Ascent of Balsam Mountain on 2016-12-03

Climber: Melissa Hoffmann

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, December 3, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Balsam Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3600 ft / 1097 m

Ascent Trip Report

Solo hike beginning at just before 5 a.m. to celebrate my birthday the following day. The plan was to summit Balsam, then head back down and over to Belleayre, where I would meet my husband and son near the lifts (and hopefully get some food).

It was 28 degrees at the trailhead and the first hour by headlamp saw some light snow. The trail was also lightly covered with snow, rock still peeking through. It was a pretty easy trail to follow, even in the dark, and I got to the summit of Balsam without trouble. The viewpoint at the top had promised a lovely sunrise, so I was a bit disappointed to see the vista limited by cloud cover—though I should have expected it with the continuing snowfall.

I had made pretty good time, though, so I decided to stay on the summit and see if the clouds would lift. I was teased a few times as the clouds would briefly roll away and display the gifts of the valley, but the views would be gone again quickly. It also got really cold and the snow picked up. I donned my balaclava and jumped up and down a bit, and wandered around the summit. If I stood still for more than a few seconds, my microspikes would begin to freeze in place. Finally, about an hour later, I left and headed toward Belleayre to find my family.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Windy, Overcast
Snow squalls
Ascent Part of Trip: Birthday Solo Hike

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Balsam Mountain2016-12-03 

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