There was a major snowstorm the day before, with over a foot of new snow in Burlington, and the snow continued during the hike. From the winter lot, we went up the road and then up the Laura Cowles trail. Even the bridges were a challenge, with 3-4’ total snow depths – and a chance to slide off if not careful. Someone had been up before us, which provided some trailbreaking, but we still had a hard, steep climb in our snowshoes, with a lot of slipping backward. One person was hit by a snowshoe when a climber ahead slipped back, and the person suffered a cut lip.
All continued up to treeline, where there is a rock wall and some shelter. It took about 3 ½ hours to reach this point. Two people decided to turn down at this point, but the others headed forward into winds that became more and more vicious with every foot up. The lead hikers reached the intersection of Laura Cowles and Sunset Ridge, in probably 10 degree temperatures, and 40-50 MPH winds, and turned back because of unsafe conditions there and worse higher up.
It took about 4 hours to reach the intersection going up, and two hours to get back to the cars. By the time we finished, as much as two feet of new snow had probably fallen at Mount Mansfield in the previous 48 hours.
It was quite an adventure, but all survived.
Participants – Nola Royce, Aileen Gennett, Jenny Lynch, Matt Clark, Rachel Moulton, Kelly Lavallee, Karl Riemer, Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen