Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

Acra Point, Black Dome, Blackhead Mtn, Burnt Knob, Dutchers Notch, Elm Ridge, Thomas Cole, Windham High Peak

Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby Nasrettin Hoca » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:30 am

In its original inception, the plan was to do all three, Blackhead, Black Dome and Thomas Cole. But a lingering cold, some lingering effects of the Thanksgiving 5k and the weather, it ended up being just Blackhead.

I was particularly interested in the Eastside, coming up from the lean to. I wasn’t sure what I would find there, there’s been some weather events since I was in the area 2 weeks ago. I took snowshoes, crampons, spikes, and ice axe. Plus the usual trekking poles. As it played out, I sure was happy I had the axe. The snow wasn’t really deep enough to require the snowshoes, but I’d wanted to try them with the new boots and got that done as well.

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The fog cleared on my way out briefly, and I grabbed this

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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby mike » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:34 pm

The ice flows were quite significant. Crampons for sure. But, it is pretty steep climb for that last couple hundred feet.
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby kennykb » Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:25 pm

Thanks for the report! I'm looking at doing Blackhead once the calendar says it's winter. (Hey, anyone want to come with me?) It's nice to have some recent information about what to expect up there. And ... ugh, I'm SO out of practice with crampons.
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby Nasrettin Hoca » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:01 pm

I did have the crampons on my back, but the ice axe and my kahtoolas were good. There was one place, I considered changing out but I managed with just the spikes.

I'm really liking these spikes, the first time I used them, was on Ben Nevis in Scotland this past March. They were adequate and didn't eat a lot of luggage space/weight the rest of the trip.

On ADK, I'm hearing foot at Spruceton and 8 - 10 elsewhere.
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby kennykb » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:49 pm

With what we got down here in the Mohawk Valley over the last 48 hours (rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow totalling 2.5 inches of precipitated water) I'd expect that the top of the range got a couple of feet, and I'd expect another half a foot tonight (it's still snowing down here). So there might be a 2.5 foot snowpack on top of all that ice by tomorrow morning.

I live in microspikes in the winter. I walk to work over a bike path that gets no salt, and wear them on just about any snowy day. I'm pretty confident on spikes even going a little bit into French crampon technique (pied en canard, pied a plat). It's front pointing - and walking in 12-point crampons without ripping my pants - that I'll probably have to learn all over again. If you were good on spikes with ice axe, I probably will be, too. Were you needing to use the pick much, or was it all piolet en canne and piolet ramasse?

In any case, I'll plan to come up from Lockwood Gap, and most likely not try that steep 1100-foot knife edge on the Escarpment Trail. Racing a thunderstorm down it a year and a half ago was entirely enough excitement, thank you!

Oh, yeah. I have aggressive snowshoes (MSR Lightning Ascent), if it turns out that it is indeed you-know-what deep in snow.

And I'll watch the conditions. Hopefully the snow will be consolidated by then. I won't be up on wind crust on top of loose snow on top of ice - that's a recipe for a shear layer.
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby mtnclimber » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:28 pm

Microspikes are pricy, but they seem to last forever. I think Mike said he has 1000 miles on his. I carry mine all winter long. Wear them where needed. But, I usually use my snowshoes.

they got a lot of snow in the catskills, but it settled down a lot. Big water content. Once it harden up, it will be a bullet proof base.

I think that climbing blackhead from the west side is best.
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby Jon » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:44 pm

yah kevin I'll go with you. i was suggesting maybe a campout at Batavia Kill lean-to.

Which brings me to another question that people may not have the answer to....
So for something to count as a "winter summit" for some threshold club's winter terms you need to start and finish the hike entirely in Winter. This means you have to start at the trailhead during winter, reach summit, and return to trailhead all within winter.

For the 3500 club, I don't know if these rules apply (I just did a day hike for my winter summits). If you stay at the batavia kill lean-to 20th-21st (sat-sun) and then hike to summit on the 21st and return to trail does this count? Or do you need to wake up at Batavia Kill lean-to, hike back out to the trailhead, then hike back up to the summit and out so that you do the entirety in winter? Because if that is the case it would not be worth it to stay at the lean-to, since you'd have to do the whole hike again in the morning anyways.

p.s. crampons > microspikes =P
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby Nasrettin Hoca » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:29 pm

kennykb wrote:Were you needing to use the pick much, or was it all piolet en canne and piolet ramasse?

.


I used both the pick and my ole skool adze end, on that tough section near the top on the Eastside. When the time comes to piolet en canne, I'm usually happier with my trekking poles. But I did Piolet on the top because it took me a while to change back to the poles.

I've got "stuff" Saturday. So I'm going Sunday. Maybe Sterling Forest if there is snow there. I need to exercise my free heel skis.

While I don't mind peak bagging, I'm not doing the 3500s, or county or state highpoints, though I have friends that do.

That bulletproof ice and I start liking my double plastics and step in crampons. But it's slow. Have to be careful or the walkout will be in the dark. This time of year, I always have a headlamp and enough warm clothes, food and water if I get caught on "the unexpected night out".
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Re: Blackhead In the rain 06 Dec 2014

New postby kennykb » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:53 pm

Nasrettin Hoca wrote:That bulletproof ice and I start liking my double plastics and step in crampons. But it's slow. Have to be careful or the walkout will be in the dark. This time of year, I always have a headlamp and enough warm clothes, food and water if I get caught on "the unexpected night out".


I don't do waterfall climbing, so I've never sprung for plastic boots. Sorel pac boots and strap-on crampons are what I have. And I have been a day late getting back from a trip, so I know to be prepared for that.
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