I'm going to preface this by admitting I did not rise to my own challenge. HOWEVER, I'm positive it can be safely done. Vermont has five peaks over 4,000 feet. In many places throughout the Northeast it's possible to summit five or more such mountains in about half a day. I wrote a trip report for just such a hike in the Adirondacks a couple years ago. Vermont is a bit different though. The southern most peak, Killington, is nearly a two hour drive from the northern most, Mansfield. Not to mention only two of the peaks can be climbed in tandem, the rest are single accents requiring a lot of hopping in and out of the car. As far as I know, this type of thing isn't an "official" challenge like Nolan's Run in Colorado or the Devil's Path in the Catskills, so maybe we can make it one right here on summit post! So lets go!
Killington is the second tallest summit in the state, but like all but one summit you will conquer, it's highly developed by ski resorts and mountain biking trails. The development ruins the serenity, but it makes for a quick and steep climb. The best way to climb Killington is to take the most direct route up, following the main ski lift up a leg-busting 1,600 feet in just 1.1 miles. I do not recommend taking this way down. The trail is overgrown and difficult to find your footing. It is a beautiful view for your effort. Take note of the Long Trail that crosses over the summit.
Killington has an odd color-letter route system that you can follow back down. All in all, the trip was about a 3.3 miles and took me about an hour and a half. Not bad for a high peak.Mount Abraham and Ellen
You got to hit the road! Take VT 100 and snake your way to Sugarbush ski resort. It takes a bit over an hour from Killington.
I approached this ascent wrong! After my success climbing Killington with breakneck speed up the ski lift, I thought Abe and El could be done the same. Despite being lower than Killington, there is well over 2,400 feet of elevation gain between the two climbs. I took on a lift lane that was under construction, only to find that after a brutally long ascent, I was only 70% of the way up; I was not pleased. The rest of the climb was on utility roads and finally back to the Long Trail.
I wasn't too tore up about having to leave. By the time I made my way to the foot of Abraham I would see the sun starting to move down rapidly; it's about a 10 mile round trip between these two peaks. I knew I could take on Camel's Hump in good time and have a great view of the sunset, but I would end taking on Mansfield in the dark. I decided to cut my losses and head to Burlington for a beer.
Camel's Hump, Mansfield, and Your Turn!
I would love to see someone else tear this challenge up, so here's my tips:
I'll let you know how attempt two goes. For more challenges, trip reports, adventure book reviews and more, check out my blog!
Ramble on! Cheers.