Monday, January 12, 2009

Kaaterskill High Peak

On December 13, 2008, I did my first ever peak. That also fell under the same category as my first winter climb, and my first trail-less peak. Needless to say, I didn't know what I was getting into. I accompanied my boyfriend, Roger, and his friend Doug Ferguson, owner of Mountain Skills Climbing Guides. The day turned out to be beautiful, not to chilly and snowing lightly. We started at 11:30 pm and got back to the car just as it was getting dark, at 4:45.

Kaaterskill High Peak, located in Greene County, is the Catskill's 21st highest peak. The peak is located at 3650 ft above elevation. Explorers thought that Kaaterskill High Peak was the highest peak in the Catskills because it was the first one they saw when traveling along the Hudson River. We drove through the towns of Tanserville and Pohnecia, past interesting look antique shops and old barn houses. Doug, Roger, and I started our climb on Long Path, a 347 mile trail running from George Washington Bridge to Altamount, Albany. We then hit a snowmobile trail where we came upon one of two plane crashes that Roger had been hoping to find. The accident occurred June 25th, 1987, the year I was born. When we paused to stop and take some pictures, I noticed a small rock carin, hence making our decision to start bushwhacking to the summit. We finally made it to a small clearing with a small rock carin. There wasn't a canister at this peak but the elevation was 3655 ft. We started our decent down the southern escarpment towards a beautiful view, overlooking the Devil's Path. We got some nice shots of the Hudson River from Hurricane ledge, then continued down the mountain until we came to a huge rock carin. We then got back on Long Path and headed back to the car.

The whole trip was amazing to me, being a first time hiker. It was very beautiful and physically straining, but I felt awesome by the end of the day, if not exhausted. We had trekking poles, but didn't use cramp-ons, although afterward Doug commented we could have possibly used them. After we got back to the car, I asked Doug and Roger how I did, being it was my first hike. They told me it was pretty crazy what we just did. I was happy with that.


Doug and I, checking out a waterfall

There was a lot of blow down from an ice storm
that hit the region the night before, in which my housemates
car was totaled when a frozen tree branch fell on her windshield

(No one was hurt)

I commented more then once, in amazement and wonder,
that I felt like I was in Narnia (C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia)

Ice was covering everything. The "chandeliers" made
bushwhacking easier, as the branches just slid past you

Me standing by some trail markers

Frozen Pine Cones


Plane crash circa 1987

Reached the top. Cold, but happy (with food in mouth)

Rock carin at peak, 3655 ft.

Beautiful View

Devil's Path

Overlooking the Hudson River

The climb down was icy

Rock carin marking the snowmobile trail coming back

Information about Kaaterskill High Peak taken from Catskill Trails - A Ranger's Guide to the High Peaks (book one) by Edward G. Henry.
"A one-time destination of the new world's social elite, Kaaterskill High Peak is now a destination almost forgotten. It is a unique natural area, even among its neighbors. It has awesome vistas, plentiful wildlife, and offers quiet relaxation. Although often overlooked by recent history, Kaaterskill High Peak is a mountain worth a day's exploration."


  1. this all looks intense, how did you get into all this.

  2. When I met my boyfriend, he introduced me into it. About ten years ago, he went rock climbing for the first time and fell in love. Basically, he spent the next years of his life exploring the Catskills and Adirondacks. The friends he met were into guiding and climbing, and he started working at Rock and Snow in New Paltz, and over the years has acquired great knowledge in the outdoors. He is now going to school for outdoor recreation, and he is passing a lot of knowledge on to me!