Ascent of Cornell Mountain on 2012-02-12

Climber: Brian Lubbert

Date:Sunday, February 12, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cornell Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3860 ft / 1176 m

Ascent Trip Report

The journey started out as it always seems to before a Catskill hike: in the parking lot of a mall somewhere down in the valley waiting for the last of our troop to show up. This time I made the drive up with the kindest among the four of us, but the worst driver. We left the parking lot after my daily constitutional and found a place along the roadside that serves the best bread in the Catskills. Fresh made just for you in the morning. Their is nothing like a slide of warm bread fresh out of the oven and when made with loving care and consumed at day break when you know you are putting your life on the line for the fun of it--it seems to taste better. The place that cells this Bred of life is on Route 28 and is called bread alone. I stocked the truck with four loves for the women i love back home. If I don't return at leas she'll have bread, or so I thought. We were doing a through hike today. Some 9 miles as our guide informed us. We always trust our guide as he has never led us astray. Upon returning home and completing the math we always start at the higher elevations on these through hikes. It's not debated, it's just where it turns out we started. So today we wind our way up Woodland Valley Road tp park one of the cars. The road was snow covered and we proceeded gracefully to the parking lot to where we hopped to return.

we now make the fifty minute drive around the impact crater of Panther Mountain to park our last car on the far side of the Burroughs Range. The nine mile hike now feels short. I have read the trials of climbing slide to which Burroughs refers in several of his books but the climb up the west side, or back, of Slide is fairly straightforward and easy. I have the correct gear today. A fresh pair of Crampons. the rest of the group is wearing microspikes. The walk up the first leg of Slide seemed easy in the Crampons and it was enjoyable putting your feet in the fresh virgin snow. But now we see a troupe of twenty girls stumbling down the hill with two rangers. It turns out they had spent the night on the hill and were returning their gear to the car and to find some traction devices. the snow caught them off guard and they were not prepared for the sliding descent. Let this be a lessen to the reader.

We ascended Slide in cloud-cover and lacked the visibility we cherished but the day soon improved and the skies parted as we descended the ice covered stairs on the east side of Slide. We had one last section down that was technically challenging with the ice but we used team work and made a safe descent to the wonderfully snow covered trails. Once we descended into the col between Slide and Cornell we prepared and then successively ascended Cornell with little difficulty. The western side of Cornell is really where you feel the urge to say this is why we came here. You reach a point of the journey that you see a perspective of the mountain, or perhaps life that you would not have seen from any other angle without the work that you just put into it. It is a rewarding experience and one that is part of the charm of climbing the Catskill mountains.

We removed ourselves from the summit of Cornell quickly as we knew we had to descend through the NAMED difficult spot: Cornell Crack. If they named it it must be hellacious we thought and it was a treacherous drop in ice. One from our group made a rope ladder and we descended what felt like a piece of twine with safety and security in our numbers. Although another group ascending the mountain was a bit more prepared with ice ax and a full set of crampons the ice was so severe they gladly used our ice ax. It was a place to play and frolic in assignment as the adrenaline continued to flow through the body. enjoy your time up here...the moments are fleeting.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:610 ft / 186 m
    Elevation Loss:410 ft / 125 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 3 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:610 ft / 186 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Route:Wittenberg Slide Cornell Trail eastbound
    Trailhead:Col between Cornell and Wittenberg  3250 ft / 990 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:410 ft / 125 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Route:Wittenberg Slide Cornell Trail eastbound
    Trailhead:col between Cornell and Wittenberg  3450 ft / 1051 m
    Time Down:0 Hours 30 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: S-C-W

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Slide Mountain2012-02-12 a
2Cornell Mountain2012-02-12 b
3Wittenberg Mountain2012-02-12 c

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