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Ascent of Dorset Mountain on 2020-04-25

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, April 25, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Dorset Mountain
    Location:USA-Vermont
    Elevation:3760 ft / 1146 m

Ascent Trip Report

After hiking Grass Mountain I scrolled over to Dorset on Maps Me and set course to the nearest road. This was an error as I was hoping to hike it from the Dorset Mountain Trailhead on Tower Road, but I ended up driving to Sweeney Lane in North Dorset. Sweeney quickly becomes a forest trail and I didn't want to continue in my Corolla. I noticed that the trailhead was actually after an intersection with Dorset Hill Road, but on appearances, there was no bridge and these two roads did not connect. I realized it would be half an hour of driving to get to the Tower Road trailhead and more to get back on the highway to go home. I decided that adding hundreds of feet of gain was an acceptable consequence of not looking closely enough at the map. This was, after all, the final peak on the Vermont P2K list for me and it was fitting for some hiccup to challenge me when I had planned to do the final two peaks on the same day.

Starting from where Sweeney turns to gravel, and after waiting for some hooligan on a dirt bike who rode by several times twisting the throttle on and off all the way, I crossed the creek where the road was supposed to. It was a bushwhack from square one and it appeared that there was never a road here although Maps Me showed one. In only a few minutes I got up on to a higher trail on the edge of the meadow and began to follow that. Looking back towards the creek I saw that Sweeney/the trail does connect and crosses the river an eight mile up of where the map showed. I used Peakbagger's app from here and followed a blue blazed trail until it split left and a trail going higher up the mountain (and not down to Emerald Lake) went right. There was then a diamond shape split in the trail to get up on the ridgeline. Both trails looked similarly long and steep, and I chose the left. At the crest of the ridge were the best views of the hike, although I didn't know it then. The ridge trail continued to be like a logging road in width and once I was in the pines, snow appeared. Once I got on a trail hooking to the left and traversing the south face, there was snowpack to the top. The biggest issue was that there was water running down the trail under the snow making it likely that the snow surface would collapse when I actually walked on the trail. Staying on the edges, but still post-holing some, I actually lost the trail as it turned upward and to the right. I was only 200 vert off the top, so I just bee-lined it and caught a snow mobile trail for the final few hundred feet. At the top is a sign with DORSET written backwards for some reason and a ewer at the base of the tree. The register container was broken and the pages were soaked. There were no views to be seen.

On the way down I wanted to go to the old firetower spot which I thought was the northeast peak. I followed the snowmobile trail there to the sign that says East Ridge with a skull on it. This trail was the best for snow travel since it was packed down and I usually didn't sink in. There were not, unfortunately, views here either. I then descended back to the saddle and worked down until another forest road on the topo hits the creek. There was a dilapidated camper trailer here, and I followed the almost flat trail back to the south face traverse trail I was on earlier. From there, it was a fairly quick hike down the way I came, moving quickly with gravity as my aid. It was about 60F at the base and I felt a bit tired and dehydrated from the two hikes. It was a great day in the mountains despite small hardships and miscalculations.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3010 ft / 917 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3010 ft / 917 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.1 mi / 9.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2895 ft / 882 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2875 ft / 877 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Loss on way in:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Start Trailhead:Sweeney Lane  885 ft / 269 m
    Time:1 Hours 55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2990 ft / 911 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2875 ft / 877 m; Extra: 115 ft / 35m
    Gain on way out:115 ft / 35 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.4 km
    End Trailhead:Sweeney Lane  885 ft / 269 m
    Time:1 Hours 23 Minutes



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