Explorer | 35 pts
The ascent of Breakneck Ridge is a wonderful challenge. The trail up is clearly marked in white blazes and the footholds are solid. There are three distinct landings where folks can take a break on the way up. Views this day were perfect. I've not seen any mountain in the area with quite the same spectacular field of view of the Hudson as Breakneck. On this sunny Sunday, there were a lot of visitors.
If you're new to Breakneck, the trail starts at the end of the underpass on 9D. There's a small wooden box there with b&w maps and the first white blaze. The trail is strenuous, to say the least, not unlike climbing a steep staircase. If you're not up to that kind of exertion better not to go.
In any event, you'll discover this right off as the trail very shortly goes straight up. There are many areas where you'll need to scramble up the rocks using hands and feet. There are a few areas where one could slip but actually cascading off the cliffs would take some serious bad luck. Still, don't let kids play around by the edges. For instance, there's a spot on the trail as you approach the second hump, that goes straight down about 200' and it's only about 2 or 3 feet to the right of the trail. Pay attention!
I've done the ascent of Breakneck now about 50 or 100 times. It gets easier all the time and now I usually do a few up & downs before heading home. My favorite longer hike here is to stay on the white trail all the way to its end, about 5 or 6 miles, to the Beacon Fire Tower. The Tower itself is closed but the mountain top it's on (South Beacon Mt) has a tremendous 360 degree view of the area. That, and the fact that this mountain is also a steep climb, makes this hike a good workout.