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Old 12-31-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
fvrwld
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Mill Brook Trail to Pharoah Lake?

Any word on conditions? Snow depth?

Thanks.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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Can't say about that trail in particular, but there's about 18" of snow in the area.

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Hey Val, If you head there soon I'd also be curious about the conditions, and also curious if the gathered junk at Watch Rock Point has been removed.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:01 PM   #4
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Lots of snow nearby

I skied Cat-mtn today from Edgecomb POnd (snowshoes for the steepest portion of the ascent). Skied the entire way out. For those sections of the former road around the portions (now marked "re-routed" and not ski friendly) we sank in a foot of powder - almost too slow. Tracked sections easy skiing. No crust at all. Beautiful day and excellent view.

Based on past history, I'd guess that the trail into Pharoah from the south would have solid cover and be easily skiable.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
Hey Val, If you head there soon I'd also be curious about the conditions, and also curious if the gathered junk at Watch Rock Point has been removed.
We are headed in tomorrow so I'll let you know. This will be one of our first real skis so I'll be happy if we make it just to the lake.


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I skied Cat-mtn today from Edgecomb POnd (snowshoes for the steepest portion of the ascent). Skied the entire way out. For those sections of the former road around the portions (now marked "re-routed" and not ski friendly) we sank in a foot of powder - almost too slow. Tracked sections easy skiing. No crust at all. Beautiful day and excellent view.
Bob, thanks for sharing. If I remember correctly, the trail up Cat is wide and would probably be a good descent for us when we get a bit more experience. Could you have skied up with skins? Or are skins useless when ascending in fresh snow? I'm a total noob and trying to figure out if I need to buy some.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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There should be a good foot of snow cover at least.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:46 PM   #7
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I did Cat as a pure ski 2 years ago and skinned up the last 3/4 mile or so. At that time the trail was somewhat slick and the "trough" from snow shoers had a bit of a crusty edge - making teles and getting into deeper powder (for speed control) a bit tough. I wore a helmet (thankfully).

Yesterday, I went with someone without skins and assumed we'd switch to shoes and leave our skis. The "hiking" trail now has two "reroutes" departing from the former road bed for most of the upper section to the summit. We went up these (thru trees and not ski friendly) on shoes but carried our skis planning on skiing down the road bed exclusively. With the deep untracked powder it was a good - and fun - decision. I will say that there were a few obstructions to watch for and my partner did snap a pole.

While the lower trail is not demanding, the upper is clearly for experienced skiers only. There were two cars at the Thomas Mtn trailhead, an alternate access to Cat with up/down skiing for any level. It was one of my "top 10" ADK winter adventures. Little wind, moderate temp, great view and plenty of good snow. Did not see anyone else the whole day.

To answer your question, with full skins I've gone up deep snow before. Anything less ("kicker skins") might not be enough except where tracked a bit.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:55 PM   #8
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Bob K, was the Thomas Mtn trailhead actually plowed out? or were the cars parked on the road. Snowshoed that a couple years ago, and parking was a real problem. Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:57 PM   #9
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The trailhead parking at Thomas was not plowed. Not sure it gets plowed except alongside the road. The two cars were far enough over to avoid blocking the road - though not many more could have fit safely. There was no plowed out parking at Edgecomb either but enough room on the side. I did shovel a bit to enhance the spot. There is a lot of snow up there. I suspect the town will do more to clear some spaces for cars eventually, if not the actual lot (not sure a plow could turn around in there).
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Enjoyed a great ski into Pharoah Lake today. The first mile or so (the unplowed rutted road) could use a bit more snow to make it more enjoyable. We thought it best to remove our skis to cross the boardwalk just past the hi-clearance trailhead as the water through there was open and flowing in spots. The rest of the trail into the lake was in good shape. Had to slow down for some open creek/drainage crossings but nothing even this beginner couldn't handle. We crossed paths with several other skiers on the way out so the trail is well packed.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
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While the lower trail is not demanding, the upper is clearly for experienced skiers only. There were two cars at the Thomas Mtn trailhead, an alternate access to Cat with up/down skiing for any level. It was one of my "top 10" ADK winter adventures. Little wind, moderate temp, great view and plenty of good snow. Did not see anyone else the whole day.
Thanks for the info. Just to clarify...the Richard Hays Philips trail is the easier one?
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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The Phillips trail (blue markers between Thomas & Cat) is not on a former rd bed and not ski friendly. I hiked it in summer several years ago when recently cut. It might be better now but I am not tempted to ski it. I know people who hiked it 2 summers ago and regretted it.

Anyone could easily ski on the former jeep road between the trailhead near Thomas and the section approaching Cat. This is up/down rolling and no serious steep sections.

Where the first "reroute" shows (getting close to Cat) on the linked map (newer then mine) is the beginning of the steeper upper section. At the lower end of the second "reroute" we did see a sign that the old trail (marked yellow, former rd) was closed and the Blue trail should be used. The same sign was at the upper end of the "closed" section. There were also some trees apparently laid across the former rd bed at each end. We snow shoed up these sections and I would not ski down the "rerouted" sections by choice.

Knowing that skiing on top of 18+ inches of snow would not damage the closed trail nor cause further erosion, i felt no guilt descending it. It would be great to think that these sections might be "ski only" - much like a few portions of the trails to Marcy or Avalanche pass.

Lastly, to be clear, I started at Edgecomb pond, not the trailhead by Thomas. That would certainly be doable, but a longer trip. If you start at Edgecomb, head up the jeep rd and after going around the gate (new) be sure to turn right. Shortly thereafter, the trail on the former rd bed from Thomas will be evident. Then turn left (see nice new wooden sign) to follow the trail up Cat. The gate apparently marks the start of the Lk George Land Conservancy property. The rd from Edgecomb is shown (though not obvious) on the map.
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