We climbed a final step up towards the summit at 1pm, and a few minutes later, we arrived at a tiny cleared spot in the forest atop Hoffman's summit. Andrew and Larry were ecstatic. The long-planned quest had been achieved!
So, let the world know that on this day - Sunday, August 12th, 2012 - Andrew Silver and Larry Chasnoff successfully summitted the peak of Hoffman Mountain. If only Thomas Cole himself were here to capture the moment! I guess Canon would have to do the honours this day.
In addition to the obligatory summit photos, we spent a bit of time poking around the summit's vicinity. There is a limited lookout just a few feet from the summit, looking east. We could see all the way to Vermont and Lake Champlain, and below us, the narrow ribbon of Route 9 could easily be seen.
Route 9 from summit lookout
As part of our original plan to climb Hoffman, we had entertained the idea of a traverse bushwhack that would see us climb over the summit and down to a spot along route 9, where we had placed Julie's car. However, given our rate of progress and the time of day (now 1:30pm), we decided that this unknown and possibly much thicker descent bushwhack was not advisable, and that we should therefore descend via our ascent route.
Apart from being a bit of a slog, the descent was fairly uneventful - save for one wrong turn where we ran into a brief patch of thick brush, and for bit of excitement while descending the steep step at about 2400 feet. Here, Andrew placed his hiking pole into a bee nest, and both he and Larry were the recipient of some retaliatory stinging. Fortunately, they had no allergic reactions.
Below the steep step, we retraced our track down towards the Big Pond Trail. We noticed that the entire lower toe of the ridge seemed to be open forest, so we decided to deviate from the recommended track and angle more directly for a point along the trail closer to the trailhead. This worked out well, cutting off about 2/10ths of a mile on our return journey (about 300 metres). We were quite happy to arrive back to the trail. It was becoming a long day!
Back to lower open forest
After bushwhacking for so long, the increased hiking speed resulting from having a properly maintained path under our feet was somewhat startling. We rapidly covered the final 1.5 miles to the trailhead, arriving shortly before a quarter to seven - a total hiking time of slightly over 12 hours.
I'd like to congratulate Andrew and Larry for being persistent hikers on what was probably their longest and hardest hike to date. You both were great hiking companions; Most folks who bushwhack for such a length of time usually start to complain about it - but not you! Thanks for a great day, and hopefully we can do some more hiking in the future. Maybe with a bit less bushwhacking.
The bottom line on climbing Hoffman is, in my opinion, this: climb it via the south ridge. It is a bit longer than from other directions, but the bushwhacking is quite light, even near the top.
Below you'll find an interactive trackmap of the hike/bushwhack, complete with photo points showing exactly where each picture was taken. You'll only see the photo points if you click on the map, which will bring up a full-size version that has both the track and the photo points plotted on it.
Interactive Trackmap with photo points - Hoffman via S. Ridge - click map to expand
Hike Data - Hoffman via South Ridge
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet