The goal was to thru-hike all 35 of the Catskill Mountains’ high peaks, i.e., those at least 3500 feet in elevation, and if possible set a new fastest known time. The records were:
- 2 days 15 hours held by Ted “Cave Dog” Keizer on a supported basis
- 4 days 13 hours held by Jan Wellford and Cory Delavine on an unsupported basis
Based on data from Keizer’s website, the route is 133 miles long starting from the top of Peekamoose (or 137 from the base) and includes 37,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain (39,000 feet if you count the hike up Peekamoose).
I had heard about Keizer’s record two years ago. Ever since then, I’d been training for an attempt on the 35 thru-hike, and finally I felt ready to give it a go.
Smiley’s taxi of Tannersville, NY dropped me off at the Peekamoose trailhead at approximately 8 AM on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Two and one-half days later, around midnight on Thursday, August 25, 2016, I ended the attempt, having completed 23 of the 35 high peaks.
The following is a summit-by-summit account.