Ascent of Manhattan High Point on 2015-12-13

Climber: William Musser

Date:Sunday, December 13, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Train
Peak:Manhattan High Point
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:265 ft / 80 m

Ascent Trip Report

The thought of simple getting off a subway and tagging this unbearable. A business meeting in NYC on DEC 13th and the weather was 64 degrees! So I conjured up a long circuitous urban hike that took advantage of all the steep terrain in the area and actually visited 2 parks.

I got off the A subway after riding about 50 minutes from downtown near my hotel. I got off and was immediately confused which direction the park was. I meandered around the streets some in the wrong direction and enjoyed the hilly terrain but realized I was now several blocks NE of Bennett park and the trick is to find one of those allies that has a public stairs between the tall buildings. There is a wall of rock just east of the park that makes this tricky. The stairs I eventually found were at 187th street and climb nearly 100 feet to get me back on Fort Washington Ave. Then i headed back south and easily found the park and had to wait my turn to command the highpoint as kids were all over it! I photographed the plaque and then headed south down a cool set of steep stairs along Pinehurst to gain 181 st street to head to the Hudson.

181 Street dead-ends into another interesting rock cliff formation that divides the highways about 50 feet apart vertically. Turning right and heading north a short ways on the alley and you can follow the masses of bikes that use a narrow metal bridge cross over that takes you down past the Henry Hudson Pkwy and into the Fort Washington Park greenspace. Bikes and joggers everywhere. The trail system is steep and you can follow it down to the red historic lighthouse and take you photo at the edge of the Hudson where I called this spot my theoretical TH to climb back up. I payed around on some rocks overlooking the Hudson till I strayed into a homeless shanty near the railroad tracks and then opted to hanging more closely to the paved trail filled with friendly New Yorkers and their kids out bike riding. What a contrast though that straying about 40 yards off the trail can make in NY.

I hiked several different streets back up and tagged the county HP (Island HP too) one more time and then meandered my way back to the subway getting in over 4 miles of good for the heart walking and taking advantage of all the steep terrain I could find along the way.

This HP can be done, of course, with a simple walk from the subway station and back with far less effort, but on a beautiful day like today it was meant for a full meandering excursion to earn it. Plus having been hiking in my home state of flat, hot, FL one day earlier, even the rocky hills of Manhattan are a pleasant change.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:495 ft / 149 m
    Total Elevation Loss:285 ft / 86 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Grade/Class:1, 1+
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
64 F in DEC crazy warm day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:400 ft / 121 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 260 ft / 79 m; Extra: 140 ft / 42m
    Loss on way in:140 ft / 42 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:Urban meander see trip report
    Start Trailhead:Subway A at 181 to Hudson River Shore  5 ft / 1 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:145 ft / 44 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 50 ft / 15 m; Extra: 95 ft / 28m
    Gain on way out:95 ft / 28 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    End Trailhead:215 ft / 65 m
Ascent Part of Trip: NYC bagging

Complete Trip Sequence:
1African Burial Ground High Point2015-12-13 a20 ft / 6 m
2Manhattan High Point2015-12-13 b495 ft / 151 m
3Inwood Hill2015-12-13 c495 ft / 151 m
4Castle Clinton High Point2015-12-13 d20 ft / 6 m
Total Trip Gain: 1030 ft / 314 m    Total Trip Loss: 765 ft / 233 m

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