Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Mansfield - The Chin, Mt. Mansfield - The Forehead, VT
Trails: Long Trail, Lake Mansfield Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, March 9, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: FP dropped me off at Barnes Camp on Rt. 108. He parked at Lake Mansfield (& Catamount) Trail winter parking, which is large & plowed.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction, Traction, Ice Axe 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: A few blowdowns here & there.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Almost every dog would have trouble - at any time of year - on the ladders & scrambling between The Forehead & The Needles Eye. Fortunately there is a bypass of this section.  
Bugs: Snowfleas :) 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Found a carabiner 
Comments: Mt. Mansfield - The Chin, Lower Lip, Upper Lip, & Forehead

Long Trail from Rt. 108 to Nebraska Notch & down to Lake Mansfield

Well, having done the LT 5 times in non snow months, I knew this section would be the most challenging. Therefore, I brought everything: snowshoes, spikes, crampons, ice axe, poles, & even a rope!

Taft Lodge has snow packed halfway up the front door & completely covering the front deck. I did not go inside! Barebooted to just below treeline, at which point there were a few diverging paths through the spruce. Put snowshoes on after sinking into a spruce trap up to my hips. Televators & ice axe came in handy on the very steep slope going up The Chin, potentially quite a scary spot, but thankfully the slope was softer snow and not ice.

Winds on the ridge were brisk & chilly, but the scenery was stellar! Lots of ski tracks up there. Couple of confusing spots heading to The Forehead, GPS helpful. The Forehead was spectacular but route finding was a bit tricky before taking the plunge down to The Needles Eye.

This is the section I worried about beforehand. There are 5 ladders & some tricky moves w/ big dropoffs. (There is a “bad weather bypass,” but that is not the LT.) I switched from snowshoes to spikes & gingerly made my way down. Some ice to negotiate, but crampons & rope we’re not used. Much quicker than expected - and after seeing only 2 of the 5 ladders (the other 3 being buried in snow)!! - I was almost disappointed to arrive at Needles Eye.

The next 3.5 miles to Taylor Lodge was a lovely snowshoe through open hardwoods. An extra treat was the fact that this section had been snowshoed over the weekend such that I did not have to do any navigation. Yay! Fancypants met me at Taylor Lodge, and from there it was an easy 2.5 down to the car. There were a few bare, snow-free spots, but we opted to keep snowshoes on until reaching the road.

Somewhat surprisingly, even though temps hit the 50s, the snow was not overly sticky in our snowshoes. It was WARM... I heard geese flying north, spied a couple of chipmunks who’d emerged from hibernation, & saw fresh bear tracks! Happy to have finally done the full Mansfield traverse in winter.
Name: Snowflea 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-03-10 
Link: http:// 
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