Ascent of Mount Mansfield on 2019-06-12

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Katrina
and Jennifer
Date:Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Mansfield
    Elevation:4393 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

We decided that the best approach to Mansfield would be to go to Underhill State Park since it was closest to our new house. We'd go up the Laura Cowles Trail and down the Sunset Ridge Trail because the former was steeper and it would make it a short route that was easiest on our knees. We found out when we arrived that you can't drive up as far as what I thought, and we had to add in the Eagle's Cut Trail to get to both of the trails we intended to hike. This added a few hundred feet of gain and around a mile round trip. We got onto the Laura Cowles Trail and found out that it goes almost as straight as possible up the mountain. We had to climb up on rocks and always watch our footing due to the trail doubling as a stream. Our hard work eventually paid off with some views of the lake and Burlington in a spot that Artski found to look through the trees. There was even a spot with a "seep" that was splashing us thirty feet away that could be a waterfall in wetter weather. The weather, however, was a highlight of this hike. It rained for days before and after our hike but on that day it was partly cloud with a high in the upper 60Fs. Pretty nice. The trails merged and put us onto the ridge at an intersection with the Long Trail. We then used the Long Trail to take us up to the summit. This whole section was exposed, but it had a great feeling similar to higher peaks in the west. Wheeler Peak, NV comes to mind for some reason. There were many people at the top, including a Green Mountain Club volunteer who was answering people's questions. He said that we could see Montreal to the north if it wasn't quite as hazy as it was, and we could actually see the White Mountains and Mount Washington. We also enjoyed looking at Stowe and Smuggs, which will be our new home come winter.

On the way down we went to the Sunset Ridge Trail which had a surprising number of drop offs that were big enough to make you consider sitting to get down to the bottom of. There were also angled rocks that made footing tricky, but it was certainly a lot easier than going down Laura Cowles with all of that water. The views were great most of the way down the ridge as we were out of the forest. The whole hike didn't take super long and despite the difficulty of the Laura Cowles Trail, I would recommend the route we took. The combination of getting to experience the forest as it changes types on the steep uphill and the views on the way down looking west toward the lake are well worth it. The change of ecosystem in a relatively short hike made me think of Arizona's sky islands.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2728 ft / 830 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2728 ft / 831 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2528 ft / 770 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.3 km
    Route:Eagle's Cut - Laura Cowles
    Start Trailhead:Underhill State Park  1865 ft / 568 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2728 ft / 831 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2528 ft / 770 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:Sunset Ridge - Eagle's Cut
    End Trailhead:Underhill State Park  1865 ft / 568 m
    Time:2 Hours 28 Minutes

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