|Looking Northeast from Panther Mountain.|
+Leanne was also free today, and wanted to get out for at least one hike during our week in New York. She wanted a good hike but didn’t want to do anything overly difficult, so I ruled out the remaining trail-less peaks which I had not yet been on. And since I’ve been considering leaving trailed Windham High Peak for last, that let me narrow it down to a very small handful of the trailed peaks I had not yet been on. Since views were highly desired - and I knew from a previous visit that Giant Ledge was spectacular, as well as along the route to Panther - it became a no-brainer as to where to go. Furthermore, Panther is one of four peaks that the Catskill 3500 Club requires to be climbed a second time, in Winter, to qualify for membership. Today was December 23, two days into Winter. Another plus! Not only that, but it would possibly be Leanne's first Catskill 3500 peak. Even though she grew up in Kingston, she only did a limited amount of hiking in the area. She may have done a hike up Slide with friends in her college days, but can't remember for sure. If not, this would indeed be her first 3500er, though we had done some other peaks like Tremper and Red Hill together.
We left the parking lot in upper Big Indian Hollow on an icy, snowy trail and began the 500’ climb up to the Slide-Giant Ledge col. The snow was shallow enough, and the ice sporadic enough, that barebooting it worked fine for this section, and indeed for the whole hike, with a couple of exceptions where perhaps microspikes would have been better put on than carried in the pack.
|On the horizon, some of the Devil's Path peaks rising above Tremper Mountain.|
|Fun ledges enroute to Panther Mountain.|
Based on the criteria used by the Catskill 3500 Club, Panther Mountain, at 3,720’ elevation, is the 18th highest peak in the Catskills. Club lists are great, and I like them for specific ranges or regions, but that is only one possible way of looking at it. If one uses an interpolated elevation of 3,730’ and considers only peaks with at least 300’ of prominence, it is tied with Balsam Lake Mountain for 12th highest in the Catskills and tied with Balsam Lake and Lewey Mountains for 65th highest in New York. Regardless of its ranking or elevation, or any other stat, it is a great summit with a couple of nice viewpoints. Not as open or expansive as those from Giant Ledge, they add the perspective of increased elevation, as well as extend it farther northwest to include peaks such as Sherrill and North Dome, two more I have yet to climb.
|On the return hike up Giant Ledge.|
|One last view from Giant Ledge.|
The route of the Giant Ledge and Panther hike. To see a larger map click here.
1,900' cumulative elevation gain
Pictures from this hike
gpx file and topos
Catskill 3500 Club
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