• Dennis O'Heney

Devil's Path (East Half) - Catskill's, NY

As preparation for my trip to Mexico to climb Pico de Orizaba, this week Julia and I headed north to the Catskill's where we planned to split the weekend between hiking and climbing.

First up, the hiking day. I was hoping to get a big day in to push myself and see if my short (2 week) stint of training had paid any dividends. I picked Devil's Path, as it is one of the most notorious hikes in the Catskill's featuring a total of ~8,500 of elevation gain, steep terrain, and really nice views. We (I) decided to try for half of the total route, starting from the East and hiking to Plateau Mountain, where we would turn around and back-track our way home. Total estimated mileage for this was 16-18 ish miles. Well, once Julia was informed of this plan and we realized how much slower we were moving on the ice, we cut the route short and stopped at the summit of Sugarloaf, one peak before Plateau. All was good though, and we really did have quite the adventure despite truncating the plans a bit.

Everyone likes summit selfies, and while we're all entitled to our own opinions, I think it's basically a necessity at each summit...

Anyway, the hiking was really pretty great, and Julia and I both enjoyed being back in the mountains again. The main feature of the day though, was the ice. It was EVERYWHERE.

Without our micro-spikes, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been able to make it past the first mountain on the trail, Indian Head. Even with the spikes on, we had to be very careful with our footing, and each of us still took a couple of spills.

It really was a lot of fun though, and while the ice slowed progress a lot on the way down, we were able to maintain a pretty good pace going uphill. I was tracking our progress the whole time on my GPS watch, and we were able to maintain an average moving pace of about 2 miles per hour. Usually, in the spring/summertime, we would target anywhere between 3 and 4 mph for a hike like this; but given the conditions, we're pretty happy with the results.

By the end of the day, our whole lower bodies were sore and ready to be done. We got back to the van a little before 5pm, with a little daylight left to relax for a little and decide on dinner. We settled on a diner, refueled a bit, and then realized that one of Julia's best friends from high school was in NY only about 25 minutes away! So, going to visit her and have a drink was the perfect way to wrap up the evening. Afterwards, we headed off to a park and ride to spend the night.

So, when I say we split the weekend between hiking and climbing, unfortunately, it wasn't necessarily an even split. Sunday morning we slept in a little, and then went to the Gravity Vault climbing gym in Poughkipsie, NY. We hadn't yet been to this one, and it was a little cold/damp for us to chance things at the Gunks. Also, I had loaned my trad rack to a friend and Julia didn't bring hers, so the fact that the weather wasn't cooperating anyway was a bit of a consolation. The climbing was pretty good though, and Julia was able to get a little training of her own in for her upcoming trip to Red Rock, NV.

All in all, another great weekend!

#hiking #catskills #DevilsPath #ice #training #vanlife #tinyhouse #tinyhouse #ontheroad