September 25, 2016
Wow, okay. This weekend was a doozy of a hike. My goal was to “bag” both the Wittenberg and Cornell summits. Little did I know how strenuous it would be.

The Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail trailhead is located at the Woodland Valley campground, so I decided to set up base camp at the campground. That way I could do a dayhike on Saturday and return to an already set up tent.

I did my usual leave-after-work-on-Friday trip and arrived at the campground well into pitch black (the sun is going down sooner and sooner these days). I set up by the light of my headlamp and tucked in for what was to be a chilly night. 7:30 am the next morning, I was up and on the trail. Just the initial hike to the Register Box winded me. It couldn’t get harder than this, right? Well, upon reaching the first boulder I had to vertically climb up, I knew that I was in for some serious hiking. This was a tough hike with lots of bouldering required and even a rock “crack” to shimmy up. I came upon three separate hikers who had harnesses hooked up to their dogs in order to raise and lower them.

All in all, this was a very tough hike. I’m glad that I only had a five pound daypack and not a 25 pound backpack. The hike began at 1,400 feet and ascended to 3,800 feet, an elevation gain of 2,400 feet to get to the top of Wittenberg Mountain. Hard work but let me tell you, the view was breathtaking. The exhaustion I felt immediately washed away.

Hopping over to the summit of Cornell Mountain required some more exertion but went by fairly quickly. Cornell had some nice views also but not as panoramic as Wittenberg. I did, however, make a couple new friends. I met Dan and Jen, fellow Catskill 3500ers, and tagged along with them on the loooong, rocky descent back to the campground.

Yeah, #3 and #4 of my Catskill 3500 peaks. Enjoy the photos.

Establishing base camp at the DEC's Woodland Valley Campground. My BMW R1200GS and Hilleberg Unna remained onsite for two days while I went off to bag both Wittenberg and Cornell summits.

Establishing base camp at the DEC’s Woodland Valley Campground. My BMW R1200GS and Hilleberg Unna remained onsite for two days while I went off to bag both Wittenberg and Cornell summits.

If you don't want to camp, there is an overnight parking lot at the trailhead of the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide hiking trail in the Catskill Mountains.

If you don’t want to camp, there is an overnight parking lot at the trailhead of the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide hiking trail in the Catskill Mountains.

The 7:30am sunlight filtering through the trees as I hop on to the red-blazed trailhead from the end of Woodland Valley campground. This will lead straight over the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain (and Slide also).

The 7:30am sunlight filtering through the trees as I hop on to the red-blazed trailhead from the end of Woodland Valley campground. This will lead straight over the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain (and Slide also).

Just getting to the register box was a chore. I didn't know it at the time but this definitely served as a forewarning as to what to expect.

Just getting to the register box was a chore. I didn’t know it at the time but this definitely served as a forewarning as to what to expect.

Don't get too close to the edge. Hiking along the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains.

Don’t get too close to the edge. Hiking along the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains.

A glimpse through the trees while hiking along the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains.

A glimpse through the trees while hiking along the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains.

The first bouldering event. Approximately half way up or so, it suddenly became obvious that this hike to the summit of Wittenberg Mountain was going to get harder.

The first bouldering event. Approximately half way up or so, it suddenly became obvious that this hike to the summit of Wittenberg Mountain was going to get harder.

Looking down on the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail and realizing, "I have to come back down this way. What have I done?"

Looking down on the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail and realizing, “I have to come back down this way. What have I done?”

You've got to be kidding. The challenge of the Catskill Mountain's Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail just raised a notch.

You’ve got to be kidding. The challenge of the Catskill Mountain’s Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail just raised a notch.

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Oh yeah, this is why I just beat up my body for four miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain - the spectacular view from the summit from Wittenberg Mountain. Obviously, a popular destination in the Catskill Mountains.

Oh yeah, this is why I just beat up my body for four miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain – the spectacular view from the summit from Wittenberg Mountain. Obviously, a popular destination in the Catskill Mountains.

Heading over now to the summit of Cornell Mountain. Yep, more Catskill bouldering.

Heading over now to the summit of Cornell Mountain. Yep, more Catskill bouldering.

The infamous Cornell Crack in the Catskill Mountains. This picture doesn't do it justice. It's much more intimidating in person but if you're the least bit athletic, you can shimmy up it though having a spotter might help.

The infamous Cornell Crack in the Catskill Mountains. This picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s much more intimidating in person but if you’re the least bit athletic, you can shimmy up it though having a spotter might help.

Panorama shot from the summit of Cornell Mountain, one of the 3500 of the Catskill Mountains in New York. That's Wittenberg Mountain in the middle, about 0.8 miles away and where I just came from.

Panorama shot from the summit of Cornell Mountain, one of the 3500 of the Catskill Mountains in New York. That’s Wittenberg Mountain in the middle, about 0.8 miles away and where I just came from.

Heading back to the Woodland Valley base camp in the Catskill Mountains. It's a long five mile descent.

Heading back to the Woodland Valley base camp in the Catskill Mountains. It’s a long five mile descent.

Checking out at the register box on the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains. Such a beautiful sight! At this point, my leg muscles were mush and my shoulders were sore from the trekking poles.

Checking out at the register box on the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail in the Catskill Mountains. Such a beautiful sight! At this point, my leg muscles were mush and my shoulders were sore from the trekking poles.

Passing Steve Heller's Fabulous Furniture in Boiceville, NY as I leave the Catskill Mountains and ride the 2 1/2 hours back to Manhattan.

Passing Steve Heller’s Fabulous Furniture in Boiceville, NY as I leave the Catskill Mountains and ride the 2 1/2 hours back to Manhattan.

Google Earth showing my roundtrip dayhike from the Woodland Valley DEC campground to the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain.

Google Earth showing my roundtrip dayhike from the Woodland Valley DEC campground to the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain.

The elevation graph from my Garmin Montana GPS showing the ascent from the Woodland Valley DEC campground to the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain.

The elevation graph from my Garmin Montana GPS showing the ascent from the Woodland Valley DEC campground to the summits of Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain.

September 24, 2016

Date of Hike
Date September 24, 2016
Weather Conditions Sunny, Clear, Crisp (48°F – 60°F / 8.9°C – 15.6°C
Summit Wittenberg – 3,800 ft / 1,168 m
Cornell – 3,800 ft / 1,168 m
Trailhead Woodland Valley campground
Distance (Round Trip) 10.1 miles / 16.2 kilometers
Total Elevation Gain 3,400 feet / 1,036 meters
+ Highlights + Beautiful panoramic view from Wittenberg summit
+ Decent view from Cornell summit
– Caveats – Precarious bouldering at times
– Rarely any level ground
– No water sources