Ascent of Vanderwhacker Mountain on 2014-01-01

Climber: Crystal Davis

Others in Party:Steven Holzmann
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Vanderwhacker Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3409 ft / 1039 m

Ascent Trip Report

Thank goodness we drove to the mountain in Steven's Toyota Tundra. The dirt road was covered with several inches of snow and it looked like a couple vehicles had gone up it the previous day, we were the only that traveled the road while we were there. He had to use 4 wheel drive, but the truck did great. We signed in at 10:47AM.

I put on my Tubbs snowshoes right at the trailhead; Steven strapped his to his pack. It was cold and mostly clear, with an inch or so of fresh powder on top of some from the other day. Shortly after starting I realized that the trail really didn't have enough snow for the snowshoes and they kind of got in the way around rocks poking through the powder.

The trail starts off pretty wide and you can tell it used to be a dirt road. At 1.5 miles we reached the old fire observer's cabin. What I assume is the original cabin is on the left and is in shambles with the roof caved in. On the right side of the trail is a brown cabin with a nice little front covered porch that has a few chairs on it. It is obvious that the porch used to be screened in, but the screening and the screen door are long gone. We opened the door and walked into an open room with a very old small refrigerator to the left, a cot to the right and in the middle a lovely old wood stove. The front of the cabin is open with two rooms in the back. The room on the side with the fridge has a sink (I did't mess with it, but saw the tiny drain pipe outside). The cabin also looked like it had an upstairs, but there were no stairs inside. Not until we went back outside and Steven walked around back did he see a wooden ladder that led up to a large opening to climb through. He went up the ladder and said it looked like sleeping quarters up there. There was also a privy up the trail a little bit between the cabins.

We resumed hiking after a good 15 minutes of checking out the cabin. Now it seems we were on straight trail (not an old road). The trail got a lot steeper and had a lot more snow almost instantly; I was now thankful for my snowshoes. After about 20 minutes the grade got milder and the trees got shorter. The sun was now poking through the trees and it felt like we should be seeing the tower at any time.

We stopped for water and each ate a granola bar. There was a small opening in the trees to the north. We resumed hiking and within about 3 minutes there was the tower! It seemed to appear out of nowhere. It was actually a pretty short tower compared to others I've hiked to recently. Fortunately, the bottom stairs were in tact and we went right up it. The windows were all gone from the cabin, but the floor door was still there. We each took several photos and then went back down after less than 10 minutes.

The trip down went fast; Steven occasionally breaking out into a jog. We stopped briefly at the cabin and I used the porch as a nice spot to take my snowshoes off and put on my brand new MicroSpikes. This was my first time using them and they were perfect for the rest of the way back down. We were back at the truck by about 3PM.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1700 ft / 518 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.8 mi / 9.3 km
    Trailhead:Trailhead on Moose Pond Road  1709 ft / 520 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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