This hike was really Graham's hike - I just tagged along. He was wanting to go out with a few of his friends for a short but scenic Adirondack hike. And, he wanted to do it in a day from Ottawa, and leave at 8am. Yeah, better be short! I rifled (in my mind) through all of the good short hikes, and although I was tempted to choose the Jay Range (having been turned back just a month and a half ago), I ultimately decided that Catamount had the best desired qualities - closest to Ottawa, short, and excellent views for its height.
As it turns out, most of Graham's friends couldn't make it - just one: Melanie. So, it was just three of us in the CR-V.
The forecast for the day was "mostly cloudy". However, there were a few promising blue-ish spots in the sky. The temperature was not too cold, although we could hear a stiff breeze above the trees. There was no one at all before us, and the trail register said that no one had climbed the peak for almost a week. We had it to ourselves!
There was fresh snow around, which was nice. There was only about 6 inches of it, over bare ground and rock, which was less nice. It was more of the usual dilemma - slip and slide on snow covered rocks and roots, or put crampons on, and have them scrape and screech against the rocks underfoot. About halfway up, we opted for the crampons. Hard to say what the right way to go is in this sort of situation.
Andrew climbs the Chimney
The steep scrambling section was actually kinda tricky. There were bits of fresh snow here and there, obscuring the flat slabs of rock that one has to scramble up on Catamount. Since there was no ice underneath, the crampons quickly went through the fresh snow to bare sloping rock - unnerving and tricky to climb on.
Partway up the Steep stuff
The weather brightened up, and it actually turned sunny for a while, roughly from the sub-summit to the summit. It was quite pretty when the sun was out, with the crisp air, dramatic dark clouds in the distance, and lots of powdery snow everywhere.