Saint Lawrence County High Point Trip Report

Mt Matumbla (2,688 ft)

Date: May 9, 2002
Author: Michael Schwartz

Mount Matumbla is privately owned by timber companies, with rights leased out to several hunting clubs. The access point mentioned in Gary Fallesen's guidebook is easily found on the north side of NY 3, a very short distance west of the St. Lawrence/Franklin County line. Permission would have to be received from the club that maintains the gate. According to a local, that gate is open during winter for snowmobile access, during which time hikers could access the mountain. Avoid hunting season.

We opted to continue east on NY 3 about 2.5 miles to Haymeadow Road, the last left (north) turn before the sign for the Tupper Lake city limits. Take Haymeadow north for 0.1 mile, then turn left on Pitchfork Pond Road, which becomes Kildare Road. Follow Pitchfork/Kildare north 2.7 miles to the north end of Pitchfork Pond, shown on topo and very obvious, as it is right next to the road. There is convenient parking at that point.

See a posted, gated dirt road heading uphill past a house. If permission is obtained, hike this road, shown on topo, generally west, passing a hunting club shack along the way, as well as crossing a good dirt road shown on Delorme and the 1:100,000 topo, but not the 7.5-minute USGS map. At a large cleared area, take the woods road right, shown on the topo passing over spot elevation 1879 feet. Follow this road over the shoulder of the hill and all the way downhill to its end a few feet before the large swampy area shown on the topo. We ignored a side trail to the right which probably bypasses the swamp. After the easy swamp crossing, bushwhack west a short distance to the woods road on the far side. We followed the woods road a very short distance southwest, then bushwhacked generally west or a bit north of west, aiming for the visible saddle between the summit and spot elevation 2624 feet. Pass postings from the same club that controls access to the NY 3 gated entrance, but note that this side of the mountain is much more lightly used than the southern approach. The bushwhacking is not too bad. Skid roads help a little, but they all eventually head too far east. We stumbled onto the bump shown about 0.3 mile east of the summit. Don't be deceived by that false summit, which is surprisingly prominent. Continue west, and pass through a large area of logged timber, which is a nuisance to cross, but makes an excellent landmark. Above the timber we continued uphill through uneven terrain to a low ridge crowned by a large boulder, split neatly in two. This is 0.11 mile from the true summit. Follow a low ridge from the boulder generally west, descend to a low swale, then climb a steep ridge and work uphill until you reach a final ridge topped with three bumps. Hand leveling indicated the bump with the large boulder was the highest point. We found ribbons on the next knob and added a few of our own. GPS verified the summit and is very useful on Matumbla, as the terrain on the upper reaches is indistinct.

Time up 3:00, down 2:00.