Ascent of Balsam Mountain on 2015-12-26

Climber: Crystal Davis

Others in Party:Dan Petit -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Saturday, December 26, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Balsam Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3600 ft / 1097 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started this hike later than normal, at 12:45PM, because we were coming from Rocky Hill. We chose this route up Balsam because according to the map it was 2.4 miles up, making for an easy 4.8 mile round trip; no big deal for minimal daylight. The trail had been rerouted it seems in a couple areas and so when we finally got to the junction with the blue trail, my Strava said we had gone 2.7 miles, opposed to the 1.7 miles the book and map said. I had read there was a decent lookout spot near the top, so that's what we went in search of. We hit what we thought was the high point, however we didn't see a sign / cairn / marker or anything to signify such. So we kept walking even though the trail went down a bit. Finally we came to the lookout point. It was an okay lookout. The day was fully overcast and grey, but we could see a ways to the other surrounding mountains. We walked a bit beyond the lookout, but the trail seemed to only go down from there. I double checked the map and saw that the top was rather flat, but it appeared that the high point was back at the southend of the top. So we turned around and thank goodness Dan was in the lead as he saw a little unmarked side trail that led to a rather large cairn! So we did find the true summit of Balsam Mountain. This is our 16th hike of the Catskill 3500. Sammy joined us on this hike and he did okay. He was getting tired on the way down and every time we'd stop for even a second, he would lay down; not my typical Sammy. Even so, I'm glad he came along as he was so upset he missed out on West Kill last weekend.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2051 ft / 625 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2051 ft / 625 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.3 mi / 11.8 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Animal/Pet
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm, Overcast
Light passing showers, 48F at the start at the car, much cooler at the summit.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2051 ft / 625 m
    Distance:3.9 mi / 6.3 km
    Start Trailhead:McKinley Hollow Road trailhead  1549 ft / 472 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2051 ft / 625 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    End Trailhead:McKinley Hollow Road trailhead  1549 ft / 472 m

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