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Thread: Mt. Mansfield VT

  1. #1
    Senior Member csprague's Avatar
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    Mt. Mansfield VT

    Hi all,

    My girlfriend and I are going to be spending a weekend in Vermont in 3 weeks, and plan to tackle 1 of the state's 4,000-footers. She is a hiking novice, but does go with me occasionally.

    Since we are staying in Stowe, Mansfield seems to be the logical choice. My question concerns which trail is the easiest, from a footing point of view. She has a condition which makes her skittish about falling down (has to do with bone density though it's really not that bad anymore), so she very much prefers trails that aren't too rocky and rough. Elevation gain and distance are not real concerns.

    In the past, she's accompanied me up:
    Mt Jackson via Webster-Jackson then down via Mizpah
    Moosilauke via Gorge Brook, Carriage Rd, and Snapper
    Starr King and Waumbek
    Doubletop via Nesowadnehunk Field
    South Branch/Black Cat via the lake loop

    She was mostly OK with those, but wasn't a big fan of the short scramble near the top of Jackson. Which of the trails up Mansfield would compare to those? I currently have my sights set on Sunset Ridge if the weather is good, but I'd like to hear from some experienced folks.

    Thanks!
    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lefty E's Avatar
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    Well only having done Mansfield one time, we went up Laura Cowles and down Sunset Ridge and found it easy with not much to worry about..many folks do it opposite too...don't know anything about the approach from Stowe however, we camped at Underhill and went in that side....

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    I think you mentioned going via Sunset Ridge. That's the way I did it few years ago. I'd venture to say Mansfield via Sunset Ridge would be in her comfort range. The upper portion of the trail is wide-open and views are awesome, but nothing to upset the novice. If she balked at doing scrambles on Jackson I would not recommend doing a loop involving Maple Ridge. Maple Ridge has 2-3 ledgy scrambles that some might find unnerving, but not impossible with sympathetic partners.

    Also tricky is finding your way to the Underhill State Park where the TH is.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    Long Trail up from Smuggler's Notch has this little chimney type scramble near the top. Which from the sounds of it would eliminate this route.

    Other than this small section I don't remember anything else that too crazy on the LT. Others may be able to comment whether this section can be bypassed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    Mansfield

    The Profanity Trail from Taft Lodge ( the "Bad Weather Bypass" for the LT ) can be used to get to the summit, only slightly longer but without the ledges and exposure.
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mohamed Ellozy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzbo View Post
    I think you mentioned going via Sunset Ridge. That's the way I did it few years ago. I'd venture to say Mansfield via Sunset Ridge would be in her comfort range.

    ...

    Also tricky is finding your way to the Underhill State Park where the TH is.
    Delorme atlas got me there a few years ago ... GPSr would be even easier!

    Sunset ridge is a spectacular trail in good weather.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Another Sunset Ridge, & LC fan.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    I parked in Smuggler's Notch, went up Hell Brook and down the Profanity and LT.

    Hell Brook is extremely steep and wet, avoid. Profanity is also very rough: steep and rocky, though no risk of a real fall. LT was a cakewalk by comparison.

    To avoid scrambling, you want to hit the summit (Chin) from the south. (If coming up Sunset Ridge, stay on the main trail, don't take the left turn toward the Adam's apple.) The LT just north of the summit has an exposed ledge (one or two moves with no real holds, just a friction scramble) that had a middle-aged woman sobbing when I was there. Actually that section is much easier than you'd expect when you see it from the adams apple
    (http://www.davidalbeck.com/photos/20...field/i006.jpg) but it does have that one truly exposed move.

    What I could see of sunset ridge looked gentle and quite scenic.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Seaver View Post
    The Profanity Trail from Taft Lodge ( the "Bad Weather Bypass" for the LT ) can be used to get to the summit, only slightly longer but without the ledges and exposure.
    It is certainly a much shorter drive from Stowe to the LT than around to Underhill, and no fee

    As TS says, if you turn on Profanity Trail at Taft Lodge you miss the steepest (and what some would say the best :-) part of the LT - it is more comparable to Webster-Jackson without the cone

    On the other hand, you aren't far from Camels Hump which is a nice peak with no ski trails

  10. #10
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    We went up and down Sunset Ridge. One of the rangers warned us off Laura Cowles because it had been raining all morning, so it may be slippery if wet.

    Thereís a side path off Sunset Ridge that leads to Cantilever Rock, a long rock sticking out of a crack in the wall. I think it is worth a visit.

  11. #11
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    Do NOT let anyone talk you into the Haselton Trail. We descended, and my wife did NOT enjoy. Map below:

    http://www.vtstateparks.com/pdfs/underhilltrails.pdf

  12. #12
    Senior Member teleskier's Avatar
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    A really nice loop from Underhill State Park is to go up the CCC road to the Maple Ridge trail (brings you up to the ridgeline at the forehead), across the Long Trail to the Chin, then down the Sunset Ridge trail. No rock scrambles to speak of, gives you a tour of almost the whole summit ridge, and lots of open terrain with great views.

  13. #13
    Senior Member audrey's Avatar
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    Rup, why didn't your wife enjoy the Haselton trail? We descended it after climbing Hell Brook and traversing the ridge and it was a nice stroll after walking on all that rock.
    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer. Albert Camus.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    8.4 miles of fun for only $3

    Quote Originally Posted by teleskier View Post
    A really nice loop from Underhill State Park is to go up the CCC road to the Maple Ridge trail (brings you up to the ridgeline at the forehead), across the Long Trail to the Chin, then down the Sunset Ridge trail. No rock scrambles to speak of, gives you a tour of almost the whole summit ridge, and lots of open terrain with great views.
    Yup. My favorite Vermont mountain running loop by FAR ( but in the opposite direction). As a trail run, the loop has kind of a "funhouse" quality to it, with lots of sudden direction changes and all sorts of interesting features. Highly recommended, especially as a late afternoon venture when there are far fewer people on the trails.
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  15. #15
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    Maple Ridge - Sunset Ridge Loop from Underhill SP

    csprague,

    Some great route choices have been recommended thus far (which goes to show there are many scenic and varied approaches to Mt. Mansfield. IMHO, the natural wonders of Mt. Mansfield are showcased in the nearly 2-mile ridge line so whatever you decide for your approach and descent, try to maximize your time on as much of the ridge as possible. (Obviously, weather should be a critical factor in selecting your hike day.)

    A really nice loop from Underhill State Park is to go up the CCC road to the Maple Ridge trail (brings you up to the ridgeline at the forehead), across the Long Trail to the Chin, then down the Sunset Ridge trail. No rock scrambles to speak of, gives you a tour of almost the whole summit ridge, and lots of open terrain with great views.
    I choose the route suggested above by teleskier. My hike was in Mid-September of 2009 and the day was spectacular! I was treated to one of the finest ridge walks I have ever experienced.

    However, in any hike there are places that demand attention for personal safety and wise decisions. Mt. Mansfield is no different.

    Here are two excerpts from my TR:

    "Trekking poles were very handy bracing for down climbing and stabilizing on surprisingly slippery dry rock. Common foot placements were almost polished smooth which kept my attention focused on personal safety throughout the day."
    And.....

    "It was truly a great day over an unparalleled route. Over my thirty years of hiking, I have been fortunate to be on some of the greatest ridge walks in the east. This hike will now join that exclusive group. It was an exceptional day!"
    Here is a link to some of the photos of that remarkable day:

    As always, click slide show, then pause, then F11 for full screen viewing at your own pace.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/runswit...eat=directlink

    Whatever you decide, I hope you and your girlfriend have a safe, memorable and wonderful hike!

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