100', the sharp first main drop. I believe, from topos, from eyeballing the top and bottom and from Google Earth imagery (the top of the falls is at approximately 42 deg 03'44.89" N, 76 deg 26'13.15" W), that the Falls lose 400' in several pitches which constitute one big fall. Eyeballing the terrain from the base of this long fall, it appeared that the north bank could, for a ways at least, be scrambled up in order to get additional views of the middle 150' or so of these falls.

    I will post pics and other data later, but I wondered - has anyone here had the experience of taking in the full extent of Bear Rock Falls via such a scramble? They quite clearly are the largest falls in southern New England, from my understanding, and by a good margin. Neighboring Race Brook loses 600' in its falls and intervening cascades, but these are across six or seven distinct falls ranging from 100' to 7' in height. From what my friend and I saw today, and from my prior explorations, BRF looks quite awesome and appears to be one big fall with a few different pitches. Wondering if anyone here has more beta on them or knows of someone who does. Looking at the topos, I'm wondering, in a related question, if it would be possible to ascend along the north bank up the side of the falls, then, at some point, side slope northward out of the super steeps to a leveler stretch below Race's cliffs, then, picking a manageable line, climb to join the A.T. up Race's "cliffs" where they're not sheer but merely steep. It's an ambitious project, one I may not do this year, but it has my interest and attention.
    Last edited by Driver8; 06-15-2014 at 12:16 AM.
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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