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Thread: Trailless peaks in the Catskills

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    Trailless peaks in the Catskills

    I read on a website somewhere that some of the high Catskill peaks are trailless, and it is hoped to keep them that way. I gathered that posting info is discouraged in order to force peakbaggers to determine their own route, with the effect of spreading out the use and avoiding herd paths. If so, that's a different approach than the NE 100 Highest, where info is readily available and every trailless peak now has a herd path. I'd appreciate someone familiar with the Catskills to expound on the current situation, as I'm clueless having ascended only the highest mountain, Slide.
    散步 Sanbu

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    If you're talking about the Catskill 35 High Peaks, there's a ton of information on Facebook and on the internet.
    If you're talking about the Catskill 100, there's a guidebook called 'The Catskill 67'. Because so much of the Catskills is private property where permission from property owners is needed. Posting routes and sharing routes and permissions is discouraged to keep landowners be bothered with requests from people who get info on the internet or social media. People are encouraged to do their own homework and seek out permission individually. Hope this helps.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
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    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Most of the trailless 3500'+ peaks have some form of herd paths, although some of them are braided, and wander around. Some of the paths disappear and reappear higher up, along ridge lines, where people would naturally navigate to. As far as info goes, the horse is out of the barn. Between All Trails, Gaia, Facebook, Strava, etc., you can find them if you want to. Of course, you can still do a pure whack if you want to.

    You probably saw the other thread, but the '35' is now '33'. The '2' were technically trailless, (one had an old road), but are now off limits.

    My opinion is that there should be one good (herd) path, instead of 10 bad ones.
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    Most of the trailless 3500'+ peaks have some form of herd paths, although some of them are braided, and wander around. Some of the paths disappear and reappear higher up, along ridge lines, where people would naturally navigate to. As far as info goes, the horse is out of the barn. Between All Trails, Gaia, Facebook, Strava, etc., you can find them if you want to. Of course, you can still do a pure whack if you want to.

    You probably saw the other thread, but the '35' is now '33'. The '2' were technically trailless, (one had an old road), but are now off limits.

    My opinion is that there should be one good (herd) path, instead of 10 bad ones.
    So this may be an actual good use of social media. I never did get to the top of SW Hunter, I think I was close though Back 20 years ago it certainly did braid and fade and then disappear.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    True dat. Finding the canister on SW Hunter in the late 90s was a treasure hunt. Took me three tries from multiple directions before I finally found it. Prior to attempt #3, I told my future wife ... “I’m not coming down until I find it.” Had already finished all the rest and still consider Rocky my true #35. Anyway, after 45 minutes or an hour of grid searching through a seemingly endless flat field of pine trees, a small rise caught my gaze and I knew I had it.

    As pointed out upthread, any Catskill 3500 peak is a bushwhack if you don’t follow the beaten path. Number of required true ‘whacks during my 1998-1999 round was somewhere in the mid-teens in those pre-GPS, pre-internet days. Good times. Wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  6. #6
    Member Dave Bourque's Avatar
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    I finished my first round of the Catskills in the early 80's. The only herd path I remember was a faint path from Table Mountain heading towards Lone. It was great bushwhacking back then with no social media offering step by step guidance, no crowds and untrodden summits. I'm alarmed but shouldn't be surprised to hear Tom mention that herd paths have proliferated.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Yes, it's quite easy to find the Canister on SW Hunter now. There is an old rail bed that can be followed to almost the summit. SW was one of my few 'failures' as well, we went straight from the leanto and never found the canister. THICK!

    Ironically, they added 2 canisters recently, to Kaaterskill High Peak, and Eagle. Both have obvious herd paths (and have for years). I guess the intent was to gauge usage.
    Tom Rankin
    Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
    Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO - Views and Brews

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    My friend Carlo and I went looking for the canister on SW Hunter (Leavitt Pk) about 10 days after it was placed. There was no clearing or herd path. Took a while of stubborn searching in thick conifers to locate it.
    We went back a couple of years later and found the old railroad bed and followed it until we were under the approximate location of the can.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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