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#42587 - 01/12/09 04:09 PM Catskill backcountry skiing
Fraser Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 700
Loc: New Canaan, CT
Has anyone done any backcountry skiing in the Catskills?

I heard there was something off the back of Hunter once, and Overlook Mts trail. Anyone do something worth repeating? Some old ski areas might be worth while.

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#42589 - 01/12/09 04:32 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Fraser]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
Re lost ski areas, Highmount still gets skied. There is stuff off the back of Hunter though it probably needs a good snow year. I don't have details on that one.

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#42598 - 01/13/09 02:04 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: pedestrian]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
I've skied the otis from north lake to palenville after the blizzard of '93 and it was decent, although not very steep. The good thing there is that you can leave a car on top and at the bottom fairly easliy. Most areas are very overgrown and more trouble than their worth. Hunter and plateau can be alright near stoney clove if you are careful to avoid the big drops. You might also able to find an okay line or two near kaaterskill falls. I remember one which took me down to just above the fawn's leap swimming hole (Moore's bridge). Then again, I haven't done any of these spots in at least 10 years so the growth may have gotten out of control. You really do need a big snowfall to make any of it worthwhile though.
_________________________

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#42599 - 01/13/09 05:50 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: pitfall]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
The woods above and to the right of Moores Bridge wall (Rt 23A) are quite open. Quite steep for the most part too. And if you don't stop you fly out into the Kaat. Creek. Avoid the rock/ice face by going up in the woods 200 yd left. PM me for detailed beta.

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#42617 - 01/17/09 12:09 AM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Rickster Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 848
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
Fraser, The Spruceton Trail up the backside to Hunter is a great tour. Long and low angle for most of the beginning, then it winds around a little steeply up to the ridge and finally to the tower. Plan it on a blue sky day, climb the tower and get a great view to the Hunter $ki area waaaaaay down there. Hunter is large enough to offer other descents as well, all far and away from the $ki area including a run from summit SE to Devil's Path to Diamond Notch back to Diamond Notch Rd. or Spruceton.
Tremper from the Phoencia side is short steep and very fun.
Slide from the Burrows Range Trail from Slide Mountain Rd,
We once tried the Cornell, Wittenberg, Slide Loop in old school touring gear. Though we finished the peaks, we got benighted at the road and hitched a ride back to Woodland Valley.
Bellearye from Lost Clove Rd.
Panther from Fox Hollow is very nice though finding the real summit is a chore,
Overlook, there is a nice glade down from the Overlook Trail to Echo Lake then back up and out.
Balsam Lake Mtn, a direct glade descent to the SE from the summit brings you back to the trail for Quacker Clearing on Beaver Kill Rd.
All these runs are on hiking trails or adjacent glades near to trails. With enough snow coverage I would recommend these and have done them a number of times each. Further exploration or sharing will hopefully open up more. Good luck. RC


Edited by Rickster (01/17/09 12:14 AM)
Edit Reason: Clarification.

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#42677 - 01/19/09 11:42 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Rickster]
Fraser Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 700
Loc: New Canaan, CT
Thanks to all.

Today I went to Diamond Notch Rd and parked at the trail head. It was the most familiar to me from ice climbing at Stoney Clove. I put my skins on at the bottom and worked up a major sweat. Conditions were ideal - fresh powder and blue skies. I stopped at the lean to for lunch. Then I met a couple on snow shoes and another couple skiing up on skinny skis from the Spruceton Rd. I skiied down to the car park on Spruceton Rd and then hiked back up and over. There are a few blow downs on the Diamond Notch trail and it was a little overgrown with lots of water. The trail is a little narrow for turns, especially with the powder but that's backcountry skiing.

The other couple on skis mentioned Mink Hollow Rd as a good alternative. That's on the tick list too. I heard the Overlook trail is good.

Rickster - thanks for the tips - that's a seasons worth at least!

I would recommend the Diamond Notch trail - reminiscent of the Wildcat to Jackson trail in NH but less groomed.

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#42729 - 01/22/09 01:11 AM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Fraser]
Rickster Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 848
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
I did miss another good one. Off of Peekamoose Rd. ski on the Ashokan High Point Trail (red blaze) to the top of High Point. As you get to the ridge and head left to the summit you'll make a decision to go right up the ledges (shorter) or left around to the north (longer) and the summit. I have not done the left, but went up through the ledges carrying skis up and down. The return trip is very fun. On one occasion we went north along the left hand variant and dropped down through the trees. This offers a long glade run that will intersect the lower length of the trail below the ridge intersection. Very worthwhile.
On Hunter, having done an opener on Diamond Notch, you may be ready for the Spruceton Trail to Hunter's summit. Classic run back down to intersection. RC

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#42827 - 01/27/09 09:19 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 848
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
Jan. 25 we skied Balsam Lake Mtn up the northerly approach from the Arkville side.
As expected the trail was broken out by snowshoers, making the skin up to the fire tower far easier than our last time up there. The northerly approach is much nicer for skiing than the 1.85mile trail from Quaker Clearing. You'd use the same north route to the summit avoiding the very steep south trail to the summit. Additionally, the ice laden trees found elsewhere in the Cats are not a problem this year. We had a fine run down. We started the day with a run over to Graham as well, but found the trail nearly covered in blowdown and ice crusted trees, forcing us to crawl, schlog and grovel our way to the top. If this trail ever saw some love and attention, it would be a fine ski tour as well. Conditions are very good on and off trail and will only get better with tomorrow's snow fall. RC

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#42828 - 01/27/09 11:05 PM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Rickster]
Fraser Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 700
Loc: New Canaan, CT
Any interest in getting out Saturday?

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#50268 - 01/17/10 01:35 AM Re: Catskill backcountry skiing [Re: Fraser]
Rickster Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 848
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
A repeat tour of the 1/25/09 TR to Balsam Lake Mtn. from the north. A little fresh snow to cover the snowshoe track. A beautiful day, warm and sunny. Plenty of coverage for forays off the trail with plenty of powder on the shoulders when leaving the snowshoe track. The Bellearye parking lots were packed to overflowing when we drove out at 3pm and we saw only 7 people walking up as we skied out. The western Catskills have much more snow than the central or eastern regions. RC

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