Today we’ll be hiking Balsam Mountain. This is one of the four required “winter peaks” for admission to the Catskill 3500 Club. The last time we climbed this mountain was December 13th of 2008 (just before winter the “beginning” of winter on 12/22).
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In case you haven’t perused the Hiking Page lately, Scott and I carry a SPOT Messenger GPS unit that sends out regular signals while we’re hiking. Our progress is available on a separate website, which you can view here, if you’d like to track our progress on a given Saturday (don’t forget to hit the “terrain” button, so you can see what the mountain actually looks like). Depending on your connection speed, it may take a minute to load.
If you’re a hiker and mountain-climber, definitely check out Peakbagger.com. It’s a great way to keep track of what you’ve climbed and when, and also to get new ideas for what to climb next. Here’s a quick tour of the site, via my page:
For each peak I’ve logged in, Peakbagger starts a list for me that shows what peaks I have left to go in order to complete the list. The main set of these is called, not-so-ironically, my list of lists. I can then click the link, say, for the Catskill 3500-foot Peaks to see what I’ve climbed so far and what I have left to go (you can also sort this list by the headers). Each of the peak names are links that go to a detail page of the particular peak. So if you click the link for Balsam Mountain, you’ll see all the pertinent info you need. Interesting tidbits are the trip reports from other hikers and what other lists this particular peak appears on. At the bottom of the Catskill 3500-foot Peaks list, there’s also a link called “Front Runners List“, which shows a portion of the hikers who are working on completing this list.
One notable difference between the requirements for completion between Peakbagger and the Catskill 3500 Club is that Peakbagger does not incorporate the four winter peaks. Peakbagger basically shows my progress at 25/35, when I’m really at 27/39 (we’ve climbed Panther and Slide again in the winter). Another notable difference is that Peakbagger also includes the East Peak of West Kill Mountain, the Northwest Peak of Bearpen Mountain, and the South Peak of Twin Mountain – none of which qualify as separate peaks for Catskill 3500 Club membership. The Club requirements state that the peaks be at least 1/2 mile away from any other peak on the list OR there must be a 250-foot drop in elevation between the peaks.