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Ascent of Mount Mansfield on 2016-10-05

Climber: Jason Vogler

Date:Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Mansfield
    Location:USA-Vermont
    Elevation:4393 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had been planning this for a few months as I had three days to go on my own Highpoint Bagging event for the fifty states. I wanted to start if off with a real mountain and not just the equivalant of a car rest stop. In any case October in the Upper North east could go any direction with the weather so i had two open days to do this hike I just had to wait for the correct weather. I was lucky however as the weather was spectacular for the entire week!

I was in Albany New York for a business trip and I took advantage of this by setting up a few days for my hiking adventure...company paying for my vacation in effect. Getting to some of these locations is sometimes the hardest part so thankfully I had the opportunity. So I got up at 3:30 AM and was on the road just after 4 heading up I-87. Around lake George I cut over to Hwy 7 in Vermont and headed North to Burlingtion. The drive was almost 3 hours to Burlington but I was making good time. I then got on I 89 where I made my only real mistake of the day which was trust Google! I had programed in where I wanted to start my hike however when the pin dropped it was near Stowe. I didn't realize until I got just off the exit that would have taken me to Stowe. I was 15 miles where I wanted to be and had to back track. I was not happy as time was going to be an issue as I was hoping to drive to New Hampshire after Mansfield as long as I finished by Noon. Once back on track it was not difficult to find where I wanted to go but I was pretty mad of being behind schedule.

As I pulled into the Underhill state park I could see the summit was socked in... My streak of summit white out appeared to be in play. I had to go to the bathroom and paid the fee at the ranger station. $4.00. I then started up from the underhill parking lot and headed up Eagles cut trail. this was about half a mile until you get to a fork that gives you two options.

The first option is the trail I went up which was Sunset Ridge. the first mile were great and just as I cleared the majority of the forest I had an amazing view of the forest at the base in all its autumn colors. It was breathtaking. Like an explosion of fireworks in the reds, oranges, greens, yellows, and browns everywhere. The climb was getting very steep as well with several locations that required some scrambling up over some very large boulders.

Then I climbed into the clouds and could see neither the top nor the view around the mountain. I was so bummed! Anyway I was hoping that the clouds would burn off...I crossed the ridgeline and was now on the long trail. It was well marked and no way to get confused. From there it was only about a 1/4 mile to the summit. As I got to the top I got slightly lucky as there were a few breaks in the clouds that let me see out. it was not perfect but better than a grey mist. I got my money shot on the geo marker and moved on. I spoke with one gentleman on the top and we chit chatted for awhile. We walked down to the spilt back over the ridge where he continued on the Long trail down into Stowe and I followed the Sunset ridge trail...well only for about 100 yards.

At this juncture there was another fork that you could take the Laura Cowles trail down to Underhill state park parking lot. It was about 1/2 a mile shorter and I was pressed for time and made the second mistake of the day and went down this path. NEVER NEVER NEVER go DOWN the Laura Cowles trail it was slipper and steep and damn dangerous. The Sunset ridge is not easy but it was not dangerous. I fell hard once going down and I was not very happy with my choice. However it was quicker and i was in a hurry and in that way it payed off for me but a bad decision none the less. Once down the steep part it was a nice path and I had little trouble after about 1.5 miles. I finished at 11:30 and everything was good for me to make it to Mt Washington.

Wahooo! Highpoint #15 is done!
Summary Total Data
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Low Clouds



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