New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

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New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby rkugel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:04 am

I was hiking on Kaaterskill High Peak on Friday 07/24/15 and noticed a new herd path near the summit. From the actual summit (not Hurricane Ledge), there is an unmarked trail that heads down a series of ledges past the site of a plane wreck and ending at a small ledge facing east towards the Hudson River. Mike and I have walked this trail many times.

Approximately 15 feet before the ledge, I noticed a new herd path going to the left (north). I followed it for about 50 feet or so and came to an overgrown ledge with a spectacular view looking north towards Kaaterskill Clove. Nearly the entire clove was in view from Pallenview Overlook all the way to the Molly Smith Parking Area. I also caught a glimpse of Sphynx Rock just above Molly Smith. From the ledge, the trail descended very steeply to the east and down KHP. I did not explore any further.

Has anyone else seen (or heard about) this new trail? It has to be fairly recent since Mike and I hiked to KHP about 2 years ago (2013?) and the trail was not there. I'm very curious as to who cut the trail and where it goes (assuming it goes anywhere and doesn't dead-end at the bottom).

I descended KHP on the South Access Trail and then took the Snowmobile Trail to the site of the second plane wreck before bushwhacking back to the Long Path. Along the way, I carefully examined the SMT looking for signs of the "new" trail intersecting the SMT but didn't see any.

By the way, the bushwhack from the SMT to the Long Path really isn't a bushwhack anymore. The herd path which used to go from the Long Path to the Mohawk Indian Camp now clearly runs all the way to the SMT. As you get nearer the SMT, the path becomes more vague and less "self guiding", but it is still quite easy to follow most of the way.
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby mike » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:31 pm

I haven't seen this new path. But, I have been out of commission for a while. My feet are getting better, so I am starting to get out more.
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby SNEAKers » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:26 am

I still can't figure out how to get to the actual hurricane ledge! The pics in the hiking section never look like the spot I make it to near the summit!
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby rkugel » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:36 am

Mike, Kevin mentioned wanting to meet up again for a hike sometime. If you're up to an outing, it would be great if you and Alexis could join us. As I mentioned to Kevin, I am definitely slowing down in terms of both distance and speed of walking. I am always concerned about being a burden to the group I'm with. Regardless, I would love to explore that new path sometime and see where it goes.

Sneakers, Hurricane Ledge is fairly large so that might explain why it looks different from your perspective versus what's in the photos. One note I forgot to pass along is the path to Hurricane Ledge has really grown over with tall grass - especially as you near the ledge. It is very easy to lose the trail.

Rich
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby kennykb » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:28 pm

SNEAKers wrote:I still can't figure out how to get to the actual hurricane ledge! The pics in the hiking section never look like the spot I make it to near the summit!


The summit has a cairn and some aircraft parts. I presume that you've found that. Under the cairn is a drill hole that formerly held the survey marker. There are two secondary markers near the summit with arrows pointing to it. There is also probably a third marker north of the summit, buried under a rockslide.

The summit clearing is a crossroads.

To the north is a well-beaten path that is the usual route of ascent. It involves some fairly challenging rock scrambles. There are old topos and trail maps that describe one ledge on this route as 'Hurricane Ledge'. That ledge offers a view of Kaaterskill Clove, including being nearly able to see the top of Kaaterskill Falls. The Sphinx Rock is clearly discernible. It's nearly grown in nowadays, though.

To the east is another, less trodden path that leads down to an overlook. It's reported that the overlook now has a second herd path leading north to another ledge with a view. There is also reported to be a very old and obscure path in there that finds a notch in the rock that will get a hiker down nearly to the snowmobile trail. I've never found that route. About halfway between the summit and the eastern overlook, there's also a path to the north that goes to the plane crash site near the summit.

To the south, a well defined path continues to a broad grassy clearing with a splendid view of the Devil's Path. There is an abrupt cliff below it. This is the area now called Hurricane Ledge. It is clear because it was denuded of trees by a rockslide triggered in the Great Appalachian Storm of 1950. It's approximately at 42.1604, -74.0823 at an elevation of about 3580 feet. At the west end of the ledge, the rock can be scrambled, and a sinuous path of scrambles can be completed all the way to the snowmobile trail to the south. If you look at the area on Google Maps, you'll see that there is a whole staircase of bare ledges in there, so there are numerous vantage points that are all "Hurricane Ledges" and do not look alike. I recommend using this route only going up - scrambling down is significantly more dangerous - and attempting it only in fine weather. I've never actually had the confidence to try it.

To the west, there's a herd path that's obvious at the peak but obscure farther down. It passes through the col between High Peak and Round Top, and goes nearly to the Round Top summit, circling to the north of it on a ledge. It eventually comes out on the north snowmobile trail about a quarter-mile east of the three-way junction. Mike has taken me this way from Gillespie Road up to the High Peak summit.
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby mike » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:43 pm

Once you get to the summit of KHP, you need to head south for about 1/4 mile to reach Hurricane Ledge. Trees are now starting to grow, so it will be grown over soon. As Kevin stated there have been a number of "Hurricane Ledges" over the years. In the past 200 years there have been 3 major Hurricane Ledges. We are actually due for another one soon.

Rich. Would like to get out with you again. I am still recovering, so my distance is restricted somewhat. We did WHP last weekend. A little too far. I haven't been hiking in a year, so I am out of shape.
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby rkugel » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:52 am

Mike, good hearing from you though I'm sorry to hear you're still not 100% healed. Definitely take it easy until you really feel up to a demanding hike again. I attached a photo from the ledge that is just off the new herd path at the eastern side of KHP. As you can see, the view is quite extensive. Nearly all of Kaaterskill Clove is visible.

KHP-Ledge.jpg
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Re: New Path on Kaaterskill High Peak

New postby dundee » Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:55 pm

I'm pleased to see this thread. I've often wondered if there were views from this ledge as you can see this face from Palenville.
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