February 21, 2021. I decided to have a dance party with myself in 1980s vintage on Wittenberg peak in the Catskill Mountains. Was it a practical idea to drag a bulky bubblegum pink, faux fur coat that weighs 10 lbs to the summit? Probably not. Was it worth it to sing Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” like a tone-deaf marshmallow peep at sunset? Absolutely!
This VIP party was exclusive– and by exclusive I mean I was the only one on the guest list. Partying solo on a summit may look like fun, but there is a lot of preparation involved. Here’s a break-down of how to plan for a mountain jam:
- There is no bouncer at the door, so wild animals can crash your party. Always know what to do if you see a wild animal wander onto nature’s dance floor, ensuring that you and the wild creature stays safe.
- BYOB: Bring Your Own Bottle (of water). In the winter, I party on peaks with at least 3 liters of water stored in insulated containers.
- Oh, my god, shoes. I like to make a great impression when I arrive with the right shoes. I personally love my Salomon Toundra boots with NASA space-style insulation and my MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes. Don’t be a party pooper and ruin the buttery smooth trails with bare boots.
- Burn Baby Burn, Disco inferno. You are going to burn a lot of calories. Don’t party on a peak without ample food. You’ll end up in an energy slump and you’re more susceptible to missteps, hypothermia and lame dancing.
- You will need to costume change like Cher when you groove to the peak. Wear layers made of synthetic and wool. A smart hiker once said “cotton kills,” and this is not a dance move. This is a winter fact. The Wittenberg peak via Woodland Valley Rd, is an 8.7 mile out and back hike with 2,526′ of elevation gain and you will sweat profusely on the ascent. This is when you bust moves in your lighter under-layers. When you get to your summit destination, high winds and altitude mean lower temps. You’ll want to pop an insulated coat on, along with gloves and hat.
- Be prepared to create your own laser light show. I was partying on the peak at sunset, so I packed 3 headlamps and a power bank. This is not a late 1990s rave. Glow in the dark sticks don’t work!
Enjoy hiking and partying at the peak. Don’t forget to leave no trace & dance like nobody’s watching.