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Thread: Vermont 4ks In Winter

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Vermont 4ks In Winter

    Was thinking about doing a hike in VT either this weekend or next and was curious which of the 6 peaks on the 4k list provided the best views. I really hate artificial stuff on mountains so Vermont has been a bit of a turn off for me with the ski areas, summit buildings and antennas on many of the 4ks. (I have yet to do any hiking there in any season).

    Was looking at doing Ellen/Abraham and was curious what the preferred Winter route is, what the parking situation is like (plowed parking, road condition, any outhouses or facilities at trailhead, etc). I came across some photos that make this ridge walk seem pretty nice. I haven't found much info covering the hikes in Winter and reports on NETC are sparse (I think last report for Ellen was 11/4). Fairly unlikely I would camp but if there were any year round campgrounds in the area that would be good to know as well.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    You can avoid the ski slopes on all 5 (not 6?) peaks, if you want to. You might be on them for a few minutes here and there...

    You can park at either end of the Abe/Ellen traverse in Winter. A brief time at the top of the ski run.
    Go from Underhill state park for Mansfield. The ski slope side approach is not popular (with hikers), and very steep at the end.
    Camel's Hump - come from the West.
    Killington - If you take the Bucklin trail, it avoids most of the slopes, until near the summit.
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    One correction, Lincoln Gap road is closed in winter, therefore you need to approach from the north on the Ellen side.

    Getting to the trailhead is usually a big challenge in VT. 4WD, snow tires and studs are sometimes not optional. Bring a shovel and know where to tie a tow rope to both ends of your vehicle (Many newer cars are all plastic out front and in the rear and finding a place to tie onto is challenge that should be researched before you are stuck in snowbank ). The roads up to the state park at Camels Hump and Underhill State park are steep and narrow. They usually are gated and parking may require digging a spot out of the banking.

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    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    I would take the Battell trail up to Mt Abraham. It avoids the ski area completely and is a nice rigorous hike up to the Long Trail on the western side and then you take the Long Trail north to Abraham. Completely avoids Sugarbush ski area.
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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    There are 5 peaks on the AMC's list, but they left off one by accident. Mansfield's Nose has both the height and the prominence to qualify. It also has active microwave antennas on the top, so you may not like it (and it's not a very healthy place to stay for very long), but bagging the peak is a fine excuse to travel the length of the ridge on Mansfield.

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    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    Where are you getting that Mansfield’s nose has the prominence? It doesn’t even appear to have 200’??
    Take care, Spence
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    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
    Where are you getting that Mansfield’s nose has the prominence? It doesn’t even appear to have 200’??
    Take care, Spence
    Close. From the topo map I'm looking at, highest possible max. is 4039 and lowest possible min. is 3841 for an optimistic prominence of 198'. Or course, more accurate up-to-date sources may say otherwise (e.g., LIDAR).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
    Where are you getting that Mansfield’s nose has the prominence? It doesn’t even appear to have 200’??
    Take care, Spence
    It has 200' optimistic. I don't know/remember/care which the AMC uses because they are so inconsistent anyway.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    It has 200' optimistic. I don't know/remember/care which the AMC uses because they are so inconsistent anyway.
    Who cares. Climb it anyhow. It's a great peak. Lincoln gap is a very viable approach to Abraham and Ellen on skis. Most of the ridge is doable on skis and is a classic traverse.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
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    One word of caution from a previous winter night hike up Mansfield from Underhill (don't ask, had to do with the solstice timing): Cairns above treeline are small, so don't count on their being visible in winter. Routefinding can be dicey if conditions are not optimal. Enjoy!!
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

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    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weatherman View Post
    One word of caution from a previous winter night hike up Mansfield from Underhill (don't ask, had to do with the solstice timing): Cairns above treeline are small, so don't count on their being visible in winter. Routefinding can be dicey if conditions are not optimal. Enjoy!!
    Ditto on this caution. This is serious above tree line terrain, and tough to navigate in all but optimal conditions. Coming via the Chin from the northeast, I was glad to have wands to get my group back to the trail/chute we broke out from. Without them in the wind, clouds and spindrift, it would have been tough indeed to find the exit point.

    Alex

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
    Where are you getting that Mansfield’s nose has the prominence? It doesn’t even appear to have 200’??
    Take care, Spence
    I used the Peakbagger.com list for Vermont 3500 footers when I was researching and they go by 160' of prominence for their rankings, thus the 6 vs 5 discrepancy. Not climbing any of them for a "list". Just figured the taller ones would have some exposed areas for views.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
    I would take the Battell trail up to Mt Abraham. It avoids the ski area completely and is a nice rigorous hike up to the Long Trail on the western side and then you take the Long Trail north to Abraham. Completely avoids Sugarbush ski area.
    That was route I actually was thinking about but I wondered about road access from that side of ridge. That isn't a problem in Winter?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    You can avoid the ski slopes on all 5 (not 6?) peaks, if you want to. You might be on them for a few minutes here and there...
    Camel's Hump - come from the West.
    From the West - Burrows Trail? What is the road situation over there? Looks like a lot of side roads off highway to access. Have a Subaru CrossTrek so good ground clearance and AWD but are there gates or anything? No trip reports since back in OCT.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  15. #15
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    For Mansfield, some trip reports reference a Winter lot on Rte 108. Looking at the map there is a short loop road about 1/4 mile up road from trail head. Is that what they are referring to? If I had my choice I'd rather go up via Sunset Ridge Trail. There is a trail report for that side but it mentions parking at Upton State Park 1.5 miles away. Is there some sort of maintained parking area there?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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