Tag Archives: Catskills Winter

Daily Catskills: 01/24/17

34F by 2pm, overcast, gloomy, with mild overnight ice storm having left few inches of gravelly ice that were topped by six inches of afternoon snow on the peaks. Slushy, muddy valleys.

© J.N. Urbanski 2pm

Daily Catskills: 01/18/17

34F at 9am, overcast, recovering from overnight ice storm. Every leaf, branch, blade, needle trapped in a glassy prison. House covered in icy granola.

© J.N. Urbanski 8.45am

 

Daily Catskills: 03/11/16

43F at 11am with a mix of sun and clouds, breezy and warm. 48F by 2pm.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.15pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.15pm

Daily Catskills: 03/04/16

30F by 10am and cloudy with a slight breeze. 34F by mid-afternoon.

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

 

Daily Catskills: 02/28/16

57F by 2pm with hazy sunshine through wispy cloud cover.

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

 

Daily Catskills: 02/26/16

21F at 8.30am, lightly snowing, a fresh layer of powder and beautifully overcast with a shimmering sky.

© J.N. Urbanski 9am

© J.N. Urbanski 9am

Daily Catskills: 02/25/16

50F at 8.30am and mistily overcast with the ground squelching underfoot from last night’s heavy rain. Continual rain in the afternoon contributes to the raging tributaries.

© J.N. Urbanski 2.50pm

© J.N. Urbanski 2.50pm

Daily Catskills: 02/24/16

34F at 7.30am and wet with rain melting two inches of overnight snow into slush. Heavy afternoon rain. Update: heavy rain, thunder and lightning storms throughout the evening.

© J.N. Urbanski 2pm

© J.N. Urbanski 2pm

© J.N. Urbanski 2.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 2.40pm

Daily Catskills: 02/21/16

43F by 11am, overcast, but still bright. 45F by 2pm.

© MAU

© MAU

Daily Catskills: 02/17/16

25F at 8.30am and overcast with a crunchy layer of frosted snow. Large chunks of ice flowing downstream and thick snow dumped on the mountain peaks only.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.50pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.50pm

 

Daily Catskills: 02/16/16

48F by 10.30am with the extra blanket of overnight snow having been completely blown away in an overnight storm and replaced with ice.  52F, humid with torrential rain and strong winds for most of the day. A 24-hour smorgasbord of weather.

© J.N. Urbanski 2pm

© J.N. Urbanski 2pm

 

Daily Catskills: 02/13/16

Still only 8F by 11am with high winds, a few more inches of overnight snow, fast-moving snow squalls and a shimmering sky. Down to 2F by noon.

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

Daily Catskills: 02/12/16

7F at 8.30am and very bright sunshine through the hazy cloud, rising to 20F by 10.30am.

© J.N. Urbanski 10.30am

© J.N. Urbanski 10.30am

The Catskill 35 (W): Sugarloaf Mountain

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The Pecoy Notch trail must be magical in the summer because even in the winter, when it’s bare and cold, it’s charming in a way that other gaps and passes are not. The first 0.25 miles is a gentle incline and before you have time to be surprised at how quickly you arrived at it, you’re upon Dibble’s Quarry, a defunct quarry that runs down the side of the incline, on which someone has built a large stone stage and several over-sized stone chairs in which to relax. Behind the stone stage there’s a small room that looks like it’s on its way to becoming a small stone cabin equipped with stone picnic tables inside and out. Downhill, there are various lookout notches and seating built in the side of the hill from stone. The entire landmark is essentially a bluestone auditorium with a stunning view of Kaaterskill High Peak. Before you come to Pecoy Notch itself, which is a notch between Twin Mountain and Sugarloaf, you pass a frozen lake and then a frozen swamp, which adds an unexpected air of mystery. From the frozen swamp, you can clearly see the two mountains. The Notch from there to the next mile markers is a dense thicket of spruces with a soft forest floor covered in gnarly tree roots and fir needles. After the quarry, but well before the Notch, there’s a half-frozen, roaring waterfall that cascades across the trail and over the edge of the mountain. This stream is is a little tricky to cross, but shallow enough, and there are just enough boulders to help you pass.

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Daily Catskills: 02/09/16

19F at 8.30am, overcast and bitter rising to 25F and some snow.

 

Daily Catskills: 02/07/16

31F at 8.30 with hazy sunshine, rising to 43F by 3pm.

© J.N. Urbanski 12.50pm

© J.N. Urbanski 12.50pm

Daily Catskills: 02/05/16

32F by 11am, with shimmering cloud and a bone-chilling, gusty wind, warming up to 36F by 1pm and more sunny. Update: 36F with clear skies by 3pm.

© J.N. Urbanski 3.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 3.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 3.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 3.40pm

The Catskill 35 (W): Wittenberg

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

A couple of accidents on the peaks – Kaaterskill and Sherrill – this past week remind us how treacherous winter hiking can be. It’s not only the cold, icy terrain that’s a threat; if you’re tired or hungry, circumstances can quickly go from uncomfortable to dangerous. Once fatigue sets in, an ordinarily innocent stumble on a boulder can easily turn into a fall or disable a knee or ankle. In addition, if your under layers are soaked in sweat a rest break could allow them to freeze. These are potentially fatal conditions. Listen to your instinct when it says you’re really too tired to attempt to climb up that 50-feet-high vertical pile of jagged rocks. Except, I didn’t.

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Daily Catskills: 01/31/16

28F at 8.30am, rising to 45F by mid-afternoon. Ice and snow melting quickly off the peaks and 53F reported in some areas.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.50pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.50pm

Daily Catskills: 01/30/16

32F by 11am and overcast with periods of brightness. 40F by 2.30pm with snow rapidly melting on the peaks.

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Daily Catskills: 01/29/16

28F at 10am with light but persistent snow throughout the morning: a white out on the peaks. 34F by 2pm.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.40pm

Daily Catskills: 01/28/16

32F at 8.30am with clear skies: bright and sunny. 35F by 3pm and densely overcast.

© J.N. Urbanski 12.20pm

© J.N. Urbanski 12.20pm

 

Daily Catskills: 01/27/16

35F at 8.30am and overcast with a chilly wind blowing the odd snowflake. Scattered snowstorms by mid-afternoon.

© J.N. Urbanski 11.30am

© J.N. Urbanski 11.30am

The Catskill 35: Slide Mountain

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

A return to the stunning Slide Mountain for the second time this year, ascending into the seductive clutches of a dense forest of snow-laden conifers, with a copy of John Burroughs’ In The Catskills. A commemorative plaque to Burroughs is affixed to a large rock at the summit under which the writer frequently camped. Slide is so named because of a landslide that occurred in the early nineteenth century on its north face where the scar is still apparent after having been refreshed by another landslide in 1992 and the entire area was thoroughly traversed by the writer.

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Daily Catskills: 01/24/16

A hair under 16F at 8.30am. Clear and sunny, rising to 28F by 2pm. Thick snow on the peaks.

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

The Catskill 35: Big Indian

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Winter hiking in the Catskills is mostly magical, tranquil beauty but uncomfortable if you’re ill prepared and occasionally terrifying. I’ve been conveying my winter hiking experiences here under the Outdoors section on Upstate Dispatch. Or, rather, I’ve been writing about what could possibly go wrong should you decide to attempt a Catskills high peak when it’s 10˚F and weather conditions are a fickle master. True to my British nature, I seem to have created A Pessimist’s Guide to Winter Hiking or a Pessimist’s Guide to Conquering Winter Summits. Last year, I decided to attempt to hike all 35 Catskills peaks over 3500ft in order to join the Catskills 3500 Club and there are four extra peaks required in the winter. What I discovered after having hiked those four is that you can see a lot more of the landscape when it has lost most of its foliage. You literally get the lay of the land. So I’ve been continuing down the list instead of doing the sensible thing and waiting for the spring thaw. However, winter hiking is not for the uncertain.

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Daily Catskills: 01/22/16

21F by 11am, with hazy sunshine, shimmering cloud cover and snow remaining on the peaks.

© J.N. Urbanski 3pm

© Urbanski 3pm

Daily Catskills: 01/18/16

16F at 9am with shimmering blue-white cloud and a thick layer of snow rising to 18F with cloudless, hazy skies.

© J.N. Urbanski 8.30am

© J.N. Urbanski 8.30am