Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hiking - Sugarloaf Mt.

Sugarloaf, at 3800 feet, is the 13th highest peak in New York's Catskills. Some friends have been winter peak-bagging in the Catskills, and were going today, so I tagged along, having already climbed it 3 other times. Conditions varied from icy to a few inches of new snow on a deep firm base, so the choice of footwear varied all day. I went from instep crampons to snowshoes to full-boot crampons and back to instep crampons before we were through. It pays to be prepared.

We walked without snowshoes up to Pecoy Notch, between Sugarloaf and its neighbor Twin, then set off steeply up Sugarloaf from the notch. I snapped this first shot on the way up, showing Twin Mountain and its cliffs across the notch.

We continued climbing steeply, with snowshoes now, zigzagging up through various icy cracks between large boulders and small cliffs. The view from Sugarloaf is just west of the summit, so we continued over the summit and stopped for lunch at the overlook. It was about 25 and breezy here, so we didn't tarry long.

When we reached the top of the steep section on our descent, we switched to full-boot crampons for added safety on the ice hidden beneath the snow. This section went slowly, but safely, and we found our way back to the notch. On the way down the Pecoy Notch Trail back to the car, we stopped at an old stone quarry where various people, both hikers and locals, had constructed a group of large stone chairs that overlooked the valley below and Kaaterskill High Peak beyond.

Overall, the trip was about 6.6 miles, with about 1900 feet of elevation gain. Even with a 90-minute drive each way, we made it home well in time for dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment