Catamount Hardware

First, a caution: This is a report on wild ice, meaning thin ice with notable objective hazards. This is not (yet) the Lake Morey of the maintained and safe skating trail. Wear safety gear, check the ice yourself, and be prepared for surprises.

I spent the afternoon on Lake Morey, and it was delightful. I checked the ice thickness many times in many places (using my pole and a Skyllermarks ice gauge). The thinnest I found (and I got off it immediately) was 5cm; otherwise it was 6-8cm. By the end of the afternoon (4pm) I was consistently finding 8cm ice. Not to say thinner ice isn’t there, I was just carefully avoiding it.

The ice was pretty much all large grain (1-3’), crystal clear black ice (P1), with some small areas of smaller grain, and small, shallow, but regular snow drifts (≈1”), some of which were grabby but most of which were inconsequential. (See attached photos.)

The southern third of the lake seemed like one solid plate, divided from the rest by a pressure ridge from the point by the F&W access across to the Morey Mt trailhead (red line on map). There was open water on both ends of the ridge, but it was passable in the middle.

I put in at the F&W access, because I wanted to skate the northern part of the lake and I wasn’t sure about that ridge, but I don’t recommend it. That little cove has a small plate that’s okay, but the transition from it into the rest of the lake was a little sketchy (marked in yellow).

The northern two thirds of the lake was more complex and varied. There was some open water that I gave a wide berth (roughly marked in red). The farther north I went, the more pressure ridges I found (roughly marked in red) and the more laser and cracking sounds I heard.

I’ve roughly marked in green the two areas I found to be most solid.


— Christopher Boone