Ascent of Mount Mansfield on 2016-02-27

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Saturday, February 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Mansfield
    Elevation:4393 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

I hiked Mt. Mansfield taking the Long Trail up from Route 108 on the east side. I made the 0.1 mile side trip to Adams Apple while I was up near the top. I descended along almost the same route, except I dropped down from the summit following the Profanity Trail a short distance, and then taking a custom route back to the Long Trail (see below).

* In winter, Route 108 is closed between Stowe Mountain Resort and Smuggler’s Notch. There is a parking area right before the gated, unplowed section of road, which is big enough to hold maybe a few dozen cars, and that is where I parked. I hiked north on 108 past the gate for about five minutes before picking up the Long Trail.

* If taking this route in winter, be aware that the Long Trail passes through glades with many tracks from downhill skiers, so it could be tricky at times to stay on the right path. The Long Trail blazes were clearly visible today, so I didn’t have any trouble. If the blazes are covered with snow, I suppose it could be more difficult. Just pay attention.

* Upon reaching the treeline, the Long Trail passes by a 0.1 mile spur path to Adam’s Apple, which is a small bump. It turns out that Adam’s Apple is a county highpoint, since a county line passes between it and Mt. Mansfield-The Chin, which is the state highpoint. I enjoyed the view from the top of Adam’s Apple for a few seconds before the strong, bitter cold wind drove me back down.

* The Long Trail continues past the treeline, steeply up to The Chin. Any blazes or small cairns were covered with snow, so I might not have followed the proper route all the way to the top. I followed tracks about half the distance from the treeline to the summit, but then the tracks diverged as the route became less obvious and people had different ideas on where to go. I followed one set of tracks a bit higher, but then the tracks stopped as that person must have retreated (maybe going lower to try a different approach). I kept going up the steep, hard-packed snow, getting good traction with crampon snowshoes, and using exposed rock and krummholz as hand and footholds. Fortunately I was sheltered from the wind while climbing. Soon I emerged at the top of Vermont. I braved the cold wind and enjoyed the summit view for five minutes.

* I didn’t want to descend the way I went up, so I continued across the summit to the other side, picking up the Profanity Trail, which heads east from the summit down to Taft Lodge. I slid down the steep parts (really no better option), and I met up with some backcountry snowboarders at the bottom of the steep part. They were bushwhacking northward along the base of the summit cliffs, with their boards on their backs. I just followed them, since they were clearly heading toward the Long Trail, and the Profanity Trail was getting tough to follow by that point. It worked out well for me, because those guys fell into all the spruce traps so I didn’t have to.

* Although this hike was pretty intense near the summit, the entire route is short and it didn’t take very long. Once back at my car, I considered doing a second hike in the Stowe area, but decided to hit the road and get home much earlier than usual. As I was leaving, no less than four cars jockeyed to get into position to take my parking spot the very second I backed out.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2773 ft / 845 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2773 ft / 845 m
    Route:Long Trail
    Start Trailhead:Route 108  1620 ft / 493 m
Descent Statistics

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