Ascent of Fir Mountain on 2020-01-01

Climber: Crystal Davis

Others in Party:Dan Petit
Maryellen Wander-Eyer
Date:Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Fir Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3620 ft / 1103 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hiked with Dan and Maryellen. Decided to go up Fir first, then over to Big Indian, and down the marked trail; the opposite direction of mine and Dan's last hike here. There were no other cars in the parking lot when we arrived. There was about 1-2" fresh powder on top of minimal crusty snow at the bottom. We put on our microspikes from the parking lot.

Just as we were looking for a place to leave the trail to begin our bushwhack up Fir, my left microspike caught on something, which made me trip and almost fall forward, but I caught myself after a few stumbles. I immediately noticed my left microspike's rubber had torn where it attaches to the metal in the upper inner part. Fortunately, Maryellen had some wire wraps in her bag which remedied my problem. Fortunately, the wire tie held by microspike together the rest of the hike.

At 3.6 miles into our hike, we found fresh footprints in the snow headed towards the summit of Fir. Following them seemed to slightly increase our speed and soon we met a solo male hiker who had just left the summit. He said he was just doing Fir today and was headed back to the parking area. He said he was already a 35er and was working on his winter rocker.

We stayed at the summit a short while. Maryellen brought celebratory pumpkin cheesecake from Trader Joe's which was a delicious surprise! The snow between Fir and Big Indian was a little deeper in spots, but nothing that would warrant snowshoes. On a couple of the ledgy areas, Dan post-holed in snow up to his knee, but only for one or two steps, then it was back to just a couple inches of fresh snow. They definitely would have been more of a hinderance than helpful.

When we got to the summit of Big Indian, it was obvious that no one else had been there yet today. It was fun to be the first people to sign the canister notebook for 2020. We had a quick snack and headed out towards the Pine Hill - West Brook Trail. After a few minutes, we encountered a solo hiker. He didn't seem to have a destination and mentioned turning back. We told him he was only a short distance from the herd path to the summit. Dan showed him on his AllTrails app, and he asked if he could take a photo of the AllTrails map as he didn't have a map. He was oddly dressed, looked to me like he was more ready for church or dinner rather than hiking. He wasn't wearing any traction on his feet, but did have a backpack of sorts.

We made it back to the car in decent time, however the last 2 miles were pretty painful. It was nice to make it back to the car before dark. No need for headlamps - yay! It lightly flurried all day. There were peeks of sun now and again, but mainly overcast.

Start: 8:52AM
Start bushwhack/microspike torn: 2.2 miles at 10:05AM
Found fresh footprints in the snow: 3.6 miles at 11:21AM
Summit of Fir Mountain: 4.0 miles at 11:39AM
Left summit: 4.0 miles at 11:55AM
Summit of Big Indian: 6.2 miles at 1:58PM
Left summit: 6.2 miles at 2:15PM
Back on the Pine Hill - West Branch Trail: 6.4 miles at 2:22PM
Back at the spot where we began bushwhacking this morning: 8.7 miles at 3:36PM
Back at the car: 11.0 miles at 4:50PM
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1703 ft / 519 m
    Total Elevation Loss:605 ft / 183 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Light flurries all day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1703 ft / 519 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1533 ft / 467 m; Extra: 170 ft / 51m
    Loss on way in:170 ft / 51 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Pine Hill - West Branch Trail to bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Biscuit Brook Trailhead  2087 ft / 636 m
    Time:2 Hours 47 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:435 ft / 132 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    End Trailhead:Col between Fir and Big Indian  3185 ft / 970 m
    Time:2 Hours 3 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Fir and Big Indian (W)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Fir Mountain2020-01-011703 ft / 519 m
2Big Indian Mountain2020-01-01689 ft / 210 m
Total Trip Gain: 2392 ft / 729 m    Total Trip Loss: 2394 ft / 729 m

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