Monday, March 20, 2017

Hiking to Diamond Notch again

Diamond NotchSince I have one peak left in my Catskills 3500, J and I headed up to the Catskills this past weekend in spite of the major snowstorm earlier in the week. It was heavy enough that some cities and counties simply shut down all their roads the next day while they dug out. By Friday, the roads were perfectly clear, and the forecast only called for a light snow on Saturday.

There are several different routes up SW Hunter, my remaining peak, but coming up from Diamond Notch is supposedly the easiest. We had hiked that route as far as the falls back in January and knew that part of it was flat to gently sloping. Of course, things are different under a couple of feet of fresh powder.

Someone had clearly been through in skis a day or two earlier, but the trail was essentially unbroken. Since it was J's first time on snowshoes, I was breaking trail. But with only one set of prints, J was doing a fair bit of work, too.

Once we reached the falls, it was evident the trail ahead was totally unbroken (and about to get steeper). We decided to turn back. We learned later that a couple of folks came through that afternoon and broke trail for another mile and a half, turning around when the snow swallowed up their legs - so we made a good choice.

Upon turning around, snowshoeing in our own trail was easier ... at least until we reached the point where a small group had postholed to, mucking up the trail.

It probably wasn't the best first snowshoe experience for J, but I had expected that someone would have broken trail before us. Even if we went back the next day, we would have had to go at least a mile in deep, unbroken powder, and it sounded like too much.

So SW Hunter still remains, and I won't get back up there anytime in the immediate future.

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