Blackhead 2014-12-21

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

Blackhead 2014-12-21

New postby kennykb » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:24 pm

First day of winter is a good time to get a winter peak out of the way, so Jon took Chris and me (it was Chris's first winter peak, and my fourth, hurrah!) to Blackhead.

Weather: No rain or snow, but the mountain was socked in by cloud the whole day. We could tell that at the summit we were near the top of the cloud layer, from the way it was getting brighter, but we never got a view.

Trail conditions: Snow depth at altitude was about the length of my ice axe, when I probed it. It felt as if the spike was hitting ice rather than rock underneath. The trail was badly postholed about up to the spring, after which a lot more people appear to have finally put on their snowshoes. I got a little bit sketched out on the switchbacks above the spring, because some of the narrow ledges were pretty icy, but that's mosly a matter that I need to learn to trust my gear more. Jon needed crampons for the walk up the ridge from Lockwood Gap to where the summit flattens out. I found that my MSR Ascent snowshoes gripped just fine and left them on. All three of us broke out the ice axes to glissade back down.

Trip report at my blog. In the trip report, Jon took all the pictures that don't have Jon in them.

I think Chris was happy to make it to the summit.

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(Photo by Jon.)

I was not keeping up. Those two guys would have been good to go for Black Dome and Thomas Cole (and had a car spotted at Barnum Road to do it), but turned back on my account after doing Blackhead. It was a good thing, too. I was seriously struggling by the time we got back to Big Hollow. Thanks again! You guys rock!
I'm not lost. I know exactly where I am. I'm right here.
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Re: Blackhead 2014-12-21

New postby Jon » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:11 pm

nice post & blog. I stole your pic of me on the switchbacks! It's my new profile pic =)
Good hike. Sherill is ez on snowshoes btw.

kennykb making his way up the rocks
Image

Summit of Blackhead 12/21/14
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Re: Blackhead 2014-12-21

New postby Nasrettin Hoca » Thu Dec 25, 2014 12:15 pm

Nice!
I found it hard to see off the summit as well. Though I attributed it to all the scrub that gives the mountain i's name. Good to see the snow is hanging in at altitude despite the temps lower.
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Re: Blackhead 2014-12-21

New postby kennykb » Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:52 pm

They used to cut away some of the fir to create views from the summit and the Camp Steel rock, but they haven't done that in years, and it's all grown in now. I seem to recall that they stopped cutting it when they reclassified Windham High Peak and the Blackheads from Wild Forest to Wilderness.

There is still a good view of Black Dome and Thomas Cole from the rock at the top of the open ridge on the west side, but not last Sunday! There are also a couple of spots on the north face where you can see out, but we didn't go there. I didn't want to glissade something that I hadn't just climbed, particularly since another party had warned of a fresh blowdown near the spot where the log rungs are. My ice axe technique is ... uncertain, and I didn't want to glissade an exposed turn or have to arrest ahead of a blowdown until I've got more confidence.
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Re: Blackhead 2014-12-21

New postby mike » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:35 am

Back a couple decades when the Colgate family owned it, they used to clear cut the top. the views back then were fabulous. I personally like to see views when I get to the top (or near the top). But, other people have a different opinion.

There is a DEC crew that is suppose to cut out the views. The NYNJTC isn't suppose to cut open the views. But, they are a lazy couple of guys. A lot of complaints that they aren't doing their job.
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