Ascent of Mount Sherrill on 2020-11-09

Climber: David Rockwell

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, November 9, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Sherrill
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3540 ft / 1078 m

Ascent Trip Report

Headed out of Susquehanna at 4:40 AM about 1/2 hour later than planned. Got to Westkill Community Cemetery and started hiking at 6:40. Just after heading up the mountain out of the cemetery, I tripped over an old barbed wire fence for fall #1. It was not a steep ascent and I planned on making it to the top before stopping to eat a sandwich but could not wait to eat. I stopped for my first sandwich and pulled off a couple tics. I eventually found an old quarry road to follow most of the way up the mountain. Walking the old road was definitely easier than bushwhacking. I reached the summit of my first peak and pulled off more ticks. Also for the first time hiking in the Catskills I saw a bunch of deer sign. From here, I turned East to hike to the summit of a peak called Balsam. This peak, not a 3500 footer, was the 4th peak with Balsam in the name. I got to the summit and got a pic and started my bush whack to Sherrill Mtn, my first 3500 ft peak of the trip. When I got to the summit of what I believed was Sherrill there was no summit canister. I did find a large boulder with a rock cairn at the peak. I took some pics assuming this was Sherrill. A bit of a hike off the mountain and starting up the next, I began to realize the last summit was most likely actually Balsam, not Sherrill. After getting to the top and following several herd paths, I finally reached the summit of Sherrill, I signed in at the canister and got a few selfies #27/30. I then headed to North Dome. It was a steep descent along a couple of herd paths. I managed to follow herd paths most of the way to North Dome. Along the way I stopped for my 2nd sandwich at a neat rock overhang. There was plenty of water running so I filled my bottles and continued my ascent. I got to the summit, signed in at the canister and got a few pick #28/39. I also pulled off tick #10. I don't mind bush whacking to the untrailed peaks. however I prefer the trails if for no other reason less chance of getting ticks. I checked the map and started to head North to take a more gradual descent off North Dome, but a major herd path turned East so I started following it. It eventually petered out, but I just kept going down, It was cliff band after cliff band. I managed to find a route through the cliffs and hit the col between ND and WestKill about 200 yards below the swamp. I ate a few snacks and again refilled my water bottles. Now on to Westkill Mtn. I met up wit a group of 4 hikers coming off Westkill, had a quick chat and headed up. At St Anne's Peak, one of the highest hundred, I was totally exhausted. I did push on to Westkill summit. Got selfies and a few pics of #29/30. Just past the summit I got pics at buck ridge lookout, it was beautiful although starting to get dark. I headed East off the mountain to find a camping spot before dark. I didn't. I was wearing my headlamp and got below 3500ft after dark I found somewhat of a shelf and headed off trail to find a camping spot. The first spot was right on a ledge overlooking Diamond Notch where I would get a beauty of a sunrise, but it was way to rocky for a tent spot. I looked around in the dark and finally found a spot just big enough for my tent. I started a small fire and put some water on to boil for my Mountain House Adventure biscuits and gravy meal. I must say this stuff is delicious. I pitched my tent by firelight. I ate my awesome meal and crawled into my sleeping bag at 7:30. I had just enough room in the tent to lay between a large rock under the tent and the edge of the tent. I was so tired I was sleeping by 7:35. I woke up at 11:30 to pee. I slept off and on until 7 in the morning. I got up packed up my camping site and headed down from Westkill. I wasn't hungry so figured I'd have breakfast after a few hours hiking. As I started toward the trail, I realized I had accidentally camped too close to the trail. In the Catskills you need to camp below 3500 ft, and be at least 150 ft from a road, water source and marked trail. I had moved well over 150 ft from the trail in the dark the night before, however, wandering around looking for a camping spot I had moved closer to the trail and the trail had wound toward where I had set up camp. I am quite sure the main reason for not camping within 150 ft of a trail is so that one camping spot does not get used regularly. So at least when I looked back to my camp from the trail, it was not noticeable as a campsite. I followed the Devil's Path down to Diamond Notch Falls, and took a video, While videoing the falls, I stepped on a slippery rock and went down, fall #2. Luckily I didn't drop my phone in the stream or smash it on the rocks as I went down. I did go over knee deep with one foot in the crack. I started up from Diamond Notch to Devil's acre lean to where I planned on eating my breakfast. I must say at this point I was extremely exhausted and actually just wanted to rush to the summit of South West Hunter and get this peak bagged. I stopped at a nice lookout and before reaching the Devil's Acre site, I found the herd path to South West Hunter. This herd path is an unmarked trail. I think the DEC should make this an official trail. It supposedly follows an old cog railroad bed, it was my favorite trail so far of all my Catskill hikes. I eventually stopped and ate some breakfast and continued on to the summit. Somewhere along the way after leaving the old railroad trail, I lost the herd path. I was near the summit and wandered around 15 minutes looking for the canister. I was about to give up and thought of checking my GPS. This is the first time my GreenTracks GPS app actually helped me at all. I could see where I was vs the summit. I also checked another site that said the herd path led directly to the summit canister. SO I followed my gps toward the summit, eventually found a main herd path and sure enough found the canister. I took some pics of #30/39 and headed back. I had originally planned on hiking Halcott in the afternoon, but at this point realized that would have to be another day. I was just too tired. I hiked down the mountain and at Diamond Notch falls came across a few more hikers. ON the way out, I passed an older couple, warned them I was coming up behind them and did not want to scare them. The woman thanked me and said they were just discussing horror films and I would have scared them. I reached the road at the first parking area and started my 8 mile road hike back to my car. When I reached the 3rd parking area, there was a truck running and I hoped I may get a ride. The truck pulled out and I stuck up my thumb. It was a woman, alone in the truck, she stuck up her thumb at me, and I thought, yeah no more road walk. SHe rolled down the window and said sorry, she had no room. I guess I was in for a long walk. Soon there was another car coming up behind me. I help up my thumb again, it was the couple I had passed on the trail, the woman driving pulled over and offered me a ride. I had a nice conversation with Debbie and Tim. They gave me a ride all the way back to my car. I got to the car around 2. And too tired to hike Halcott, that will be another day. Amber was surprised when I was home by 4. Another wonderful hike. Can't wait to get back out there again and get 31-39 of 39.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Summer in November
Ascent Part of Trip: Westkill Cemetery to SWHunter (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Balsam Mountain2020-11-09 
2Mount Sherrill2020-11-09 
3North Dome2020-11-09 
4Saint Annes Peak2020-11-09 
5West Kill Mountain2020-11-09 
6West Kill Mountain-East Peak2020-11-09 
7Hunter Mountain-Southwest Peak2020-11-10 

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