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Old 02-08-2015, 04:23 PM   #1
Hear the Footsteps
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Vanderwhacker Ski and Climb plus Goodnow 2-7-15

Vanderwhacker Ski and Climb plus Goodnow 2-7-15

Some pics
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hearth...7648387420513/

I've wanted to do this trip since the first day of winter when Claudia and I did a ski and climb to Pillsbury.

We mixed things up compared to what's probably typical by skiing the RR tracks to 1/2 way point on the road instead of easier route totally by the road. The RR route adds about 3 miles making the round trip 13 to 14 miles.

The RR route was a bit on the slow side. There was about 2 ft of soft snow to break through. As a result there's time to take in the details. On the way I thought about what a huge earth moving project this was. Many places the RR bed was 10 feet or more above the natural terrain.

From the RR crossing the road was tracked by snow machines and it goes gently and generally uphill.

A pleasant surprise on signing in was to see that two large groups out of Speculator climbed Vanderwhacker on the 4th setting up a climb much easier than it could be. The snow was still giving, not firm, and there was 2-4" of new powder.

At the observers cabin we found the door wide open hardware broken beyond our ability to repair. This was my 4th trip here and I'd never seen the inside of the cabin. Surprise, it has a rather nice interior. Before leaving we decided we should secure the door closed. Improvising we found a hanger inside and used is as a fastener inbetween an eyebolt in the door and a long wire wrapped around a column on the porch. This should keep out the small varmits and the snow.

At the tower there were no views to speak of and not much breeze either. The cab was open and steps clear. We had a look from on high, a quick snack and then returned. From 28N to summit it had taken about 4 hrs and 1:45 from the register. On the return trip one hour to the register and another 2 to 28N.

From the register to the RR crossing there were some nice hills to glide down.

The return on the RR tracks didn't seem the 0:30 faster than it was compared to the approach. The snow was too soft to get any glide going and the deep snow alongside our track made it impossible to establish any useful poling. Almost back to 28N we were overtaken by four snow machines. We had a quick chat with the leader who said they were out clearing blowdown.

We filled out the daylight hours climbing Goodnow. The route there is in good shape and we passed a group of 3 descending. The views were better from the cab than it was at Vanderwhacker. Visibility to Rich Lake and beyond at all compass points. We looked down on snow machines in the valley looking the size of ants.

This was a great snow weekend. Peak snow conditions. Hope it stays this way awhile.

Don
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:02 AM   #2
trent
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The wife and I visited Vanderwhacker as our last summer firetower challenge climb last fall. We also visited the observers cabin and found it pretty much wide open. When we left we used most likely that same clothes hanger/wire tying it from the door to the porch.

On one hand it was nice to finally a get a good look in one of those cabins, unfortunately it leaves it open to getting trashed. Of course we secured it the best we could when we left (as you did too) but there's not really much one can do about it spur of the moment.

Good thing that hikers, (more often than not) are respectable people.

I just remembered that I've seen inside the Wakely cabin from the windows as well. It has the same layout as Vanderwhacker.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:06 AM   #3
DSettahr
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If you're interested in seeing the inside of one of those cabins from a more "official" perspective (with better upkeep), I know that volunteers who staff the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower in the Catskills to provide education and interpretation to hikers on the summit often get to spend the night in the cabin at the summit for the weekend that they are volunteering.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:26 PM   #4
Hear the Footsteps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trent View Post
The wife and I visited Vanderwhacker as our last summer firetower challenge climb last fall. We also visited the observers cabin and found it pretty much wide open. When we left we used most likely that same clothes hanger/wire tying it from the door to the porch.

On one hand it was nice to finally a get a good look in one of those cabins, unfortunately it leaves it open to getting trashed. Of course we secured it the best we could when we left (as you did too) but there's not really much one can do about it spur of the moment.

Good thing that hikers, (more often than not) are respectable people.

I just remembered that I've seen inside the Wakely cabin from the windows as well. It has the same layout as Vanderwhacker.
I climbed last fall we didn't go in the cabin. Perhaps we didn't try hard enough. That time.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:32 PM   #5
Hear the Footsteps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
If you're interested in seeing the inside of one of those cabins from a more "official" perspective (with better upkeep), I know that volunteers who staff the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower in the Catskills to provide education and interpretation to hikers on the summit often get to spend the night in the cabin at the summit for the weekend that they are volunteering.
Yes thanks, that's a great opportunity....

I took a friend there on one of the weekends when Balsam Lake cabin was open and the Rankin's were staffing it. Great place and time to visit. We got a good tour.

Same friend and I happened in by good fortune at Hunter Mt when a group was re-doing the roof shingles. One of the caretakers gave us the nickel tour.

Both Hunter and Balsam Lake are in great condition.

Don
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