Ascent of Slawson Benchmark on 2011-11-25

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Supported by Rose
Date:Friday, November 25, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Slawson Benchmark
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:2080 ft / 633 m

Ascent Trip Report

This County has 2 areas that needs to be visited. I visited both with the area in Oquaga Creek State Park being a real toughy.

SLAWSON BENCHMARK ..... a track/bushwack eastbound from walker road .... 1.2 mile, 55 minutes RT.
We approached this climb from the west side, TH at the corner of Walker/Obrien Roads, the route used by David Galvin is his TR of 2000. The summit is at 110 degree Magnetic Compass Line. A woods track leaves the east side of Walker Road heading in the general direction as my Compass Line.
I walked the rough/wet track 100 yards to two small ponds, the pond on the right with a dam overflows to the pond on the left. I crossed the wet/short spill-way to a good dry track on the other side which climbs to the summits flat area. On its way the track in places is somewhat obscure, blocked by blowdown and overgrown with thorny bushes, it's easier to walk in the woods at these obstacles.
The summit contour is a fairly flat/rough area with blowdown, and thorny bushes, dense undergrowth in places with no obvious highground.
When I ascended this flat area I continued east 40-50 yards before turning right and bushwacking south looking for the highground. After stomping a few hundred yards south I came back to finally finding the BM perhaps 100 Yards south of the track ...... amid a somewhat looking highground with a lot of blowdown and dense thorny undergrowth, the "US Coast & Geodetic Survey Triangulation Station, Slawson 1942, 1940" is embedded in a concrete base, it has been tilted over by the winter freezes. My GPS at the BM read 42.17558, -75.49437. I looked-for/couldn't find the other 2 BMs. The actual HP of this area is 10 yards to the east of the BM.
The one way distance is estimated at half a mile, the descent took me 15 minutes. When I got back to the ponds I stayed right on a track (instead of crossing the spill-way) that brought me out to Walker Road (100 yards north of the TH). This Track is cabled-off with a posted sign.

A tough thorny bushwack southbound from TH...... 2.1 miles, 1h40 minutes RT including all of the searching around.
My source of information was David Galvin's TR of 2000. From the Slawson Benchmark we found our way to the South (winter) Entrance of Oquaga Creek State park on China Road (Hwy 20) and drove in to the picnic area parking lot. This was my TH.
At the south end of the lot I bushwacked south, crossed a creek to the service road (for authorized vehicles only), then right (west) on the road a short distance to a driveway on the left. I turned in the driveway and found a stone wall just inside the woods heading south uphill (more or less on the county line, although I didn't see any signs/markings confirming this).
I followed/stayed-right-of-the-wall , crossed a left-right track and about half way up the climb the stone wall ends. I continued on the same line in easy going open deciduous woods. Past the steep section I climbed to the ridge, the grade eases and the appearance of an old Swath comes into view (could be the County Line). Here I encountered dense underbrush with some really nasty thorny stuff, so I stayed right. Once I got to the main East-West ridge perhaps .68 miles from the TH and 100 yards of the County Line I had no choice but to fight/endure the nasty stuff.
I didn't see any signs/blazes/etc as reported by others (except for 2 state forest park signs above the end of the wall). I really didn't have any idea as to the County Line location. After this trip I question the Google map contour lines for this ridge.
Once on the ridge (100 yards west of the County Line, the topo map shows this as being on a 2060+ foot contour) I decided to first look-for the ridge's highest point, the higher ground kept leading me westbound on the ridge, at a hundred yards I chose my HP (I'll call this Point"X"), GPS 42.16951, -75.42147, say 200 yards from the County Line
I went 200 yards further west on the ridge to GPS 42.16919, -75.42409 before being assured of no higher ground.
Then I came back to the County Line Swath by staying away from the nasty thorny stuff. I dropped 30-40 yards below/south side of the ridge, then walked east in fairly open easy deciduous woods. As I neared the Swath I had no choice but to get back in the ridge's throny stuff.
The topo map shows a small 2080 foot contour in this area
I went to the highground on the east side of the Swath (I believe in Delaware County) and chose a spot at GPS 42.16970., -75.41869, the ground to the east appearing lower.
Then I went to a spot I guessed to be the County Line, my GPS reading 42.16960, -75.41929.
By this time I was totally confused. I can't measure for altitude, I concluded that the HP of this ridge in Broome County Line is at Point"X" (above), ???? inside the 2060 contour and not on the County Line's 2080 contour ???? ..... But of course, this must be totally wrong as everyone else has it at the County Line, also it is totally weird that I didn't see any County Line markings that others have reported, even at the bottom TH-area there are no Markings. It's as if I was on another Peak.
I descended the .68 mile distance in 15 minutes.
I am confident that I stomped on the high ground however where I ????, I must come back one day perhaps to climb the route that Dan Case talks about in the last paragraph of his TR and see if I see a change.

I got back to the TH cut-up pretty-good above my knees !!!!!! (nicks and scratches from the thorns), my gaiters protected the lower part of the legs. I should get me a pair of heavy-duty-tall-chaps for this kind of stuff .... Rose was not pleased with my effort.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:240 ft / 73 m
    Total Elevation Loss:240 ft / 73 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.4 mi / 2.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:240 ft / 73 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1.1 km
    Route:bushwack east from walker road
    Start Trailhead:corner walker/obrien roads  1840 ft / 560 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:240 ft / 73 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1.1 km
    Route:bushwack back to walker road
    End Trailhead:corner walker/obrien roads  1840 ft / 560 m
    Time:15 Minutes

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