Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

Guardian Mtn, Overlook Mtn, Plattekill Mtn, Indianhead Mtn, Twin Mtns, Sugarloaf Mtn, Plateau Mtn

Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby rkugel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:25 am

On Friday 07/31/15 I hiked to Twin Mountain (my first time on the Devil's Path). I parked in the new area at the end of Prediger Road and followed the Jimmy Dolan Notch trail to the col between Indian Head and Twin. The Jimmy Dolan trail was obviously re-rerouted in several spots but the trail blazes are frequently spaced and there was no problem following the markings. However, if you do not pay attention to the blazes, it is very easy to walk off the trail in several sections.

I visited both summits of Twin and the views were awesome. However, the view from the southerly peak was especially jaw-dropping and rivaled the view from Wittenberg.

As I neared my car on the way back down, I ran into two friendly young guys. We stopped and chatted for several minutes. One guy was heading up and the other guy had just descended Indian Head. The guy who came from Indian Head told me that he ran into a park ranger near the summit who informed him that the Devil's Path was re-routed from the infamous chimney corkscrew. The re-route is very recent (early July 2015) and supposedly a set of flat rock "stairs" has now replaced the chimney. It should be noted that the 50 foot near-vertical cliff is still part of the Devil's Path and is unaffected. Supposedly, the re-route was due to the high frequency of accidents and injuries on the chimney.

Has anyone else hiked Indian Head recently to confirm the re-route or have any additional information?
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby kennykb » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:40 pm

Hey, Rich, glad to hear you're hiking again! Let's get together sometime and do a peak or two! (Gotta wait a couple of weeks, I'm out of commission at the moment from a sprained knee almost a month ago. It's almost there, but I'm not quite up to peak bagging.)

I haven't heard about an Indian Head reroute, but it wouldn't surprise me. The chimney has got harder in recent years because the dead tree that used to give you a leg up finally rotted away entirely. When I was there last summer, I found a good set of holds to scramble up the left-hand side, but the exit from the top was really, really sketchy. Going up that way puts you right on a narrow boulder with the chimney dropping on one side and the cliff on the other. I could easily have seen overshooting on the mantel move and just plunging off the other side, but I couldn't see good holds farther in because everything was so slick with algae. Indian Head really needs to wipe his nose.

You picked the easier side of Twin, believe it or not. The west side has some interesting scrambles, including one that rivals the slab on the east side of Slide below the ladders.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby rkugel » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:02 pm

Hi Kevin! Good hearing from you, though I'm sorry to hear about your sprained knee. That cannot be fun. The best advice is to take things easy and make absolutely certain it has healed before taxing it again. Knees can be very tricky. I would love to meet up again and do a hike. My only concern is the extreme slowness with which I hike. I pretty much move at the speed of an advancing glacier. I also have to be very mindful about how far I venture due to persistent problems with leg cramps.

I've never done Indian Head, but from what you describe, it is even worse than I imagined. Yikes! And yes, I definitely picked the easier ascent for Twin.

Keep in touch and thanks for writing.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby mike » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:46 pm

I heard that they were going to change the cork-screw. It was very dangerous. There is a cliff off the edge that drops quite a distance. If you fall off that, it is questionable if you will survive. Much easier to go down, then to go up. You can also hike around the difficult section.

I haven't hiked in about a year. We hiked WHP last weekend. Normally, it would be an easy hike. But, it was hard for me.

Image
This is the cork-screw section

Image
This is the other section that you still have to climb down
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby kennykb » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:24 pm

rkugel wrote:Hi Kevin! Good hearing from you, though I'm sorry to hear about your sprained knee. That cannot be fun. The best advice is to take things easy and make absolutely certain it has healed before taxing it again. Knees can be very tricky. I would love to meet up again and do a hike. My only concern is the extreme slowness with which I hike. I pretty much move at the speed of an advancing glacier. I also have to be very mindful about how far I venture due to persistent problems with leg cramps.

I've never done Indian Head, but from what you describe, it is even worse than I imagined. Yikes! And yes, I definitely picked the easier ascent for Twin.

Keep in touch and thanks for writing.


I don't know what happened to this post, but all my content is gone. I'll try again below.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby kennykb » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:39 pm

rkugel wrote:I've never done Indian Head, but from what you describe, it is even worse than I imagined. Yikes! And yes, I definitely picked the easier ascent for Twin.


Indian Head is the reverse of Twin. The hard side is on the east. The ascent from Jimmy Dolan Notch is pretty non-technical. Of course, the difficult side has the best views. (By the way, to the south of Jimmy Dolan Notch, there's a herd path to a very nice campsite and a splendid overlook. It departs right from the sign at the trail junction.)

The tree in Mike's picture of the Corkscrew Chimney rotted out at the bottom and slid to where it's no longer inclined up and down in the crack. Where I scrambled was the left side of the picture, which really comes out to a knife edge with the chimney on the east and the cliff on the west. I was pretty surprised by how narrow it was.

I didn't know that there was a workaround. Apparently, the workaround is now blazed as the official trail and hardened with steps.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby rkugel » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:53 pm

Curiosity got the best of me and I climbed Indian Head on Friday 08/14/15. The Diving Board and Sherman's Ledge were very cool, but I was most interested in the corkscrew.

As I posted earlier, the corkscrew was substantially reworked and is now a very easy ascent or descent, thanks to a newly added set of stone "stairs". Based on earlier photos of the corkscrew, I honestly do not see how it was negotiated at all. It is at least 5 to 6 feet from the base to the top and if you drifted too far to the left while climbing, you could have fallen right over the ledge. Wow!

I attached a few shots showing what the corkscrew looks like now. It is considerably tamer (and safer) from what it used to be.

2015-0814-Indian-07-Corkscrew-Fix (2).jpg


2015-0814-Indian-10-Corkscrew-Fix (3).jpg


2015-0814-Indian-14-Corkscrew-Cliff-Fix (2).jpg
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby mike » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:20 pm

Thanks for the pics Rich. Yeah, it was quite dangerous. It was a little safer going down, then going up. But, if you fell, and went over the ledge. You die! I think that it is much safer now. Many people didn't realize that there was a cliff there. Trees grown on the side of the trail, so you couldn't see the danger.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby kennykb » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:00 pm

There's still a half dozen or so of the 35 that I haven't done, but Corkscrew Chimney was certainly in the top 4 of my scary places so far. The others:

The east side of Slide just below the ladders, where you have to work that edge that isn't even as wide as a boot.
The west side of Sugarloaf. It's just one thing after another.
The north (trail west) side of Twin. There are some scrambles that are fun, like a jungle gym, and one that really is a killer. It didn't help that it rained the day I did it.

All of those places are lethally exposed.

Compared with those, the Cornell Crack is a piece of cake. It's one tough move that isn't exposed, and if you can't manage it, there's a workaround. Although when I was up there, I ran into a family with a 110-pound Alsatian who were trying to figure out how to get him down. He was balking at the Crack and couldn't make it up the east side of Slide. I don't know what they did, but it probably was equally as poorly planned as getting into that situation to begin with.

I won't even discuss Platte Clove. I've read the reports, and cringed.
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Re: Indian Head: DP Corkscrew Chimney Rerouted?

New postby rkugel » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:50 am

Hi Kevin,

I enjoyed reading your post about your "top 4" scary places. I've never done Sugarloaf, but from what I understand, it's pretty nasty. And yes, Slide Mountain below the ladders is rather precarious - especially the 35-foot ledge where you have to slowly (and carefully) lower yourself down.

Cornell Crack is quite challenging for me and nowhere near being a "piece of cake". It is also very intimidating when you walk up to it - especially from the top! You mentioned a workaround for Cornell Crack. I would love to hear about it if you have time to share details.

There is another section of Cornell that I find very challenging, and even more frightening than Cornell Crack. As you are working your way from Slide and approaching the summit of Cornell, you must negotiate a very narrow "V"-shaped lemon squeezer. You have to lift yourself up to the top of the "V"-shaped rock to continue. The problem is the top is about 4 feet from the base and very difficult to ascend unless you are very tall or have very strong arms. You have to stand with your back against the rock, place your hands on top of the rock, and then lift yourself up (or jump up). Once on top of the lemon squeezer, you have to step over a series of flat rocks spanning very wide (and VERY deep) crevices. If you fall into one of those crevices, I seriously doubt you will be able to climb out on your own.

The good news is once you "run the gauntlet" of the lemon squeezer and the crevices, you are treated to a jaw-dropping view of Slide Mountain and the Woodland Valley with Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain. From there, it is a 5 minute walk to the actual summit of Cornell.

As for Plattekill Clove, Mike and I ventured in there once and it was "spectacularly terrifying".

Rich
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