Mount Mansfield

  • Mount Mansfield
  • 1339 m.
  • Primary factor 1110 m
  • Location: North 44:32.639, West 072:48.856 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed on September 21, 2008.


How to get there: From Boston, this trailhead is about 200 miles, mostly Interstate highway. Head north on I-93, then I-89 and drive a bit further than Montpelier. In this area, the Interstate exits are numbered, leave I-89 on exit 10. You immediately arrive at a stop sign where you should turn right, this is Hwy. 100. Go north on Hwy. 100 to the small village called Stowe. Here, you should turn left on Hwy. 108. Follow Hwy. 108, 8.1 miles, at this point you will find parking on the left hand side of the road. This is the trailhead, location N44:32.281, W072:47.458, elevation about 500 meter. Park here.
Route description: From the parking, walk south (in the direction you came from), as far as people can park off the paved road. At this end, there is a big information sign and a clear trail that heads in among the trees. This trail is called Long trail. Very shortly, there is a trail register on your left. The trail starts climbing, first on a small ridge, then across an (almost) dry creek and generally uphill. Eventually, you reach a (multiple) trail fork. There is an outhouse up right, and a trail forks left. Continue straight ahead, soon thereafter a new trailfork with a sign saying Profanity trail forks left. In order to make this upper section a round trip hike, one can follow Profanity trail from here. To this point the hike is (YDS) class 1, however, the upper part of both trails is steep enough to earn a class 2 rating.
The Profanity trail heads up and makes the ridge on the south side of the summit, an easy trail takes you the short section north to the summit. The other alternative is perhaps slightly easier, but still a class 2 trail. This trail gains the north ridge and subsequently the summit. If you ascend Profanity, you may descend Long trail back down to the fork that is described above, then return back down to the trailhead.
Comments: I had attended a 2 day scientific meeting (DD 18.5 in honor of professor Widlund's 70th. birthday) at Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (NYU), and "en route" to a second conference to be held in Edinburgh, before returning to Bergen. New York still felt very familiar, I lived here 27 years ago. The city is safer, the subway has improved and the twin towers are missing, but the atmosphere remains the same. I was staying downtown near Wall Street, this week had been the most turbulent in world finance since the big depression. I had decided to spend the weekend up in New England, where my top priority would be to climb Mount Washington.
I left New York early and arrived in Boston shortly before 1000. The drive went according to plan and by 1330 I was ready to start my first hike. I was a bit worried, since my left ancle had been painful for several weeks without any particular cause to blame. Fortunately, hiking along a trail did not seem to make things worse. I could feel a slight discomfort, but nothing to write home about.
I arrived at the summit already by 1445, quite a bit ahead of my schedule. Several people had already arrived. I noted surprisingly many French tourists, before I realized that they clearly came from the French speaking part of Canada. The visibility had improved and the view back down to the base of the ski area showed that we had indeed climbed a few vertical meter. Leaving by 1500, I was back down at 1610, about the same time for descending as for my ascent.
Next, I drove across to New Hamphire, in order to climb Mount Washington the following day. It was the end of a nice day, the car radio, FM 92.9 kept telling me that this was "A feel good, flashback weekend", whatever significance that might carry. I navigated reasonably accurately and arrived at Pinkham Notch around 1915. I was afraid that this would be just a parking lot with a trailhead and was prepared to return back down to the last town, however here was an open Visitor Center, as well as the Joe Dodge Lodge. Discounts for AMC members (Appalachien Mountain Club), but others were welcome also. (55 US per night, 2008.)