Ascent of Blackhead on 2012-03-15

Climber: Michelle Gillin

Date:Thursday, March 15, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3940 ft / 1200 m

Ascent Trip Report

Despite being a rather short hike, this one took quite some bravery. After figuring out where to park, I set off to climb the trail up the northeast side of the mountain. The hike appeared easy at first, with pleasant dry ground and a temperature in the mid 60s, until I made it past the leanto and onto the blue blazed trail. I then ascended more steeply and soon reached the sign indicating I had reached 3500 ft. Beyond this is when it got scary: The trail was now covered in snow and ice. I wandered a little farther along the side of the mountain until the trail turned to the left and went sharply upward. I was basically hopping from one exposed rock to the next exposed root, etc., going up literally one of the steepest paths I've ever seen and trying desperately to avoid slipping on the ice. Miraculously I made it up that last 400 feet to the summit and was rewarded with limited views and red bulbs on a small tree. I had a sandwich and started down, with much sliding on my back using my arms and legs to slow down, until I made it below the steep icy part, then it was just an easy, pleasant walk out and I felt very satisfied. Only after making it back to the register did I see people writing that crampons were required, which I didn't have, and I found out that a couple men had died attempting Blackhead in December when it was ice-covered. Good thing I didn't know that while on the hike!! I can't wait to do this one again in the warmer season to gain credit for Catskill 3500.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast

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