Denial on Sugarloaf!

Welp, as they say- you can’t win ’em all. We had a bit of warm weather leading up to the first weekend of April and decided to check another peak off of B’s dwindling list of 3500s by hiking Sugarloaf. We had successfully hit the adjacent peak a week earlier, and were expecting slightly better trail conditions based on the recent warmer temps. In reality, it had been very melty the day prior and froze solid overnight. When we arrived at the trailhead the temperature was in the mid 20s and the wind was howling. As such, ice was thick and abundant. Did I mention it was insanely windy? I HATE wind.

B and I made it up to the Mink Hollow saddle just fine. About a quarter of a mile up the mountain from there, we started to encounter some difficulties. We both had crampons, which theoretically should have been enough. But when we approached a crag that resembled more of a luge track than a hiking trail, we had to pump the brakes. After checking it out from almost every angle, I precariously scooted my way up. Apparently my ascent looked as difficult as it was. After observing my scramble, B decided it was time to turn around. I gingerly climbed back down to the base of the crag wind howling the entire time, like a GD Arctic jet engine in my face.

Even though it was a blow (a pun, get it?) to the ego having to turn around, B made the right call. The risk was not worth the reward. There was no cell service. So if one of us would have suffered a serious injury (blunt head trauma, for example), there is no cell service. The injured party would most likely have frozen to death before the other could make it back to the truck and return with a rescue crew. This was the first time in the Catskills where I felt like it would have actually been appropriate to have ropes, harnesses, ice axes, and yes, climbing helmets.

The Spot Where We Decided to Turn Around

Alas, most of the ice and snow will most likely be gone in a few weeks. We will give Sugarloaf another go then. We will trade in the freezing temps and precarious footing for ticks, mosquitos and bears. Maybe I’ll bring ropes and harnesses for good measure. I may even break down and get us some climbing helmets. If you made it this far, I’ll leave you with a dad joke-

According to This Sign We Saw, Spring is Around the Corner

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