View Full Version : Hiking Mount Mansfield
01-01-2009, 05:35 PM
I apologize if this post is out of place as Mount Mansfield is not part of the white mountains (although it probably is white at the top ;) ), but I believe that I once saw a post here relating to it.
I am planning on going to Stowe, VT tomorrow with some family, and they are planning on taking the gondola to the top. I was thinking of seizing to opportunity to hike it with a couple others while we were there, pending weather conditions.
I have heard that is takes about 2.5-3 hours to make it to the summit in the winter, does this seem correct? Which trails would you recommend?
The main issue will be time. We probably will not arrive there until about 11. I know that this is pushing it since this is when I got to the trail head of Mount Cardigan last week, and I barely made it back down by dusk. If I don't think I can make it, I would think that I could just take the gondola back down with my family. Are there connecting trails that make this possible? And if so, are there any other options that you would recommend with my shortened day, such as hiking from only the gondola to the summit, etc.
During this time of the year what can I expect above tree line? Will it be similar to Mount Cardigan? I am assuming that I will need to use my crampons and ice axe.
Thanks in advance! :)
01-02-2009, 03:49 PM
The normal winter trail up Mount Mansfield begins just off Route 108 at the closure gate. You may be able to park there or you have to park with the rest of the cars at the ski area. From that point there is a fairly easy to follow and well used trail that climbs to the summit. Staying mostly away from the ski runs.
You'll need snowshoes or skis with skins to make the ascent. There is a chance the trail will be packed enough you can just wear boots. Also, you won't need crampons or an ice axe. Only a few hundred feet of the climb are above treeline and many skiers ride the gondola and make a quick run to the summit without any special equipment. But, if you're traveling a long distance it would be frustrating to make it within 100ft of the summit only to be turned back by a small icy section.
If you don't make it back to the gondola I suggest descending one of the ski runs. It is the quickest way down.
01-02-2009, 08:26 PM
My trip to EMS took longer than expected and got there around 1. I knew that this wasn't enough time so I settled for the gondola. It was still worth it though. It didn't take very long to make it to the top, but once I got up there, it was a mess. The winds were extremely high and the snow was coming down hard. I couldn't see that far along the ridge as I walked across it, and it took me a good while to find the summit marker. This was because once I summited one peak it as such a whiteout that I couldn't see any other peaks and assumed I was on the summit. Crampons made it significantly easier, but I suppose that you could get away without them. I actually saw a group of skiers making their way up as Bill mentioned. But this hike is highly recommended, even if you can only go from the gondola up to the summit.
After this I really want to climb from the bottom or take my skis up to the top, I've been looking for some good backcountry skiing! :cool:
01-05-2009, 05:15 PM
We were up at Smuggler Notch yesterday ice climbing and I could not believe what a beautiful place it was! We are going to return this winter and hike in, set up camp, and do some ice climbing and also attempt to summit Mansfield. Mansfield looked like a lot of fun! It was such a nice place! Yesterday was super cold and windy, but very nice! :)
01-07-2009, 01:22 PM
I suggest The Hell Brook Trail for of a more exciting/steep ascent. Or Sunset Ridge or Maple Ridge from the Underhill side.
01-07-2009, 07:58 PM
I second the idea of heading up Mansfield in good weather from the Underhill side. The Sunset Ridge Trail, which begins at the Underhill State Park, spends alot more time above tree line than any of the east side (Stowe) routes.
Maple Ridge weaves down the mountain, threading its way around almost crevase like gaps in the rocks. As a winter route, Maple Ridge is a bit of a jig saw puzzle.
From the east side, Hell Brook and Profanity see alot of skier traffic. It might be a good idea to leave these routes to the skiers, and stick to the LT
Take care and enjoy
01-07-2009, 09:20 PM
When climbing from this side, what is the access to the trailhead in winter like? Is it plowed in to the trailhead, or is there a long road walk?
01-11-2009, 01:23 PM
From which side are you talking about? From the Underhill side both the Sunset Ridge Trail (Underhill State Park) and the Frost/Maple Ridge Trails are only a short walk from the parking area to the trail heads. From the Stowe side, Hell Brook Trail is about a 1.2 mile walk to the trail head through the notch whereas the Long Trail trail head is much closer to the parking lot.
03-06-2009, 11:48 AM
Does anybody know the current condition on Mansfield / access??
As I'm thinking of heading over there next weekend on the way home after my trip to North Conway / Mount Washington, but I've heard that SR108 is often impassable??? ( I'm going 100 from interstate to left 108 to parking lot by long trial)
Also, do you think this is to much for one day: leave North Conway early AM drive over to Mansfield do 3ish mile up long trail to chin and back... then drive back down I-91 to hotel near Mass border
The normal winter trail up Mount Mansfield begins just off Route 108 at the closure gate.
What is the name of this trail?
Where can I find a description?
I am planning my first Vermont trip.
Originally I wanted to go there right after Christmas, but the weather forecast doesn't look very nice. :(
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