Winter Spent Above The Clouds: Catamount Mountain

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”

– Yvon Chouinard

The Mountain:

I’ve been on this hike a few times now and it never gets old. Along the journey, you always notice new scenes along the trail. No hike will ever be the same even if it’s to the same mountain. Being a Lake Placid 9er and a stand alone mountain in the Adirondacks, I had to do this hike in the winter. There’s some steeper sections to climb up so Kahtoola’s are a must. The hike has its own rock formation known as the “chimney”. Putting your body through this with a full backpack and some winter gear hanging off is tough, so make sure you have a friend to hand off your things to. The summit is almost 360 degree views but there’s a bit blocked off from trees. All around, it boasts some of the best views in the Adirondacks. Getting a clear view of Whiteface in its snowy elements and seeing a small farm below, it feels like you’re on top of the world. Similar to how I felt climbing Colden last winter with Marcy looming over us.

The Climb

Covered in winter gear, my brother, his friend and I started off on the trail. On the way up, we stopped at a few lookouts as the sun broke through the clouds. Mentioned before, the “chimney” can be agitating if you don’t have friends with you to grab your gear if you have snowshoes or other items on carabiners attached to your backpack. After the “chimney”, we reached the false summit. Yes, it seems demoralizing but the summit is about twenty to thirty minutes away. With winter hikes, always make sure you get to the summit before later in the afternoon. Most mountains are prone to wind and capable to have snow at such higher elevations. The scenes from Catamount’s summit that day were unlike any other. When you experience hiking above the clouds, you’ll never be the same. If you’ve hiked above the clouds, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ll give a recap of the hike itself if you’re just scrolling through and provide my photos afterwards. I thought I’d switch it up a bit!

Overview:

Catamount Mountain

  • 3.9 miles RT (according to AllTrails)
  • Elevation gain: 1571 ft (according to AllTrails)
  • Family friendly (in the summer)
  • This is definitely a dog friendly hike but keep your dogs safe if there’s icy or wet conditions
  • Gear: I brought my Garmin inReach, Kahtoola’s, MSR Snowshoes, Gerber Knife, Food/Water, Balaclava, Bandana, Gaiters, Gloves, Beanie
  • Quite steep for most of the trek
Heading through the “chimney”
Frozen scenes with trail sign
Frozen scenery from the summit
B&W scene of Whiteface Mountain from Catamount’s summit
Being above the clouds!
Brother on summit of Catamount Mountain
Whiteface framed through some trees

A big thanks!

If you took the time to read through this, it means the world to me. Catamount Mountain is an incredible hike and a very unique mountain since it isn’t part of a range. There’s no guarantee if you’ll be among the clouds but I can say that you’ll have one hell of an adventure. I’ll go back to this mountain whenever asked since it’s an interesting trek compared to others in the Adirondacks. Anyways, I hope you found some insights in this blog and enjoyed the photos. Until next time, go find a mountain and get climbing!

-Alex

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