Ascent of Berlin Mountain on 2012-01-22

Climber: Doug Harple

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, January 22, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Berlin Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:2818 ft / 858 m

Ascent Trip Report

I arrived at the Petersburg Pass a little while after noon, and started getting geared up. While I was getting ready to leave, I was also being pummeled by 20-30 mph winds coming out of Massachusetts across the pass. I ended up huddling on the leeward side of my car, with it running and with the heat on high and the seat warmer cranked up. On top of that, the parking lot was basically a sheet of ice, and I got to a close look at it before I had my traction on. As it turned out, most of the trail was a sheet of ice, too, covered in 3-4” of hard packed snow. Traction good.

I headed out at around 12:45, choosing micro spikes over snowshoes because the trail was cut and packed for boots already, and I was on a tight timetable.

I set forth over the relatively flat beginning... deceptively flat beginning... and made good time until I came to the first real climb, a several hundred foot, steep ascent. It ended up being the steepest part of the trail, but I didn’t realize that until I was coming back down it and had to turn sideways just to keep my balance.

Having managed that climb, I made my way across the shoulder of Mt. Raimer. I passed what appeared to be an ATV trail coming up a ridge to the right of the TCT, and another trail on the left that appeared to be the summit trail for Mt. Raimer. I left that alone for now, hoping to hit it on the way back. I also saw numerous signs of animal life, particularly deer, criss-crossing the trail, though I saw no animals themselves. Most of the tracks were hard to discern, but I saw a few tracks with 2 splayed toes or 2 toes poking directly in.

At any rate, I made my way to the col between Mt. Raimer and Berlin Mountain. The view of both mountains was decent, and I could also see Mt. Greylock in the distance. There seemed to be a convergence of ATV trails there, including one labeled as the Berlin Pass, presumably making its way down to Williams, MA. It was the only descriptive sign of the day; a bit of a departure from the excellent signage in the Adirondacks.

I made it up to the summit at 2:55. The wind was the first thing to greet me, but the view was more welcome. Berlin Mt. has a huge, bald summit. I can only imagine what it looks like in the summer, but in the winter, it looks like a circular playing field. Tracks, mostly human, were leading to every corner, and evidence of a bonfire was present near the only real feature of the summit: a few bits of concrete, possibly the footings of a fire tower or a building.

The wind died down, and I stayed on the summit for 10 minutes, taking pictures and enjoying some hot tea I had brought with me (a nod to Norgay and Hillary*). I would have liked to have stayed there longer, but I didn’t relish the thought of hiking back to my car in the dark. 40 minutes after I set off, I was back at the col, and 50 minutes after that I was signing out. I gave up on Mt. Raimer proper; I could see it was another couple hundred feet up, and I didn’t have enough time.

All in all, it was a great hike, and I had a lot of fun. I can see the trail being popular and crowded in the summer. In the dead of January, though, I saw a total of nine other people on the mountain.

* Sir Edmund Hillary, in an interview with Scholastic, mentioned that food is repugnant on the mountain, and that they had to force themselves to eat. They took most of their energy in the form of hot, sweet, weak tea. Reference: See also:

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1634 ft / 497 m
    Extra Gain:453 ft / 138 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.6 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Taconic Crest Trail
    Trailhead:Petersburg Pass  2090 ft / 637 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Frigid at Petersburg Pass, cold elsewhere
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Doug Harple
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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