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Ascent of Pico Peak on 2018-12-30

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Sunday, December 30, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico Peak
    Location:USA-Vermont
    Elevation:3957 ft / 1206 m

Ascent Trip Report

I hiked a loop over Pico and Deer Leap Mtn, starting and ending at the Sherburne Pass TH on Route 4. I ascended Pico on the Sherburne Pass Trail, taking the short spur trail to the summit. I continued on the Sherburne Pass Trail to the AT/LT junction, and I took that trail down the mountain, crossing Route 4. I continued on the AT/LT (which also briefly overlaps with the Catamount ski trail here), reaching Willard Gap, where the LT heads north, and the AT continues east. I kept going on the AT a short distance to the Deer Leap Trail, which I took up the north side of Deer Leap Mtn. The summit is a very short distance off the trail. A bit later, after some descent and a short climb, I took the spur trail to Deer Leap Rock, enjoying the great view once there. Then I continued on the main trail, which took me down to my starting point on Route 4. This loop is about 11 miles.

With recent warming and a cold overnight last night, the trails were a mix of bare ground, ice, and solid snow. I was able to walk on top of the snow, using just microspikes for traction. I switched to snowshoes on the AT/LT up high on Pico, as there were numerous postholes frozen into the snow, many of which were 12-18” deep, left over from when the snow was softer and people would have been better off hiking in snowshoes. I found it easier to walk over the holes on snowshoes, rather than with just boots, as I would have risked a leg or ankle injury if I fell into one of the holes. No chance to smooth the trail with snowshoes, as the snow was all frozen solid. I took off the snowshoes a third of the way down Pico, as by then the trail was bare ground with some icy stretches thrown in.

I encountered snow again on the north slopes of Deer Leap, but there I had an easy time avoiding the postholes, as only a couple of other hikers had been through in the days or weeks prior.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1807 ft / 550 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1807 ft / 550 m
    Route:Sherburne Pass Tr
    Start Trailhead:Sherburne Pass  2150 ft / 655 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:AT/LT northbound



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