Participants: Kevin Lynde, Wolfgang Hokenmaier (outing leader)
Despite more initial interest in the outing, Kevin was the only person I had heard back from by Saturday night. Given Kevin’s strong and recent hiking resume, and both of us being used to hiking solo, we decided to meet as planned at 8am at the end of the road in Stowe. Forecast was a high of 50 for this day, but in the morning it seemed far from it, being cold, overcast and with light snow falling. The Long Trail was hard and covered with more than a dusting of fresh powder from the night. Snowshoe crampons needed to be applied firmly on the steeper sections. We arrived at Taft Lodge just after 10am. The door was open and blocked by snow and ice piling up in front of the building, with just a small hole permitting entrance.
Further up there were definitely no signs of spring on this windy and cold morning. We ascended the North Ridge using full crampons, which dug in through the hard crust just the right amount. Snowshoe crampons would have been a challenge if not outright dangerous on this exposed section of trail.
The weather improved with every step, it seemed, and by the time we reached the summit the weather forecast seemed much more plausible, with the sun coming out and showing its April strength.
Somehow we missed Profanity Trail and descended more towards the gondola, which was a fun detour given the still excellent conditions for our crampons, which permitted us to choose our own path. We circled back and joined Profanity just uphill from the Lodge and descended in the now increasingly soft conditions, passing a couple dozen other hikers who had apparently chosen to sleep in much longer than us. A fun and rewarding hike, from a “mid-winter” alpine ascend to getting a tan on the way down.