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 Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
After bailing from Flags, I was kicking myself, not gonna lie. I wanted to honor the fallen in some way, and then I remembered Slide Mountain, the highest point in the Catskill Mountains of New York, as well as the most isolated peak in New York and one of 10 peaks in the Northeast with over 3K feet of prominence. I thought some more about it, did some research, and decided to daytrip it. I wanted to get my money's worth, so I took the super-long way- a 14.5 mile out and back to Slide from Woodland Valley Campground in Phoenicia, NY, passing over two Catskill High Peaks, Wittenburg and Cornell Mountains, along the way.

Got up at 2:15 AM and was out the door around 2:20 AM. The drive on the Mass Pike and the NY Thruway was long at 260 miles, but with some stops for food, drink, and bathrooom breaks, it wasn't bad. Once in Catskill Park, the drive got really nice and scenic. Mountains and rivers all around you. Hadn't even hit the trail and I was already pleased. Got to the trailhead around 7:20 AM, where I geared up, packed up, and then hit my route for the day, the Whittenburg-Cornell-Slide Trail, around 7:35 AM.

The trail (W-C-S trail for short) started out by passing through a campground, then crossed a footbridge over Woodland Creek. After the crossing, it turned sharp right and made a steep climb away from the valley floor, passing a register en route (which I signed). The trail kept its steep grade, then moderated, eventually become flatish. It stayed that way (save for a 100 ft. PUD) to the junction with Terrace Mtn Lean-to Trail at 2.6 miles. I turned right here to head for peak #1, 3,780 ft. Wittenburg Mountain.

Past the junction, the trail kept its easy grade for a bit, then got steeper with some scrambles thrown in. The trail also became confusing to follow at points, so I had to watch for blazes. After some steep pitches, the trail moderated and I emerged onto the open summit of Wittenburg Mountain, which had superb views:

Image

Image

Spent a few here, then headed to peak #2 for the day, 3,860 ft. Cornell Mountain. I dipped back down into the trees to the col, them made another steep climb to the summit of Cornell, climbing up the locally-famous "Cornell Crack". Took some thought as to how to approach it, but I made it.

Image
Bigger and more tricky than it looks here

The summit of Cornell was very wooded with a restricted view toward the lake visible from Wittenburg. Didn't linger long- took some shots, then headed for the main objective- 4,180 ft. Slide Mountain.

From Cornell's summit, I made a steep then moderate 600 ft. drop to the col, where there were several neat campsites set up by the NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation). Would be a cool overnight with the utilization of one of these sites. Once I bottomed out, I made an easy initial climb out of the col, then it got progressively steeper, passing the 3,500 ft. elevation marker in the process (although it didn't feel like 3,500 ft, since the woods were still open and colorful with lots of leaves.) Thereafter, the trail got quite steep, with lots of scrambling and some "ladders" (really steep stairs, similar to those on the Osseo Trail). Eventually, I broke 4,000 ft, then came to Burroughs Ledge, where there were restricted views towarc Cornell and Wittenburg.

The true summit, just past the ledge (which I didn't initially know about), was at a wooded, viewless clearing with old tower footings. There were a couple good directional views downslope in the opposite direction, which added a trivial amount of extra mileage. Went back to Burroughs Ledge to hang out and display Ol' Glory on the closest 4K to New York City.

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The true summit of Slide Mountain

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View from near the summit of Slide Mountain

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Never forget...

Eventually, I had to go back down, so after my 50 minute summit break, I left the top around 12:06 PM. Re-climbed Cornell and Wittenburg, then made a leisurely descent back to the campground, which I reached at 3:10 PM, 7 hours 35 minutes after starting. Packed up and hit the road afterward. Other than accidentally getting on the Thruway southbound rather than northbound and going 10 miles in the opposite direction :oops: , the drive was even more smooth than the drive there. Did the now-280 mile return drive in 4 hours 45 minutes.

Not quite the Whites or the 'Dacks, but the Catskills have a charm all its own. The place is full of lowly, gentle, rolling hills and mountains, but if you know where to look, some suprisingly and seriously gnarly hikes can be done. Not in a huge rush to come back due to the absurdly long driving distance, but whenever I come back for Hunter Mountain (the other Catskill 4K), I'm doing one or two more hikes to get my money's worth and explore more of this area. Oh yea, Slide was also #69 on the Northeast 115, and I believe it was also the longest drive on that list (at least for me). Roundtrip hiking distance was 14.5 miles with 4,600 ft. of elevation gain (most vertical gain I've logged in one hike), and it took 6 hours 45 minutes not including my summit break.

Here's the full video recap:
https://youtu.be/t_qumq0a5Bg

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:10 pm
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
That's a pretty full day but a well thought out spot for a tribute. Loved that hike when we did it a couple years ago. We actually made a big loop rather than and out and back. It wasn't any easier than the out and back and the trails weren't as interesting either, but I have a thing against doing out and back hikes if they can somewhat easily be avoided. Next time you go for Hunter (you know you will 8) ) Check out Katterskill Falls as a bonus hike since Hunter is relatively short and sweet. It's a mighty impressive waterfall when it's flowing good.


Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:55 am
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
That's a pretty full day but a well thought out spot for a tribute. Loved that hike when we did it a couple years ago. We actually made a big loop rather than and out and back. It wasn't any easier than the out and back and the trails weren't as interesting either, but I have a thing against doing out and back hikes if they can somewhat easily be avoided. Next time you go for Hunter (you know you will 8) ) Check out Katterskill Falls as a bonus hike since Hunter is relatively short and sweet. It's a mighty impressive waterfall when it's flowing good.


Might do the falls and one of the shorter High Peaks as add-ons. After that, it's on to the 'Dacks! Hoping I get more Thursdays off, so that I can shamelessly hawk rides off you and Peter :wink: .

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:03 pm
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
hiker0200 wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
That's a pretty full day but a well thought out spot for a tribute. Loved that hike when we did it a couple years ago. We actually made a big loop rather than and out and back. It wasn't any easier than the out and back and the trails weren't as interesting either, but I have a thing against doing out and back hikes if they can somewhat easily be avoided. Next time you go for Hunter (you know you will 8) ) Check out Katterskill Falls as a bonus hike since Hunter is relatively short and sweet. It's a mighty impressive waterfall when it's flowing good.


Might do the falls and one of the shorter High Peaks as add-ons. After that, it's on to the 'Dacks! Hoping I get more Thursdays off, so that I can shamelessly hawk rides off you and Peter :wink: .


The more the merrier. Splitting the gas bill three ways is cheaper than 2. Just bring a headlamp. Wherever we go we usually finish in the dark, especially now that the days are getting shorter. We'll see to it that 4600 feet doesn't stand as your max elevation gain in one day for long. 8)


Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:52 pm
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
Welcome to the neighborhood :D But leaving your house at 2:20 AM for the Catskills? I live 2 hrs away and can never seem to make it to a trailhead before 10 lol.

I've seen reports where people hit Slide first (up the easy way from the parking area), then tag Cornell and Wittenberg and retrace their steps (thereby avoiding the steep climb out of Woodland Valley). But I don't think I've ever seen this version though, hitting the steeps on Slide and Witt twice. Good job!

Surprised no one else there on the summit on a nice day - despite the lack of a view, this one has a similar overcrowding problem as Lafayette or Cascade (ADK), such that this past summer they finally put a summit steward up there. FYI there is a decent view heading down the trail about 1/2 mile in the other direction, but it's not 360.

If you do Hunter from Stony Clove, you could follow that up with an interesting and very steep climb up the other side of the Devil's Path, to Plateau Mountain. Or any other Eastern Devil's Path hike.

Hey once you finish the NE 111 maybe you can come back and do the 3500's. Some good views but also a lot of wooded humps as you might imagine lol.

PS Was that missed turn after that traffic circle on 28? Think I've done that once too, it's a tricky exit.

Thanks for the report.


Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:30 pm
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
GG: I've been meaning to ask you this: How many of the 115 have you done? And yea, I know about the ruggedness of the Adirondacks. Some seriously long and steep hikes there.

wp_hiker2: Left early so I could get home early. Ended up pulling in my driveway shortly before 8 PM.

I've mostly heard about a loop of Slide, Cornell, and Wittenburg being done (I think the one GG mentioned), but I never heard about an out and back of the three via the easy way. Ah well, I got my money's worth :D !

I had the entire ascent to myself, as well as the descent from Slide to Wittenburg. Going down Wittenburg to the trailhead, I saw maybe a dozen people at the most. It helps to get an early start! And yea, I believe the overcrowding problem on Slide, seeing that it's the highest peak in the Catskills. Even I was surprised that I had the whole place to myself 8) .

Mostly due to the driving distance and partly due to the fact that I have almost all of NY to do, the 115 is gonna take a while. So the 3500s aren't gonna happen for a while, but I haven't ruled out doing them at all...

The spot on the Thruway where I got on in the wrong direction was at the Saugerties exit, near the gas station. The northbound ramp was straight ahead, whereas the southbound ramp was to the left. Since that was where I got off, I unconsciously thought the northbound ramp was in that area and hopped on there. When I realized I was going south instead of north, I was like "F*ck". When I saw that the next exit was 10 miles away, I was like "Double F*ck."

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:49 pm
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 Re: Slide Mountain, NY- 9/13/2016
hiker0200 wrote:
GG: I've been meaning to ask you this: How many of the 115 have you done?


It's been so long since I've made any progress in the Daks (6+ months :( )I actually had to think about this one.

NH +48/48
ME +14/14
VT +5/5
Cats +2/2
Daks +19/46
-----------------
88/115


Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:52 am
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