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Thread: Blackheads 7-14, and "THE NINE" Table-Slide Loop 7-14 to 7-16-17 CATSKILLS

  1. #1
    Senior Member dom15931's Avatar
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    Red face Blackheads 7-14, and "THE NINE" Table-Slide Loop 7-14 to 7-16-17 CATSKILLS

    Having done all the 4k peaks at least once I figured it was time to do some hiking in the Skills for the first time (in the 3500 area) in ten years which was when I did Hunter and Slide with my now wife.

    7-14-17 Blackhead Range (Out and Back)

    Evening accent of via Camel's Hump of Thomas Cole, Black Dome, and Blackhead...then return. We had bad weather coming from PA it was awful. Heavy thunderstorms and flooding was occurring. Oddly the northern Catskill region in particular looked free of the deluge. Per rain, it would be dry other than a misty shower here and there. When we arrived at 5:15 the sun was shining. We hit the trail at 5:30. Against all odds it looked like we were going to get a nice evening. Ehhh...wrong, mostly. The first viewpoint provided views through some trees. The trail below had been dry, but the rocks slippery. It was apparent that this area had not seen heavy rains recently. Heading to Camel's Hump vistas summit fog clamped down and would remain, other than a few initial breaks from these vistas, for the remainder of the trip. The woodland heading east is very pristine here. Thomas Cole was an uneventful summit, a quick photo op and an easy summit. Black Dome would prove to be very easy as well. The decent to the col en route to Blackhead was a little more fun but the accent again was easy. We arrived on the summit at 8:30. The route back would be the same. We were bummed that the fog had been socked in. What had been expected turned out to be after it looked like we were going to be lucky. We took an evening lunch at the first col and sat down for a bit. Continuing on it became apparent that the fog had lifted. From Camel's Hump we had nice views of the Milky Way. The decent was easy but required dodging those slippery rocks. We arrived back at the trailhead shortly before midnight.

    7-15 and 7-16-17 "The Nine" Loop from Denning TH. (Overnight) Table-Peakamoose-Table-Lone-Rocky-Balsam Cap-Friday-Cornell-Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide>descend to starting point.


    Ahhhhh. Something fun and nice weather to go with it. Hammock tents in packs and minimal gear for a one-night overnight. We started from Denning at 9:45 after tracking down a gas station and some joe. (surprisingly tough in these parts). The weather was nice, typical fair weather summer day with some humidity and a shower or two in spots. We took our time en route to table. Having got half the sleep that is good I didn't want to run ourselves into the dirt early by overexertion. Still we made ok time and utilized the spring below the summit. The overlooks are nice but the summit itself more mundane and obscure, by this time understood to be typical of the range. We dropped our packs and made a lighter dash out-and-back to Peakamoose. Nice view of the Gunks and Hudson Gap here as well as some of the trailess peaks.

    The bushwhack: A few thoughts: Interesting. Not as well defined in some areas as the paths in the ADK (particularly Friday to Cornell). A compass is always a must not in you pack but frequently in your hands. While none of these peaks topographically are tough this section is cumulative. In the order we did it the worst was saved for last. Not quite the black spruce of the ADK or Whites, nor the Rhododendron and green briar laden rocky red spruce forests of the higher elevation of West Virginia, but not easy. It's basically a five-peak (if you count Cornell) traverse. We got the feeling that many folks do not do all of these at once as there are numerous paths coming from the drainage basin on the western flanks of these mountains. This was a great exercise in navigation. I checked my compass often. The path would frequently break apart and then re-form. In many areas we just held the bearing adjusted for declination. In my opinion Rocky has the thickest, most difficult summit. The most difficult section is Friday to Cornell. Here we descended to line with the deciduous forest and camped below the col. Camp was up at 8:45 and down at 5:45 and we got 7-8hrs of much needed sleep. The surprise views: Rocky. Lots of blowdown appear to have opened things up.

    The trek to Cornell proved to be more difficult than expected, but well navigated. Upon reaching the first false summit we held an "even contour" and an approximate bearing to gain the trail below the summit with no more elevation gain. There was a faint path from time to time but the lower elevation made for a slightly more open forest with a long flat stretch. It took us an hour but we hit the trail right where we wanted to, stashed our packs, and quickly did the Cornell-Wittenberg-Cornell Trek. Nice rock scrambling here descending to the col. Wit is definitely a fantastic summit. It reminds of another escarpment view: Roaring Plains over Roaring Run in West Virginia. Not quite as vast but the drop off the uplifted plateau is very similar. This was the highlight of the trip for sure.

    En route to Slide: Need water. This seemed to be a common theme of the day. Arriving at the high spring after a surprisingly sustained class 2 trail we found a hoard of folks already there. We each got about 25-30 ounces for the hike out. (we would have run out on the summit without the water so the situation was not dire).

    Slide. I had been here ten years ago. I feel as though many of the outlooks have grown in somewhat. It felt good to have the ninth summit and nothing but an easy decent, hopefully, and easy it was!

    We arrived back at the car at 12:45pm and headed out.

    Looking back a week later I am very glad/proud I did this loop. Having such sucess with map and compass where it is absolutely necessary for a long duration was a great adventure in and of it self. We signed all the summit canisters and had no difficulty finding them.

    Cheers!

    Dom

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Excellent report! Your experiences mirror a lot of what I hear, e.g. Rocky is tough, FR-CO is tough, etc.

    Also, as you said, the views are not circular, but if you can find them, it's worth the hunt!

    Glad you found the springs to be running!
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO

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