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Ascent of Red Hill on 2019-02-13

Climber: Marvin Warren

Date:Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Red Hill
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:2980 ft / 908 m

Ascent Trip Report

Winter storm last night, about 3" of snow and a crust of ice on top. I was worried about the crust, but in some places it was the only thing giving me traction where there was fluffy powder over compressed ice from the trail before the storm. This, and the fact that I had to park half a mile from the trailhead, led to my route decision.

Parked at Rudolf Rd, which had a plowed patch; the official end of seasonal maintenance was past there at the bottom of the hill, but it was slick and I didn't fancy attempting to drive up that later. Only added a handful of steps anyway. Beyond that, it was half a mile of breaking trail on Old Dinch Rd. before the trailhead came into sight, and a fairly pleasant walk up to the fire tower; about an hour and a quarter for two miles. After a sunny morning, a snow squall blew in, so my views were limited at best, and I wasn't excited about sliding down the hidden ice on the trail and then walking back up Dinch, so I headed west by northwest off the summit, aiming for Schultz Rd (yes, I had to cross some private property to do so; kids don't try this at home). About a quarter mile down I hit a sheer cliff off to the west, and angling to the north, found a steep but navigable route down, then followed a deer trail to the nearest yard, which I skirted to land on Schultz.

After a quick jog down to the bottom of the hill, I took a right on Red Hill Rd, and a quick left on Barnes, which I followed to its end. This left me scratching my head, as the map showed its looping around back to Red Hill, and my plan was to follow that back to the car, but meanwhile I had a mountain to climb. Glade Hill Rd was there, and I followed it a short way before plowing once again ended; about a tenth of a mile farther the ridge started to rise on the right, so I jumped off the road and began to follow the high ground/Catskill Divide up towards the summit of Denman (my plan was to use a snowmobile trail as my signal to leave the road, but I saw nothing nearly clear enough to be a snowmobile trail, and I had no trouble navigating anyway). The roadwalk (1 mi total so far) was lovely in the snow, I couldn't have chosen a better day to attempt this route.

The route was mainly clear all the way up, with a few stands of young beech trees blocking the way; nothing too daunting. In fact, this may have been one of the more straightforward Catskill hikes I've done, trails or no. Just shy of the summit there's a nice wide, flat area, with some minimal views in the winter, especially where the ridge drops off to the east. The summit area has two or three apparent candidates for a high spot; I just wandered around until I was satisfied. It's broad and open, a great spot for a picnic--or a snack of nuts and chocolate if it's snowing--if you don't mind the lack of views. Left Red Hill 12:45, summited Denman 3:00.

Downhill was an easy jog, and when I got back down to Barnes I was happy to see that the mapped road was, in fact, there, just as a remnant forest road. Once again I cut across a yard and plunged into the woods for another half a mile of unbroken crust (by now my hips were starting to feel the burn!). A last 200' uphill push and I was back on Red Hill Rd, with about a mile and half to go to Dinch, and then a half mile up the hill to my car. On the way I got my only clear view of the day, sunset over the shoulder of Denman from the top of a hayfield. All told, five and a half hours, 7.5-8 miles of winter wonderland.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Snowing, Windy
Ascent Part of Trip: Red Hill Denman (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Red Hill2019-02-13 
2Denman Mountain2019-02-13 



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