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Hiked Halcott on Sat - Jan 2, 2010

New postPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:09 am
by mike
I decided that I would hike Halcott Mtn on Saturday, January 2, 2010. It is normally a short hike. while the vertical is pretty good for such a small hike, it seemed like a good choice. It was cold and windy, which concerned me. When I got to the parking lot on Rt 42, it was 18 degrees and moderately windy.

The snow on the ground had about a 1 to a 1-1/2' of hardpack, and about 2-3 inches of fluffy powered on top. It was sunny. Popped on my snowshoes and full back pack and headed out. Checked out Halcott Falls next to the parking lot. Nice little waterfall. Hiked up to the top. Then hiked upstream about 100' so that I could cross without getting wet. Hiked parallel to the road along the herd trail. Saw quite a few large cairns.

When I got to the main stream I was going to follow up the tree, I then decided to follow the stream on the right side. There is a fairly good trail defined thru the conifer forest. As I climbed the fluffy snow got deeper. At about 2200 feet I ran into some foot prints. Really couldn't determine if they were bear tracks or human tracks. I followed them up to about 3,000'. Took the right branch of the Y in the stream.

Once I got to the source of the streams, the temperature had fallen 20 degrees, and the wind was quite strong. The fluffy snow was now 6-8 inches, and the hardpack was 1-1/2 to 3 feet deep. The snow drifts were sometimes 3 feet deep. It was nasty.

About 3/4 hour into the hike, my batteries died, and my GPS shut off. I was at about 2,500'. I seriously thought that maybe I should abandon the hike. I changed out the batteries for some new ones.

At the top of the source of the streams, I moved south about 500 feet. The headwall was very steep, and the best spot was 500 feet horizontal to where I was. Again, the GPS showed that the batteries were dead. I put the GPS in my jacket pocket to warm it up. I was not sure if the temperature was fooling me. Again, I serious considered abandoning the hike. But, the summit was not that far.

The headwall in the easiest spot was pretty tough with the deep base and deep drifts. My ski pole was going all the way down to the handle. It was deep and very difficult climb. Had to zip-zag up the wall face. Breaking the trail was very nasty. It sapped the energy out of my body. The wind was blowing hard. All of my shirts, and jacket were zipped to the top. I put my hat on, but the wind blew right thru it. It was cold. My hands and feet were getting cold.

When I reached the top, it was below zero, and the wind was gusting above 40 mph. It was cold. Again, I seriously considered abandoning the hike. But, I just climbed the difficult headwall, and the top was so close. But, it was so cold. I was warm, but my hands and feet were getting cold. Logically, it seemed stupid to turn around. I was so close.

I then took off for the summit in the cold and strong winds. traveling wasn't that bad. I ended up at the summit, but I was so cold I didn't really care. I didn't have my heaviest gloves on or my face mask. I was just about ready to put them on. I didn't bother to photograph the canister, or even go to it. At that point, I reached my destination, and I was ready to head back as quickly as possible. I was tired and cold.

I moved quickly, and actually warmed up a little. Within a 1/2 hour, most of my tracks were already covered up by the wind. I could still follow the path without a problem. If I waited too long, I would not have been able to reverse course exactly. Not that it would have been a problem. It just increases the risk slightly. When I came down the headwall, my legs started to give out. My hands and feet were warming up. My core was still chilled slightly. I fell four times, but nothing terrible. Just tired from the deep snow and breaking the trail. I really didn't keep track of where I was, I just kept moving.

Suddenly, I realized that I was close to my car, and was relieved. When I got back to my car, it was about 20 degrees warmer, and the wind was not that bad. The temperature gauge in the car said it was 17 degrees.

Turned on the heat in the car to 77 degrees and turned the seat heater to the highest setting. I kept it this way all the way home. I didn't realize how chilled I was. When I got home, I changed my cloths, and slowly warmed up. It felt good.

The hike was still good, but too cold. My real concern was if something happen, I would be in a difficult spot. When I got home, I checked the GPS. It got all the tracks. Just the temperature was affecting the batteries. The NiMh batteries can only go down the 32 degrees, and we were well below zero.

Re: Hiked Halcott on Sat - Jan 2, 2010

New postPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:20 am
by alexis
I've been sick, so hiking was out of the question. Wow...I am glad I missed out on this hike. It sounds like it was brutal! I would be interested in a hike to Sleeping Lion, and maybe a hike over to Halcott in the Spring.

Re: Hiked Halcott on Sat - Jan 2, 2010

New postPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:59 pm
by mtnclimber
Wow! What a tough hike in those conditions. If I remember, it is a fairly short hike to the top. I have always wanted to do Halcott and Sleeping Lion as one hike.

Re: Hiked Halcott on Sat - Jan 2, 2010

New postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:13 pm
by mike
I would like to do Halcott & Sleeping Lion before the prickers get too big. Maybe in the Spring.

Re: Hiked Halcott on Sat - Jan 2, 2010

New postPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:51 am
by daveoleary
Hi -
Thanks for this hike report. Sounds like quite a trip! I am planning to be up there next week, and would like to hike Halcott/Sleeping Lion and Rusk. One hike on Thursday, the other on Friday. Let me know if you are interested. Unless the rains expected in the next few days turn into snow, the hikes should not be nearly as strenuous or cold!!