Ascent of Mount Mansfield on 2011-12-04

Climber: Matthew Martinez

Others in Party:Jerry Meitz
Date:Sunday, December 4, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Mansfield
    Elevation:4393 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

True to form, we got to the campground at the base of the mountain very late. Luckily the gate further down the road was open so we were able to pull into the parking lot around 11:00p even though the camping season had officially ended more than a month ago.

There was snow on the ground but not as much as we would have expected for Underhill in December. The temperature, according to our car's thermometer, was about 25 F. We had forgotten our hammer for the tent pegs (our winter tent isn't freestanding), so we just decided to sleep in one of the lean-tos there in the campground. It was actually quite comfy.

We woke around 9:00a and after an extremely healthy breakfast of donuts and trail mix, we set out on the Sunset Ridge trail, as we had never taken it before. It was a very ugly scene since the trees were all dead but there was no snow on everything to cover it up. The trail was mucky and sloppy towards the bottom and slippery and iy towards the top. Also, it turns out large portions of the Sunset Ridge are exposed and the winds that day were very stiff, making it difficult to move over the icy patches.

No big deal though, we made it to the chin and enjoyed the view for a while trying to decide whether to head across the ridge to the Teardrop trail in hopes of some sweet glissading action, or to take Laura Cowles back down for time's sake. Since we had to be back in NYC to play hockey at 11:30p we chose to take the "quick" way down.

Unfortunately for us, Laura Cowles is a terrible trail under normal circumstances, to which ice was added. We regretted our choice as we slid and fell and slipped down the steep and rocky and icy trail. I'm not sure if we actually saved anytime over the ridge traversal to Teardrop, but we did get back to the parking lot while it was still light out (!) and did get home in time to play hockey that night. I'd say that's a win.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Sunset Ridge Trail
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Route:Laura Cowles Trail
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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