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Ascent of Rocky Mountain on 2015-04-11

Climber: Cynthia Chan

Date:Saturday, April 11, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Rocky Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3508 ft / 1069 m

Ascent Trip Report

Team: Marv (lead, organizer), Stephanie, Al, Vivien, and Cynthia (me)

After bagging the paired bushwhacks (Lone & Rocky, Friday & Balsam Cap), I wanted to try something a little more challenging and this hike provided the perfect opportunity. I was psyched leading up to this day – depending on weather and trail conditions, it could be a spectacular or not so spectacular day!
Great weather in the Catskills, as almost always the case on hikes there so far. Trail conditions considered less than wonderful, during the transition month between winter and spring – lesson learned. It was a toughie! But am so inspired that I completed it successfully – 15.5 hours on the trail, 24+ hours of awake time! A relatively short hike (est. 10-11 miles), covering 6-3500’ peaks, 4 of the toughest bushwhacks on the 3500’ list. My 3rd time for the 4 bushwhacks – Friday, Balsam Cap, Rocky, & Lone!
The plan, a thru-hike starting from Moonhaw Road with the 4 bushwhack peaks – Friday, Balsam Cap, Rocky, Lone – bushwhack over to Table then following the Table-Peekamoose blue trail to summit Peekamoose, exiting out of Peekamoose Parking Area. We expected to finish in the dark, good planning to end on the trail rather than bushwhack. We started bareboot, but had our snowshoes on by the time we reached the 1st elevation towards Friday. Snowshoes were on the entire hike until we started descending Peekamoose, where there was barely any snow on the ground. Some patches of ice, but mainly wet, dirt, and in some cases mud.
Chalk it up to great comraderie and teamwork, stamina and determination, though many times during the hike, I was tempted to bailout. Not a strenuous hike, just very long with a lot of checking coordinates and direction. Falling and getting up was a little draining for me - it has been ~2 years since I’ve experienced such bouts of falling & slipping, forwards, backwards, sideways. Many instances of sinking hip-high in soft snow if I mis-stepped slightly off the packed route. My snowshoes caught under massive branches and hidden rock crevices many times from Balsam Cap to Rocky, Lone to Peekamoose Mountain. I slipped on ice descending from Peekamoose.
Our Plan

GPS COORDINATES:
Friday= N41 59.27 W74 21.75 (41.988588,-74.362593)
Balsam Cap= N41 58.62 W74 21.47 (41.998284,-74.360962)
Rocky= N41 58.37 W74 22.38 (41.972764,-74.372978)
Lone= N41 58.15 W74 23.38 (41.970595,-74.389544)

• Moonhaw Road bushwhack directly to Friday Mountain (~2.5 mi)
• "Rim Trail" herd path to Balsam Cap Mountain (~0.8 mi, 400)
• Bushwhack directly to Rocky Mountain (~1.0 mi, 200)
• Bushwhack directly to Lone Mountain (~1.0 mi, 300)
• Find the “Rim Trail” herdpath to Peekamoose Mountain (~0.8 mi, 400)
• Peekamoose-Table trail to Peekamoose PA (~4.3 mi)

Total est. miles: 10.5-11 miles

Our hike summit log; we made pretty decent time:
Start (Moonhaw Road) – 6:45am
Friday Mountain – 11am
Balsam Cap – 12:05pm
Rocky – 2:15pm
Lone – 4pm
Table – 6pm
Peekamoose – 6:50pm
Finish (Peekamoose PA) – 10:30pm

We took a bit of a detour getting to the summit of Friday, in trying to avoid the cabin and overshot a little on the log roads, but did eventually arrive. About 10 minutes after we summited Friday, a few members of the 3500 club, including newly elected president Connie Sciutto, arrived, in microspikes. Looking back, Friday and Balsam Cap could have been hiked quicker in microspikes, but it was quite apparent, snowshoes were needed the hike from Balsam Cap to Lone. Quite a lot of soft snow! We were fortunate and spotted the herdpath leading from Friday to Balsam Cap on the way to Friday, and did not have to descend down to the ‘pregnant tree’ to reach Balsam Cap, which saved some energy and time. There was minor re-breaking of trail from Balsam Cap to Rocky, but nothing to the extent experienced on the Graham – Balsam Lake hike. I was fearful of the trailbreaking that may lay ahead from Lone to Table, but that turned out to be a less than horrible surprise – a lot of slipping and falling on my part, but otherwise a non-trailbreaking hike! Between Marv and Stephanie, we were good! Given it was the 3rd time for the bushwhacks (Dec, Jan, Mar), I did seem to start recognizing the ‘paths’ and scenery. Some great photos of this ‘epic hike’ … great fond memories – the sun rising, the sun setting. Night hikes are always so different than daytime.

The Catskills are always surprising, beautiful, and humbling.

Some preparatory background:

Friday is thought to be one of the most difficult of the trail-less peaks. Its summit is surrounded by dense spruce and balsam and views are hard to find

Balsam Cap is one of the three peaks with "balsam" in its name. This one lives up to it as it is surrounded by a thick spruce-balsam forest

Rocky is the lowest of the Catskill 3500 peaks and not as technically difficult as its neighbors, Balsam Cap and Friday. Its difficulty comes from its inaccessibility - having the longest distance from any road and requires the longest bushwhack

Lone Mountain is a peak that rises up out of the Neversink Valley. There is a view towards Table south of the summit and a view towards Slide west of the summit
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Friday-Balsam Cap-Rocky-Lone-Table-Peekamoose

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Friday Mountain2015-04-11
2Balsam Cap2015-04-11
3Rocky Mountain2015-04-11
4Lone Mountain2015-04-11
5Table Mountain2015-04-11
6Peekamoose Mountain2015-04-11



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