Dial it up a notch?

February 26, 2010 · 0 comments

In the past couple of weeks, at least two people have told me directly that they’re “living vicariously through” me – specifically with respect to the photos posted on facebook of my winter peakbagging extravaganza.  I can’t tell you how cool that is; how good that makes me feel.

Well, I’m considering dialing that vicarious experience up a notch, dear reader.  I have four trips left, comprising 7 mountains; I’ve climbed 20 mountains since December 26th.  Tomorrow (today) I’ll be climbing Bearpen and Vly mountains.  They’re outside of the Catskill “Blue Line” (meaning they’re not technically in Catskill State Park), so these mountains aren’t accounted for in my Catskills map set.  Which means that not only do I need to find my own way to the tops of these mountains (there aren’t any trails to the summits), I also need to make my own maps.

View Larger Map

It’s not really as hard as it sounds.  I have the National Geographic Topo! software, so I can isolate these two mountains and print out a topographical map on a regular sheet of paper.  It won’t be a very good map, but what the hell, that’s what experience is for.  I’ve climbed these mountains before, and I think I could probably climb them without even bringing a map, but I’m going to print one out anyway just to be on the safe side.

This hike shouldn’t be ridiculously long – maybe 7 miles round-trip – so I’m considering climbing Kaaterskill High Peak on Sunday.  What with all the snow we’ve had here in NNJ in the past week, I’m not sure how bad the Catskills got hit.  If there are three feet of fresh snow on those mountains and no tracks to follow, any of the trips I have left will be a total bitch.  So I’ll check it out tomorrow (today) to see what the conditions are like.  If I can climb Bearpen and Vly without being totally exhausted tomorrow, I’ll bag Kaaterskill on Sunday and be a week ahead of schedule.

That will leave two trips:  Friday/Balsam Cap and Lone/Rocky.  Those four are, in my opinion, the hardest mountains to climb in the Catskills.  The peaks are all covered with extremely dense pine forest – imagine wall-to-wall Christmas trees, then make the Christmas trees a little taller and closer together and you’ll be getting close to what it’s like inside of that obstacle course.  Almost the whole hike is spent ducking under, going around, going through, or getting scraped up by stiff branches poking horizontally out of the trunks of the conifers.

On top of that, the hike just to get to Rocky (passing the base of Lone on the way) is almost five miles in and of itself.  Which means almost five miles of hike on the way out as well (not counting actually climbing those two fir-topped mountains).

Friday, Balsam Cap, Rocky and Lone basically form a northeast/southwest ridgeline.

View Larger Map

I’m considering bagging all four peaks in one day.  Considering – it’s not a plan just yet.  But if the Catskills don’t get too much more snow over the course of next week, and if I can get my lazy ass up early enough next Saturday, I think I might just be able to do it.  That would mean I’d be finished two weeks early.

We’ll see.  It’s just a thought right now, and I have a lot of those that end up growing up into not-so-good ideas.

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