Ascent of Black Dome on 2015-10-24

Climber: Melissa Hoffmann

Others in Party:Paul Homkow
Date:Saturday, October 24, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Dome
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3980 ft / 1213 m

Ascent Trip Report

We were planning to use the Black Dome trail to meet up with the escarpment trail that would lead us over several easy-moderate peaks to Windham High Peak, but we missed the junction and only realized it at Lockwood Gap, about a half-mile from the peak of Black Dome. We'd already crossed some anxiety-inducing switchbacks and had gone a couple miles already, so we let the mountains guide us into this unplanned adventure.

Black Dome was the most difficult climb I had experienced to that date. Vertical climbs over exposed rock scrambles were dizzying and strong winds pulled at us as we dragged ourselves up the boulders to the first viewing platform. My fear of heights battled with my awe at the beauty of the peak autumnal Hudson Valley spread out below us. It smelled strongly of spruce at the summit, even with the gusty wind, as the top of Black Dome is essentially all spruce.

We walked through the dense spruce forest to the true summit and met a couple of other hikers there—the only other people we had seen all day. Their names were Angelica and Ryan, and they were heading the other direction, to finish the Blackhead Range on Blackhead Mountain. We decided to head toward Thomas Cole in order to bag a second peak on the trip, and ended up hiking through, summiting Camel's Hump (over 3,500 feet but disputed) and Caudal. The descent down the western side of Caudal was a little tricky and we were exhausted by the duration of the high and difficult terrain. We came out at a trailhead about 6 miles from our car.

We began walking the highway. Suddenly—brake lights! The two hikers we met on the top of Black Dome just happened to be leaving and saw us walking, and gave us a ride back to our car. All in all, a very inspiring trip that saw us complete several more this season.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Viewpoint on top of Black Dome, just before the summit (2015-10-24). Photo by Melissa Hoffmann.
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Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1800 ft / 549 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Windy
Temperature at the trailhead was 25 degrees
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1800 ft / 549 m
    Route:Big Hollow Road trailhead
    Trailhead:2180 ft / 664 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Accidental Blackheads Range Adventure

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Black Dome2015-10-24
2Thomas Cole Mountain2015-10-24
3Camels Hump2015-10-24

Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
View from Black Dome viewpoint after a tough rock scramble. Near summit (2015-10-24). Photo by Melissa Hoffmann.
Click here for larger-size photo.

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