Turnertoys Home Page: "Good Things for Kids"
March 27, 2005:
Hellbrook Trail to the summit of Mount Mansfield (4493', Vermont's highest peak)
Page 1   (More images on page 2)
     Ed L, Paul D, & David B. picked the perfect day for this short but very steep and strenuous climb. The day was crystal clear and calm, in the 40's, and in the high 60's in the sun. The snow on this trail gets treacherously soft, wet, slushy and rotten near spring, and a hiker is likely to break through the surface and disappear into some pretty big holes on the downhill side of rocks, but this day the snow was still firm.  Even the 2 stream crossings were easy on solid snow bridges. 
During the day, we crossed paths with many skiers and snowboarders on their way down. Some had walked right up the steep gulleys, not bothering with the trail itself. 

     The biggest challenge on Hellbrook in winter is finding it: it has more twists and turns than

A steep section farther up the trail. Poles and crampons make it easier, but snow-balling on my crampons meant I was carrying an extra few pounds on each foot as the sun softened the snow. 
any trail this short that I know of.  Dave did such a good job of spoting blue blazes that we lost very little time looking for the trail, and we made better time than I usually do by myself. The trailhead is about 3/4 miles north of the Long Trail on the Stowe side of rt 108, about 1/4 mile downhill of Smugglers Notch.  

   The trail starts with a small icy chute for a warm-up.
This time, the surface was covered with snow even at this spot,
so the traction was not difficult. 

Near the beginning -
this section is usually icy.

     The trail climbs quickly and steeply, and good views start early. At left: near the start of the trek, a view down the Notch Road (rt 108) towards the west. 
The last section of the Hellbrook is a walk around the base of the Adams Apple into the col below the summit - a lovely, sunny place on this day. At this point, the summit, only about 500 feet above, comes clearly into view (right).
 See a good view of this terrain from above.

From the col northwest of the Chin (summit).  See a Larger Image 
Climbing up the Chin into a blazing warm sun. Paul can be seen in silhouette at the left.  See a large image.  
On the summit. The reward: good views in all directions (on Page 2) and a suntan in March.  

Page 2 - More images