Ascent of Kaaterskill High Peak on 2020-12-06

Climber: Crystal Davis

Others in Party:Dan Petit
Date:Sunday, December 6, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Kaaterskill High Peak
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3655 ft / 1114 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hiked with Dan, Samson, and Rich Bergsma. This was our 32nd mountain towards our Single Season Fall. Cold, light fresh coating of snow, windy, and bright blue skies. We wanted to make this a thru hike so we met Rich at the Cortina Lane parking area, left his car there, and drove my car over to the Platte Clove Road parking area.

We took the little bushwhack over to the snow mobile trail at about 2.4 miles. The snowmobile trail was extremely wet, just as it had been before. What an obnoxious trail. It's like a stream that doesn't move. We walked by the plane crash, which we almost missed with the light covering of snow, and went to the large cairn for the bushwhack up Hurricane Ledge. Dan and I had hiked this route in the summer before, but the wintery conditions made it a bit more challenging. We put our microspikes on soon after we started going up.

Because of the light, fluffy snow, Sammy started to get snowballs on his legs and paws. I put his booties on, which he wears really well, but they came off several times. I tried putting cut-off socks on his front legs to protect him from getting snowballs, but they kept sliding down and falling off.

The views south from Hurricane Ledge were spectacular! We soon arrived at the summit canister and had a bite to eat. Dan signed the summit register for all of us. We didn't stay long because it was cold. Dan and Sammy took off to the left and I said to Rich that he must be going to pee, and it was weird that he took the dog and was going so far off. We waited a couple minutes and he didn't come back. So we headed after him and realized he had started descending. I looked back in between the summit cairn and canister because I thought we were supposed to go down between them, but there were no footprints. I second guessed myself and followed the guys.

The trail down oddly didn't look familiar to me, but I was last there several years ago in the summer, and sometimes I have trouble remembering things, so whatever. We soon came to a lookout, and Dan and I just figured we didn't make it this high when we came up this way previously (different outing). Then the guys finally looked at their maps and both realized we were on the wrong herd path! We were on the one Rich told us about that goes off to the east and then bends around to the south, coming out near the plane crash. We thought about going back up to the summit to get on the right herd path, but decided to just keep going down. I said that there were no tracks from the canister. Dan then decided he and Sammy would just go back to my car, and Rich and I could continue on if we pleased, and he would just drive over to Cortina Lane.

When we got back to the side bushwhack to the trail back to Platte Clove Road, I persuaded Dan to finish the hike as we had initially planned. I wasn't going to leave him and Sammy, despite him saying it was okay. I told him we could help Sammy with the water so he didn't get wet and cold. Rich said it was less than 2 miles more than we had originally planned. I was happy that Dan decided to finish the hike as planned.

I thought we were coming up on a hunting cabin, but as we got closer I noticed some spray paint, and that it looked abandoned. Then I saw the abandoned chair lift! I immediately knew it was the remnants of the old Cortina Valley Ski Area. I never heard about it before driving to the parking area this morning, but saw it on the way in on Clum Hill Road. So sad!! There were a couple old buildings that had been vandalized and an old chair lift. From the summit, we had a perfect view of snow-covered Hunter Mountain Ski Area.

Despite being longer than anticipated, I'm surprised how quickly we got to Rich's car. And I was happy to come out with the sun still up. The hike ended up being a little longer than we initially planned, but it was a really good hike.

Start: 8:31AM
Plane crash: 2.8 miles at 10:08AM
KHP summit: 4.1 miles at 11:47AM
Left summit: 4.1 miles at 11:59AM
Back at the junction with the side bushwhack: 5.1 miles at 12:58PM
Junction with trail over to the Long Path: 6.0 miles at 1:21PM
Junction with herd path up to KHP summit (the way we were supposed to descend) 6.0 miles at 1:24PM
Junction with KHP Trail and trail over to Cortina Lane: 7.9 miles at 2:28PM
NYS survey marker: 9.0 miles at 3:04PM
Rich's car: 9.1 miles at 3:08PM
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1775 ft / 541 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1336 ft / 407 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.1 mi / 14.6 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Animal/Pet
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1775 ft / 541 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Long Path
    Start Trailhead:Platte Clove Road parking area  1880 ft / 573 m
    Time:3 Hours 16 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1336 ft / 407 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route:Kaaterskill High Peak Trail
    End Trailhead:Cortina Lane parking area  2319 ft / 706 m
    Time:3 Hours 9 Minutes

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