Ascent of Peekamoose Mountain on 2015-12-25

Climber: Cynthia Chan

Others in Party:MOBster - Rumana Chowdhury
John Rose
Vivien Eng
Date:Friday, December 25, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Peekamoose Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3843 ft / 1171 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wow. The long weekend had finally arrived – my Catskill W35’er final set of peaks! I had eagerly anticipated this weekend since the end of the winter season earlier this year – March 21st. I finished March 21st with only 7 peaks remaining – Peekamoose (3843), Table (3847), Wittenberg (3780), Cornell (3860), Twin (3640), Sugarloaf (3800), Plateau (3840)– all trailed summits, achievable in 3 hikes. It had been a long week at work, and with Christmas celebrations the evening before, I was a little exhausted, but still eagerly anticipating bagging my last set of finisher peaks. I had been an inconsistent climber this year, with all the changes going in life and was glad to be back in the mountains. But, winter hiking in 60-70F weather just seemed unusual to me. I convinced the organizer of the MOB meetup group to set up the epic hiking weekend – December 25, 26, 27th, a Christmas gift to myself.

Christmas Day started early, waking up at 2:30a to catch my 6a pickup in Astoria. I had made my reservations at the Colonial Inn in November, when the hike was 1st scheduled – the place gets booked up by skiers in this season. Interesting to find out, when I checked in, that 8 families had cancelled due to the warm weather and lack of snow on the ski slopes!

We arrived at the Peekamoose trail head at ~9am and started hiking in the warm, humid, damp trail. It felt like a fall hike rather than winter hike. The trail was covered with wet, damp leaves. Day 1’s MOBster group was small – Rumana, John, Dave, Gene, Viv and me – granted it was Christmas Day. I’m never away from the family on Christmas, but I did want to wrap up my W35er. My family was generous and kind enough to give me blessings and let me be on my way this weekend. Peekamoose and Table are gradual hikes though high ascents, not strenuous quick climbs like the Devil’s Path, which I’d have to tackle on Day 3, the last day of my sojourn. We made very good time - 8.6 miles. Cool, wet, damp. Slippery leaves. Foggy morning. Sun came out in the afternoon. Though we technically summited 2 peaks this hike, in reality, we re-summited Peekamoose in order to exit the in-and-out hike, thus climbing 3 summits. Enclosed area usually very humid and sheltered from the wind, but windy and chilly as we were descending.

Start 9:30a
Peekamoose 11:30a
Table 12p
30 min break
Finish 2:50p

Saturday, Dec 26th 2015 was Day 2 of my trek. My internal alarm woke me at 4:30a. I was ready by 5:30a for the 6a pickup to meetup at Slide Mountain PA, where we’d leave a few cars and shuttle over to Woodland Valley PA to start the hike. Luckily, we were able to arrange for a traverse 9.7mi hike rather than having to complete the 15-mile loop (of which the last 5 mi is very tedious!) for the John Burroughs Range. I needed to bag Wittenberg and Cornell; Slide was an extra bonus primarily since it was a traverse hike and there was no avoiding either re-summiting Wittenberg, which did not sound like fun, or continuing to summit Slide to finish.
Our Day 2 MOBster group consisted of Rumana, John, Viv, Fred (hiking buddy), Wanda & Frank Quiles, Sean, and Henry & wife, and of course, me.

Start 8:30a
Wittenberg 10:30a
15-minute break
Cornell 11:30a
Slide 1:20p
Finish 3p
Colonial Inn 3:45p

It was a nice, breezy 9.7-mile hike. Today’s hike seemed less strenuous than Day 1’s hike, possibly due to the more scenic views or cooler, less humid conditions. Cooler than Dec 25th. Damp leaves. A little sleet on the way to Slide. Chilly in the col between Cornell and Slide as well as descending Slide. Windy on Wittenberg and Slide summits, but otherwise nice!

It was nice to get back to the inn early enough to shower before dinner. We agreed to meet downstairs for the Saturday night buffet. After my shower, I heard speaking outside the room – my ears burned as I heard my name being mentioned – I looked outside, Brent and Prissy! Rooming next door! They had hiked Big Indian, Eagle and Balsam or Fir that day and were there overnight for another hike tomorrow TBD. I invited them to our table for the buffet dinner and invited them on our Devil’s Path East hike the next day – the weather was supposed to be wet, so they were a little hesitant.

Sunday, Dec 27th – Day 3 started early! I tried to talk the innkeeper into waking up early as he did yesterday (only a little earlier due to the earlier pick up time) and make breakfast, but no go. He’d leave us some breakfast and coffee on the stand. I ran into Prissy in the hallway at 5am – they were coming on our hike! Our pickup was at 5:30a to be at the Mink Hollow Road trailhead by 6:30a where we would leave a few cars and car shuttle over to the start of the hike at Prediger Road, Elka Park. Even in the early morning, it was wet, foggy, and slightly drizzling. But everyone made it! All were waiting at the meet point ready to rock and roll! My last required set of W35er peaks – how exciting! We had an incredible MOBster turnout – Rumana, John, Viv, Prissy, Brent, Ponzy (hiking buddy), Leo & girlfriend, Krystal (fellow Hong Kong born), Sanjay, David Larson & Renuka (there to bag Indian Head and Twin)! It was wonderful to see friends I’d hiked with in HVH – Fred, Ponzy, Brent, Prissy, Viv! – for my finishers!

We were covering Devil’s Path East – Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, Plateau. I did not need Indian Head, so decided early on that if I felt the need, I would skip the 1.8mi roundtrip up and down Indian Head, and conserve my energy for Twin, Sugarloaf and Plateau – and that’s what I wound up doing. By the time I was descending Sugarloaf and ascending Plateau, I was very glad I decided to skip Indian Head. I had continued on the Twin as others climbed Indian Head, putting me a little ahead of the others. I took my time on the Twin viewpoints and fake summits – it was incredibly windy up there! Brent and Prissy were the 1st ones to get to Twin, so I continued my hiking with them, given it was getting chilly waiting. they, of course, outpaced me to Sugarloaf and Plateau, but we all met up at the initial descent point and ate a snack, shared energy gels, then headed down back towards the col between Sugarloaf and Plateau to follow Yellow Trail (spring) out to the unmaintained path to Mink Hollow PA

Start 7:30a
Skipped Indian Head
Twin viewpoint 8:48a
Twin fake summit 8:55a
Twin 9:54a
Sugarloaf 11:38a
Plateau 2p
Finish 3:30p
Home 11p

Rainy and overcast day. Slippery rocks and boulders. Damp, cool. Descent from Sugarloaf was torturous on the knees. Climb up Plateau seemed never-ending and mentally challenging because I knew that every step up would be a step down, since we were descending the same route back. Finally reached the top after many fake-outs (I call a fake-out climbing a certain amount of steep elevation then hitting a plateau only to find out that there was another climb just ahead). We were fortunate to meet Rumana on our way down (her way up) and get her car keys. Right after we descended and got into the car, it started to downpour!
It was an incredible feeling to summit Plateau and realize that I had finished all my ‘hit-list’ climbs for the W35er patch! I would have jumped for joy if I had not been so tired and my back achy by that time. I was fortunate enough to have people around me at each of the summits to get a photograph of myself – for memory and documentation purposes.

It’s now been a few days since finishing my winter peak hit-list, it’s finally sinking in! I’m done! It was fate in that I summited my last W35er summit – Plateau – on December 27th 2015 and summited my last 35er summit – Slide – on December 27th 2014, precisely 1 year ago! I kinda feel it was meant to be! Now, for semi-retirement, at least for a little bit to pursue other adventures?

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Part of Trip: Peekamoose-Table Winter (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Peekamoose Mountain2015-12-25 
2Table Mountain2015-12-25 

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