Friday Mountain & Balsam Cap Overview

Blaze your own trail… Forge your own path in this challenging, dense, trailless bushwhack while climbing twin peaks in the vast wilderness. Although not the tallest peaks in the Catskills, Friday & Balsam Cap can be the greatest vertical climb depending on which route you take. There are areas of steep rock faces and dense evergreens as well as large cliffs and boulders that you’ll need to scale. Almost 2600 feet of elevation gain in about 3 miles. One of the most difficult hikes in the region. (Extremely limited cell service ….you might actually enjoy yourself).

June 28 – 29, 2020

  • Bushwack begins, Sunday 9 am:  Must be at Friday Mountain Trailhead For Gear Distribution.
  • Ends, Monday 6 pm.
  • Led by Rabbi Zev Freundlich
    – 25 years experienced Backpacking Guide and Wilderness Survivalist
    – Menahel of Yeshiva Shaarei Arazim of Monsey
    – Founder of Yaalozu Wilderness Survival Camp
  • A hatzolah member will be joining us on the trip
  • Three group levels: fast, medium, slow with an assigned professional guide to each group
  • Limited to 15 slots
  • All backpacking, orienteering, and camping gear- $200
  • You must bring your own food
  • Hatzolah members 50% off* (limit to 2)
  • Corporate discounts available**

When registering, please make sure to include your cell phone number and email address that you can be reached at for timely updates.

*Hatzolah members 50% off; is only if they are willing to assist in an emergency, carry medical gear and other extra gear if the need arises.

**Corporate discount; a business that sponsors 4 or more employees is 25% off each employee. Payment must come from the employer/company directly.

    1. Comfortable sneakers
    2. Comfortable hiking clothes; preferably non-cotton
    3. Rain poncho
    4. Bug spray
    5. 3 black garbage bags for waterproofing
    6. Pillow, sleeping bag, or thick blanket (for extra padding below and warmth, the temperature can go down in the 40-50s.)
    7. Siddur, Tallis & Tefillin
    8. Personal hygiene, teeth hygiene, hand towel, toilet paper/ tissues as needed in a small ziplock bag, etc.  Please remember: We will be camping in the deep woods. There are no bathrooms or running water. Please think it through now, and prepare for what else you might need.
    9. Warm sweatshirt, sleeping, and/or lounge clothing and footwear (the trail can be wet and muddy, you might want to change into something like crocs).
    10. Optional: hiking pole, cap, pocket knife, lighter, sleeping pad, whistle, camelback, or other hydration systems.
    11. Bring 2 of each; Forks, Knives, hot cups, and plates for supper and breakfast. Put them in big ziplock.
    12. Salt, pepper packets for potatoes, sugar packets for coffee. 1 packet of coffee. Small bag of powdered milk for coffee. Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise for supper/ lunch, and/or grilled cheese for breakfast, put them all in a small ziplock bag.
    13. 1 small hand sanitizer. 
    14. Take at least 6 liters of water. 
    15. For Lunch (2 days- 4 sandwiches)
      – For tuna;  take bread in a small ziplock bag and take tuna airtight packets (or cans) 
    16. Fruit for 2 lunches, supper, and breakfast; put them in a big ziplock bag.
    17. For Supper- 2 pieces of precooked frozen Chicken; Pack them in big ziploc bag.
      – Hotdogs
      – Potatoes for baking. Take some tin foil and wrap one layer around each potato
      – Corn on the Cob (no tin foil needed) it’s cooks fairly quick, pitas for supper; put in a big ziplock bag.
      – Mac or Cortland apple for baked apple, Take some tin foil and wrap one layer around each apple
    18. For Breakfast –  Take 1 sandwich bag with cheese (for grilled cheese on a pita).
      Take 1 Piece of tin foil for grilled pita and cheese over the fire for breakfast.
      – Pitas for breakfast; put pitas and the tin foil in a big ziplock bag.
      – Vegetables for breakfast put in ziplock bags.
    19. Optional: Energy snacks and drinks, candy, marshmallows for fire (we supply trail mix)
  1. Backpacks
  2. Survival Knives
  3. Map and Compass
  4. Tarps 
  5. Headlamps
  6. Bungy cord


10:00 am – Gear distribution and packing
11:00 am – Orienteering, Map and Compass
12:00 pm – Begin ascent on Mt. Friday  – Elev.  3,694’
1:30 pm – Lunch, Mincha
6:00 pm – Set-up camp (anywhere)
7:00 pm – Shelter, fire, and food preparation
7:30 pm – Supper
8:30 pm – Maariv
8:45 pm – Kumzitz under the Stars


7:00 am – Shacharis
8:00 am – Take-down camp and repack
8:30 am – Fire and food preparation
8:45 am – Breakfast
9:15 am – Start ascent on Mt. Friday
11:00 am – Reach the summit
11:15 am – Search and sign in at canister
12:00 pm – Bushwack Balsam Cap- Elev. 3,623’
1:15 pm – Reach the summit, sign-in canister
2:00 pm – Begin descent of Balsam cap
3:00 pm – Search for B52 bomber crash site
4:00 pm – Begin descent
6:00 pm – Arrive at the parking lot

Request a no risk Team Effectiveness Audit! See how effective your team works!