View Full Version : Catskill Conditions

01-29-2010, 02:23 PM
I started a new thread and I hope the old one gets left by the wayside.

Surprisingly good conditions today! Things are recovering quickly due to the extremely cold temps. Climbed in the Kitchen again today and was able to lead everything.

Drove through Stony Clove, 4 cars in the lot and people below LBD. Looks like things are going to be there, but not great for the weekend.

I'm thinking the ravines are out due to high water.

Saw a party at Moores too. They were way out right, and it looked like many of the pillars aren't quite safe again yet. Lots of water there still.

If the cold continues there's going to be some amazing ice down here!

01-29-2010, 03:58 PM
thanks for the new thread, and the update on conditions.

01-29-2010, 04:07 PM
Hey man, ... is there any snow on the ground, or is the approach muddy?
Think it's worth heading to the Kitchen from NYC? Might it be crowded because everything else is out, or might it be vacant because folks might not venture out this weekend as much? Thanks.

P.S. Are you Ryan, from your profile website? Thanks. = Jas P.

01-29-2010, 04:57 PM
Hey Ryan, that was prolly me "way out right" if you drove by 3:30-5 PMish. There's some neat stuff formed up there. I posted a couple photos.

Lhotsa, with the temps, I doubt there's any mud to worry about. Not a lot of snow, but some.

01-29-2010, 05:50 PM
Thanks for the pics, Mike. Where are you that you opted to check it out over there? Must not be a long drive?
I guess I'm asking anybody on here, whether there's folks planning on going out or not. I like climbing, but I also like my face and don't want to cut it up with poorly bonded ice breaking off. But if I stay home and then read on Monday that it was rad, I'll be bummed. But if I go tomorrow and it sucks, I'll have wished I stayed home and finished up some work.
Plus I've got two buddies I climb with, one says 'yea' and the other says 'nay' so I guess I have to be the tiebreaker, and I'm leaning towards 'nay.' I guess I'm wondering what the general consensus is out there now, after a couple days.
Is it worth it? Yeah, I know, ... one man's "worth it" is another man's "bury it."
Gotta love ice climbing, ... not much else like it, heh heh.

02-08-2010, 10:11 AM
Climbed Buttermilk Falls on Sunday (2/7) - It was interesting. Everything from totally unconsolidated, candled, chandelier ice all the way to fat thunker ice. We didn't climb the last pitch though - it looked pretty intimidating and quite unconsolidated. Also, it was already 4:30 PM when we got to the base.

Be careful on the flats between pitches. Hiking out, we saw a number of body-sized postholes where people had fallen through the ice into the flowing river beneath. They were probably submerged thigh to waist deep. Hypothermia kills!

02-08-2010, 01:00 PM
Climbed at Moore's today (2/8). Lot's of options!

02-08-2010, 01:03 PM
Was up there on Sat. 2-6 along with a dozen or more others. The last pitch is good, with an easy line on the center flow left, and a more challenging one on the right. (Mike R. lead the right hand line and had to excavate for screws.) The right-hand variation on the next-to-last pitch is in fatter than I've ever seen - ice all the way up, a solid 4.

02-12-2010, 06:35 AM
anyone been into the Chasm recently?

02-13-2010, 05:25 PM
Buttermilk was in fine shape today. Top tier was dripping a good bit. Plenty of lines. Major Michael, thanks again for the lap on your TR.

02-14-2010, 03:46 PM
Was at the Chasm yesterday. Found a couple of 20-40 ft. routes straight up.
Going again Tuesday.

02-15-2010, 06:22 AM
It's been a while, but we are in the Chasm last Sunday (the 7th) and things were in great shape.

02-15-2010, 06:45 AM
Devil's Kitchen Sunday, Feb 14th. Coal Kill Falls is in, (right side). The whole left side is very wet and not climbable. Only one small section of the middle is touched down and it is overall very thin. Did see a party in the Hell Hole. Also Stoney Clove has some climbs. The Entertainer, and The Curtain were in. Moore's Bridge area is in although there was definately an accident yesterday and we saw blood on the ice...

02-15-2010, 06:53 AM
20-40' routes? Great shape? What chasm are you folks talking about? We were in there yesterday and "great shape" is not the way I would describe it. Falls in, with plenty of lines. The curtain on the far left variation not there. Tall routes on rt not in or not there. Advocate tinselled, wet and good luck. Dan and the Devil nothing. Area needs help.

Randy J Goat
02-15-2010, 04:09 PM
There is The Chasam right along rt 23 A near Moores Bridge then there is the Black Chasam where the Advocate and Mephisto Walt and Cold Kill falls is.No the Balck Chasam is not 40feet..lol

02-16-2010, 09:20 AM
the Chasm (pronounced like Shazaamm) was Captain Marvelous on Friday 2/12.

Falls was all encapsulated - no open water. Fantastic icicles on the left Mephisto Walls.

One smooth barely interrupted mega-icicle was extending tendrils directly on to the bottom - blue green.

Randy J Goat
02-16-2010, 05:07 PM
Claw,you are still referring to the BLACK Chasam, there is another area listed in the guidebook simply called The Chasam which sound slike the one with 40 foot cliffs...unless you think Mephisto and Advocate are only 40 feet..lol

02-16-2010, 05:40 PM
The artist formally known as 'Chasam'.

02-20-2010, 05:01 AM
Hey y'all! I'm pretty knew to the area and was wondering how long the ice holds. In the past are climbs still in by mid March?

02-20-2010, 12:00 PM
i think mid march is not unreasonable (i hope, i hope). I climbed buttermilk falls on March 16th last year. It was 62 degrees and by the end of the day things were falling. By the 18th I don't think there was anything left....anywhere in the cats.

02-22-2010, 03:01 AM
Climbed at Moore's yesterday. PLENTY of ice to be had, though a bit brittle at times. Big lines on right side wall are starting to look a bit scary, yet there is still at least a couple of leadable line (IMO - sure somebody stronger in mind and body could pull off more!)

Palenville corner looks like it's going to drop in a day or two. There is a complete crack going through the main flow and the base is only about as thick as my thigh! Maybe with perfect conditions(and divine intervention!) over the next week, it will heal up?

Asbestos is taking a serious hit with all this sun and above freezing temps. Looks like today there is more sun! The approach and base is mostly mud and many routes are baked thin with some mixed.

02-22-2010, 03:08 AM
In past years there has often been ice into the 2nd and 3rd week of March. The Black Chasm has been climbed in April, though I couldn't speak to conditions.

I've climbed at Moore's, Buttermilk, Hilyer and Viola all in the 2nd and 3rd week of March. It goes without saying to expect late season ice (un-bonded, baked, wet?) with the usual exciting top-outs!

02-22-2010, 04:48 AM
Black Chasm was in great conditions on Sunday
It was cold and it wasn't wet except one or two lines.
Everything was frozen and brittle.
If temps stay like this the whole week climbing will be good next weekend.

02-22-2010, 05:18 AM
Kaaterskill was gapped by 20 feet on the lower porion of the upper falls on Sunday, Feb 21. Easily bypassed by P1 of Gottlieb's on the right or whatever is on the left, grade 4ish. Top of Kaaterskill had plenty of ice to be self supporting on the right side, probably left side as well if the water flow down the center takes it's toll. What a beautiful position that climb sits in. Even the hemlock forest with the big boulders at the top was special.

02-22-2010, 06:17 AM
LBD - good, only slightly pegged, slightly steeper than usual after the opening section.

The Curtain - very good, not as wet as usual on p1 crux, good ice to ground on p2. Bolt at opening move and a rap station top left.

Sorenson's - p1 no go. p2 looked a go, but we bailed just below the very delaminated top sheet off a screw & thread at the prominent bollard.

Overall most of the reliable lines are in nice shape. East side looks snowy.

02-22-2010, 06:37 AM
BMF and Wildcat were super yesterday! No open water, variations from 2 to 4+ and Mixed hard. Did a line on the second to last tier right of the line on the right that we had never seen in (4+ with some tree issues). Will post pics when I get them from partner. Everything is fat and with steeper options than usual.

Wildcat was great with the left column superb.

Express descent is still kinda nasty as not much snow making it through the trees.

02-22-2010, 06:42 AM
We were on Palenville Corner saturday afternoon but probably shouldnt have. I wouldnt describe it as falling apart so much as liquifying. Took a cpl decent screws up high but barring a significant change, that may be the last trip. Even the belayer had to dodge a toppling ice pillar.

Jeff's was still good but it was warm down there

02-22-2010, 07:22 AM
Buttermilk was still good on Sunday. We chose one very wet line on the penultimate pitch which led to a very stiff rope and wet hands, but other than that nice soft, fat ice and mild temperatures. A good day.

02-22-2010, 11:45 AM
Black Chasm was great on Friday afternoon. Lead the Black Chasm Falls (the select northeast climbs book has it listed as devil's kitchen). Was my 3rd lead on ice ever (second of the day). Took screws all the way, climbed the right side. The center seemed slushy in parts, but the slightly snow covered right side went well.

Also lead a unknown (aka not in the guidebook) 80 ft flow on Stony Clove East (in line with the historical marker and directly across from the Little Black Dyke. Great conditions there.

Pics will be added later.

02-23-2010, 02:15 PM
Anyone got any beta on how much snow is on the ground as a result of today's weather?

I've got tentative plans to head up early to do Buttermilk tomorrow morning with a buddy, but I'm wondering if we'll need slowshoes. Especially considering that tomorrow is calling for another 3"-6" to fall.

Also, if we're in a brand new Suby Outback, should we be concerned about road conditions? Particularly 23A....

02-23-2010, 03:12 PM

02-23-2010, 04:11 PM
Try more like 5-9 inches tonight on top of what they got today. The Shawangunks have gotten about 8 so far, so Kaaterskill Clove probably has a little more. I'd say you'll be looking at 12-18 inches by tomorrow morning. Supposed to get snow during the day tomorrow as well.


02-23-2010, 05:13 PM
The Subie is only as good as the tires on it. Bring a shovel to clear out a parking spot and to dig your way back onto the road after the plows box you in.

The forecasts I'm seeing say be prepared for 10-20" by tomorrow afternoon. Nothing you can't posthole through at the end of an otherwise fun day. I mean, why leave anything less than absolutely exhausted?

02-23-2010, 06:42 PM
Great info, thanks everyone. Looks like I'll be bringing along the extra flotation tails for my snowshoes <<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/smile.gif

02-23-2010, 06:47 PM
Getting home maybe the crux, as Blizzard #4 bears down on the Hudson Valley after the little mess that is going on now. Snowpack by this weekend could be huge up there. (4'+) It should make for some epic snow climbing by weekend.

02-23-2010, 06:58 PM
Climbed the past few days in the catskills. heavy wet snow all day today at the playground. at least 7 inches but 4:30p.m. took almost 2 hours to make it back to New Paltz. Many accidents on 23a and all the way home. Cars were moving at 10-15mph all the way to 87.

yesterday i was at bridal veil falls. p1 was out as was japanese falls. Pitch 2 was overall in good shape. Large blocks of ice were falling off tears of joy in the afternoon.

02-24-2010, 06:17 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: deltabrian</div><div class="ubbcode-body">http://picasaweb.google.com/brian.haugli/CatSkillsIceClimbing# </div></div>

Nice Pictures....but the LBD is a WI4- not WI5....

02-24-2010, 10:24 AM
Hi all, platte clove got 17 inches of snow, currently misting. tomorrow afternoon we are expecting 5-10 inches depending on the track of the storm. there are many places without power and only the major items seem to be getting plowed currently....so i would say that turn offs and parking lots unless used as a plow turn have not been plowed. Please keep in mind that the plow uses the dead end lot at the end of platte clove to turn around if you're in the Devil's Kitchen area over the next few days.

02-24-2010, 10:38 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: farmax</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: deltabrian</div><div class="ubbcode-body">http://picasaweb.google.com/brian.haugli/CatSkillsIceClimbing# </div></div>

Nice Pictures....but the LBD is a WI4- not WI5.... </div></div>

That makes sense. I probably just mistyped. Great area, can't wait to get back up there.

02-24-2010, 03:57 PM
Drove through the Catskills today. Snow/rain is entirely regional and based largely on elevation. At my place in Gardiner there's no snow (maybe an inch in some spots) while High Falls has a foot in some spots. However, Tannersville, Platte Clove, and Stoney Clove have upwards of 2 feet and some areas have closer to 3 feet!

The snow is heavy, wet and hard to walk through and deal with on lower angle climbs. I soloed an easy line at the playground (practically digging the whole way) and I'm reasonably certain I could have fallen and walked away from it because of the large amounts of snow (not gonna test that hypothesis). Tomorrow's supposed to be just as bad or worse, so expect as much as 4 feet of new snow by the weekend.

Snowshoes, poles, and full waterproof gear is a must right now. It's warm but very wintry still:)Skis would be good for the Chasm if you have them.

Conditions seem good although some south facing stuff is starting to get baked. It has actually been colder here than many locations up north and this snow should help keep the ground insulated for a little while at least. Have fun out there.

02-24-2010, 05:45 PM
Did BMF today with 2 friends. Broke trail the whole way up on slowshoes - there's a nice foot path that will last until the new snow tomorrow morning, haha. Crossing the stream is slightly scary.

Fat lines are available throughout the entire climb, but be careful - the snow is concealing some thin spots. I took a swing on P4 (I think it was 4 - it's the low angle hump near the top) that fractured away a piece of ice the size of my torso and opened up a 3' hole to the waterfall underneath. Got SOAKED. Got scared out of my gourd too - I was soloing up until that point. Fired in a screw and yelled down to be put on belay.

Moore's Bridge is looking very baked and detached from the road, but only saw it momentarily as I drove by.

03-01-2010, 03:45 AM
Hey Y'all, Hit the twin pillars and the playground in Stony Clove yesterday. Its been years since I've seen so much snow in one place! Had to dig out parking. The approach wasn't too bad as climbers from Saturday and earlier parties of the day had mostly tamped it down, but deviate from the beaten path and expect chest deep snow in some places. Playground was mostly snow climbing. Left pillar getting more and more fragile by the day. A huge chunk came down just while my group and I were standing at the base! No one injured.


http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3043/p1050922.jpg (http://img19.imageshack.us/i/p1050922.jpg/)

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/5904/p1050926.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/i/p1050926.jpg/)

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/1747/p1050928g.jpg (http://img62.imageshack.us/i/p1050928g.jpg/)

Sorry for the sideways pics <<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/frown.gif

03-01-2010, 01:19 PM
I'm planning on doing buttermilk falls this Sat. Can anyone tell me what to expect for the approach after all that snow. Anyone know if snowshoes will be needed. Any advice is welcome, I've never done this climb before. I do have the guide and I know where to park. Thanks

03-01-2010, 01:49 PM
Definitely bring snowshoes! And let us know how it goes!

03-01-2010, 01:53 PM
Take the shoes and leave early. The short sections between pitches should be equally deep. Maybe more so than the lower approach. With night temps below freezing the pack could get firm enough. With the daytime melting going on, the creek crossing could be high water as well. I wouldn't want to get caught on the far side with rising water and no snow shoes for what would be a long miserable schlog out. Good luck. RC

03-01-2010, 02:46 PM
I don't remember what the guidebook says about the approach, but I seem to recall that it wasn't super clear to me. So here's the abridged version of the approach:

Park. Walk 20-25 yards back down the road. Jump over the guardrail (although it's almost certainly buried by snow). Descend the steep hill. At the bottom of the hill, cross the stream - this is the most dangerous part of your day, by far. Be careful and use good judgment. In all likelihood, you might even cross the stream without knowing it - the snow might be bridging the stream.

Once over stream, ascend the banks about 10 feet up and you'll find a nice flat section on which you can turn left and basically &quot;catwalk&quot; across the slope for maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile, at which point you'll hit the next stream/river. This is the bottom flow of BMF. Without crossing the water, turn right and head up the hill, making sure to stay out of the water drainage. As long as you follow the water up, you'll hit the first ice in about 45+ mins, depending on how slow the uphill ascent is.

I climbed BMF last Tuesday and there was already about 12&quot;-18&quot; of fresh snow on the climb. It was like swimming uphill. WI3 got me as tired as WI4+ because you had to brush all the snow off before swinging. It's going to be much, much harder now. Good luck!

Mountain Skills
03-02-2010, 03:31 AM
I broke trail last Saturday. Cleaned a good protion of the pitches. Yesterday I was back again. The foot path in is no problem. Crossing the creek is no problem. You won't need snowshoes at all. Have fun it's in great shape and is totally amazing to look at with all the snow.

03-02-2010, 06:16 AM
Thanks to everyone for the great beta.

03-02-2010, 07:23 AM
Thanks to Doug for breaking trail up to Buttermilk this weekend. There's pretty much one path for climbing up there right now due to the deep snow. The approach is as fast as it's ever going to get.

The normal final pitch hasn't been climbed yet, There's 4 feet of snow waiting for some sucker...

Watch out, that snow on top makes things pretty tough on the top out. The alternate finish to the right is in great shape, as fat as I've ever seen it, and the pitch on the right below the final tier is also in great shape right now. It's definitely worth the trip in there now, it's beautiful with all the snow.

03-02-2010, 01:22 PM
Well, with all the positive reports, thick ice, broken trail, and open parking, there should be plenty of folks at BMF soon enough. Enjoy? RC

03-02-2010, 01:29 PM
Maybe someone could post some pics if they get up there before Staurday.

03-02-2010, 02:37 PM
Climbed buttermilk falls today (minus the final pitch). it was in the high 40s today. There is still a lot of snow on many of the pitches and funky, airy pockets too. Periodically heavy snow would drop from the top out or from trees enough to knock a climber down.

The final pitch still has a ton of snow at the top out. Not appealing at all. It looks like people are still going to the right as Ryan mentioned above.