Ascent of First Watchung Mountain-Claridge House in 1982

Climber: Jan Peter Eklund

Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:First Watchung Mountain-Claridge House
    Location:USA-New Jersey
    Elevation:660 ft / 201 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was raised in Verona, NJ. The "First" Watchung Mtn is one of the first ridges in the Watchung Mtns as you go east from NYC & the NJ border. This being prime real estate with a view of the NYC skyline, at some point a compound of large, medieval styled buildings was built, probably in the late 1800's, which was called "Kips Castle". Many buildings had fallen into disrepair at that time (early 1980's). When I was in middle and high school, we used to go up to the mountain and explore the buildings. A "cult" had moved into the compound at one point, they wore orange robes. Also on the same ridge were two apartment/condo towers: the Clairidge Houses, my friend Erik lived in one. Kips Castle has since been restored and is now a park. NJ is pretty flat in alot of areas, but the north and NW region contains some nice terrain. The south of the state contains the famous Pine Barrens, immortalized by John McPhee in the book of the same name and also an episode of the Sopranos.
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