Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Viewpoint on The Fool Killer?

Yes, but it's hard-earned. A bushwhack exploration of the large basin on the east side of The Fool Killer.

In this photo taken from Potash Mountain, the ledge on The Fool Killer is the white spot below the little orange arrow. You can see how this flat-topped mountain got its name as it blends in with the main mass of Tripyramid behind it. At least one AMC climbing party in the late 1800s climbed this spur, then saw that Tripyramid was still some distance away across a saddle. Studying this photo, I envisioned lots of open hardwood bushwhacking, even on the steep climb to the ledge. Alas, it was not to be...

I also wanted to see if there was evidence of a long, narrow, curving slide seen in this 1956 USGS aerial photo, on the right side, a bit more than 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.

Just to remind myself where I was -- strange things can happen on The Fool Killer.

Crossing Sabbaday Brook to start the bushwhack.

Open woods on the steep slope right above the brook. They wouldn't last.

A magnificent hemlock.

Cascade on the tributary brook that drains the basin.

The woods were deep and dark on this cloudy day.

Ferns populate a wet opening.

The woods soon turned scrappy, and stayed that way.

I found the old slide in a narrow track parallel to the tributary brook.

I worked my way up it for a short distance, but it soon became too gnarly with big loose rocks.

This giant rock became lodged in the slide track.

Revegetation on a wider part of the old slide track.

Small spruces smothering the base of a big hemlock.

The open hardwoods I was dreaming about were infested with head-high hobblebush laced with unseen blowdown, with only an occasional short-lived respite.


After a steep approach, I spotted the first hint of the target ledge, a lower crag hidden in the forest.

This was about the only route up to the upper ledge with the view.

Scrubby trees are your friends in this terrain, except when you have to squeeze between them..

The white rock of the crag was glimpsed through the scrub, but it took some time to get up there.

Made it! No place to sit, so I took in the view while hanging onto a tree.

The lower Sabbaday Brook valley, Potash Mountain, Albany Intervale, Bear Mountain and the Moats.

Closer look at Potash, a great 52 With a View peak.

Many distant peaks seen beyond the spruce-clad northern spur of the Fool Killer.

On the way down, I passed what appeared to be the head of the old slide.

This scene high on the slope of The Fool Killer struck me as especially wild and lonesome, late on a cloudy afternoon.

What's a bushwhack without finding a balloon? I carried it out.

I took a break at this spot where the slide track (on the right) meets the tributary brook.

This granite monolith loomed ahead in the forest as I was descending.

Nearby was one of the most unusual boulders I've come across in the trackless forests.

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