Ascent of Breakneck Ridge on 2017-07-26

Climber: Josh Schmid

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Breakneck Ridge
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:1280 ft / 390 m

Ascent Trip Report

One of the best hikes in the NYC metro area and one of the very few excellent hikes accessible by train (weekend seasonal train station at trailhead, full-time station a couple miles away). Location is very crowded on weekends, was somewhat-busy during the week when I was there. Don't attempt shortly after rainfall and don't bring poles, as they will only get in your way on the scrambles. As with most New York state parks, a digital map showing your location is available for free using the Avenza Maps app.

From the parking lot to the trailhead is roughly 1/4 mile of a walk along Route 9D. There is a path behind the guiderail. Maps are located at the trailhead and the trail begins a steep ascent immediately. The first scramble is encountered quickly, followed by more scrambling, much of which is exposed. Slightly under 700 feet in elevation is a lookout featuring a flagpole. The flagpole lookout provides great views across the Hudson to Storm King Mountain After the flagpole, the path splits, with an "EZ" trail marked by Xs being an easier climb than the main trail, but both contain several large scrambles. The EZ and main trails merge and split a second time before coming together again. Most hikers return to the bottom using a side trail before the summit. The true summit is unmarked, but it is the tallest thing in the immediate vicinity and can be identified using the state park map or its app. The summit itself has an open lookout, with excellent views in all directions and it is a great lunch spot.

Returning down, I continued along the Breakneck Ridge trail, ascending slightly to the Breakneck Bypass trail, which is marked with signs and "9D" painted on the rock walls. This trail descends at a moderate gradient, passing two teepees. A left on the Wilkeson Memorial Trail (turn signed marked by "9D" painted on tree) completes the descent to Route 9D, the trailhead being a short distance north of the parking lot.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1285 ft / 391 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1285 ft / 391 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1250 ft / 381 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Breakneck Ridge Trail
    Start Trailhead:Breakneck Ridge Parking Lot  30 ft / 9 m
    Time:1 Hours 55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1285 ft / 391 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1250 ft / 381 m; Extra: 35 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:35 ft / 10 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:Breakneck Bypass and Wilkeson Memorial
    End Trailhead:Breakneck Ridge Parking Lot  30 ft / 9 m
    Time:0 Hours 45 Minutes

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