Ascent of Nancy Hanks Peak on 2010-10-24
|Others in Party:||Ed Horse|
|Date:||Sunday, October 24, 2010|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Nancy Hanks Peak|
| Elevation:||3812 ft / 1161 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAddison and (half of) Washington County
Mt Abraham and Mt Ellen
I was hoping to finish off most of Vermont last weekend, but the icy conditions on the very exposed summit of Camel’s Hump, squashed any plans of even attempting that peak. Eric, who’d joined me the day before on his first bushwhack hike, came up with an interesting plan for getting Mt Abraham and Mt Ellen. All of the accounts we’d read mentioned traversing the range but none seemed to consider using the ski areas as access points. We figured that by starting at Sugarbush and running the ridge to Mt Ellen and descending on the ski trails would be a lot more run-able, and in our minds more fun. It also looked like the road to the gaps on either end might be closed for the moment as the region had gotten anything from a dusting to over 1.5 feet of snow.
We dropped my car at Mt Ellen just before sunrise then headed over to Sugarbush. We’d prepared our packs the night before and included strapping our snowshoes on to the back (just in case). Eric went with some Nike XC shoes with “aggressive tread” and I wore my Stumptown END high top running shoes. Eric was familiar with the first 2.5 mile up Sugarbush (2,300’ of climb) as this was the first 2.5 miles of the HERC race a couple of years ago. We took it pretty easy and ascended to the snow line without any trouble. There were some slick spots after that and some postholes to avoid but mostly the footing was very good. From about half-way up to the summit there was anywhere from a dusting to a foot of snow. We reached the viewing platform on top of Lincoln Peak in 48:21 and spent 4 minutes on the summit snapping a couple of quick pictures and taking in the limited (clouds) view.
We headed off to Mt Abraham and right away the trail looked awful, but after a very short time the grade was less and the footing was excellent. We shuffled over to Abraham (.8 mile) in 14:10 and found that the weather was closing in. Big dark clouds had eliminated pretty much any view and there was snow falling in the gap. It wasn’t snowing on Abraham but we didn’t waste any time, after 2 minutes we were heading back to Lincoln Peak. An easy 15:10 later we tagged the top of Lincoln for the second time and headed off for Mt Ellen. We only had a moment of concern as we hit the final ski slope and weren’t exactly sure where the Long trail was (it was on a ski trail). We spent the next 57:28 covering the 2.9 miles across the ridge and over the bumps of Nancy Hanks, Castle Rock, and Cutt’s Peak. We hesitated again on Mt Ellen, not 100% certain because we did not find a sign (but there was a cairn). We took a 3 minute break and took a few more pictures before the zip zag descent via the ski trails to the base of the mountain. The final 2+ mile descent took us 35:14, the upper slopes were a blast with just enough snow to make for a rapid and minimal impact descent. From the middle part of the mountain down we ran on a dirt access road and had no trouble with footing. We picked up the tempo when we finally spotted my car and realized we’d be right around the three hour mark. I hit my watch at the bottom 2:59:55 after we started. We both had a lot of fun picking up a couple of more miles of Long Trail and getting me close to completing the county high points of Vermont.
Distance = more than 9 miles
Climb/descent = 3,675
|Summary Total Data|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground|
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