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 Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016 
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 Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
I decided to do this one on a whim- I drove up I-89 in the general direction of the mountain, pulled into Circle K in Warner, then after buying some doughnuts for the road, I said, "What the hell, let's do Dorset Peak!" Whipped out the GPS and set course for the town of Dorset, VT. Unfortunately, I couldn't get directions to Tower Rd (where the "trailhead" was), so I had to rely on my fuzzy memory of the directions I read on SummitPost to get there. Take Dorset Hollow Rd from route 30 near Dorset center to Upper Hollow Rd; turn left on Tower Rd and park at the plowed end of said road.

Dorset Peak is on the New England Hundred Highest and New England 50 Finest lists; it was #70 and #28, respectively. I primarily hiked it for the 50 Finest, though. The AMC considers Dorset "officially trailless", but there are woods roads and foot paths all over the place, and there are at least a couple well-known routes to the top, such as the one I took (Dorset Hollow Route) and the Danby Four Corners Route from the north.

From my parking spot, I followed the woods road uphill slightly, which was tracked out at first; however, the tracks ended after about a 1/2 mile or so, so I tracked out the rest of the route. Snow cover was somewhat thin though, so snowshoes or light traction would do the job; I wore the latter. After a brook crossing near a demolished cabin, the trail's grade picked up in grade slightly, then signficantly, following a brook most of the way to the "Notch" between Dorset and its west summit. Near the notch, the trail mellowed a bit, then I climbed again into it, meeting up with the Danby trail. Apparently, the Danby route is used by snowmobiles, since I saw tracks from them heading down the trail from the notch. The rest of the way to Dorset, though, was untracked. Back to trail breaking I went...

...but not for long. Not long after leaving the notch, I was passed by four snowmobiles, who also packed out the trail (thank you!). A few tenths of a mile after the passing, the route veered right uphill (not packed out). More steep climbing awaited me, but it wasn't as bad as the approach to the ridge. I soon came to a path heading very abruptly uphill to what I later found out was the south peak, but I skipped that and stayed on the path I tracked out.

Soon, I came to a junction, marked by a sign and more snowmobile tracks. The way to Dorset Peak was left; I went right at first, but then turned around and went the left route. About 1/10 of a mile or so past the junction, I came to another one marked by an old and very weathered sign stating what was where. The way to go was straight through. It was rough going at times due to the steep walking beforehand, but I soon stood on the 3,770 ft. summit, 2 hours after starting.

The summit of Dorset Peak was wooded to the bone and therefore viewless, but it had a canister (which I popped open and signed), an derelict sign, and an old jug. I took my summit footage and then cleared a spot and ate some snacks. Headed back down the way I came after about a 1/2 hour on the top. Got back to the car in an hour.

Ultimately, this is a peakbagger's mountain- besides being on the NE 50 Finest and 100 Highest, there's not much to this one, but hey, it's another one off both of said lists, and another new peak in general. Plus, I got to test out my navigation skills a little bit. Roundtrip distance was about 6.5 miles with 2,300 ft. of gain.

The last peak in southern VT I "need" for the 50 Finest is Grass Mountain, which I believe is also the westernmost peak on it (correct me if I'm wrong). I think that's trailless too, but I need to do more research- I think I read somewhere about a possible snowmobile trail route to the top. Like I said though, gotta do my homework.

Here's the video recap, if you have some time to kill: https://youtu.be/tFBzhY6oABg

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NEHH: 75/100


Last edited by hiker0200 on Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:25 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Seems like a great hike for a cloudy day. Hope it wasn't bluebird up there like it was around here. I don't catch nearly enough cloudless days to spend one hiking a wooded hump. You also sure seem to like your balaclava more than I do. I can't stand the feeling of it over my face and only wear it when I absolutely have to. Also, someone needs to tell the AMC if a mountain has jeep roads, snowmobile trails, herd paths, trail signs and whatever else it is not trail-less. I wonder how many of their "trail-less" peaks actually have jeep roads, snowmobile trails, logging roads etc just about to the top like this and Reddington.

That said, is the 50 Finest a list you actually intend to finish? I keep track of it, but have no intentions of ever getting all fifty done.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:13 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
That said, is the 50 Finest a list you actually intend to finish? I keep track of it, but have no intentions of ever getting all fifty done.


Gonna be a long term list. I would like to do all 50, butt it's going to take a while. The peaks are all spread far apart, so I can only do one per hike, and maybe a couple per trip if I'm lucky. Most of the peaks I have left are in Maine, many of them up near Quebec and Greenville/Baxter SP, so I can't make it a habit to go full steam ahead with the list, particularly in Maine. I finance my car, ya know :wink: ? Also, once summer rolls around, it's back to the New England 67.

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:24 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
I wonder how many of their "trail-less" peaks actually have jeep roads, snowmobile trails, logging roads etc just about to the top like this and Reddington.


On the NEHH? Just this one, Big Jay (illegally cut ski path), the aforementioned Reddington (which I've suggested to one or two members of the 4K committee that they really might want to stop calling it trailless and saying there isn't even a hint of a herd path between it and South Crocker...). And Snow Chain of Ponds you could argue (ATV trail half the way, then a "trail").

Both Dorset approaches are listed in the Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont (or whatever the book is called) that the GMC publishes. Snow Chain of Ponds has a slightly out-of-date, but close enough description in the AMC's Maine Mountain Guide. The rest of the officially "trail-less" peaks (aside from Redington; also, Big Jay and Nancy are listed by the AMC as having good herd paths to them, which is accurate) are as advertised, though most have varying states of herd paths to the summits.

Oh, and Boundary Peak from the Canadian side is all logging roads plus the border swath. Technically trail-less, but yea.


Spencer, I'm impressed you remembered how to find Tower Road last-minute off-hand. I'd need a guidebook and road map in front of me, and even then I'd probably forget. Google does seem to know how to find "Tower Road, Dorset, VT" though.

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:26 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Doesn't Nubble have the illegally cut trail also that they refuse to recognize? Or am I thinking of something else? And I'd argue Reddington with its old wardens jeep road cleared almost to the summit that most people take down would make it not trail less whatever the state of the herd path. So that would make a full half of the "trail less" peaks that basically have roads and/or trails up them. Too funny.


Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:05 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Nubble has an illegally cut trail that Gene Daniels, when he was on the FTFC, forbade you to use. Not sure it is really forbidden these days. As for "trailless", the AMC means "no trails marked on our maps which accompany our books".

I think Scar Ridge, from Loon/Black Mountain, had the fewest signs of human travel of any of the NEHH. Everything else has herd paths or something... there was very little navigational challenge to do any of them. Or, if there was, it was picking the right herd path or old logging/jeep/snowmobile/ATV road from among the choices.

Tim

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:24 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
bikehikeskifish wrote:
Nubble has an illegally cut trail that Gene Daniels, when he was on the FTFC, forbade you to use. Not sure it is really forbidden these days.

The line Gene wrote back when about "requesting" folks not to apply for the patch if they used that trail remains in the packet (at least as of 2013 when I picked up a copy). But many of the "common" routes from back then are still in there too, even though some of them get hardly any traffic anymore (might make for a more challenging way to do this list now, without simply picking a bearing and going for it).

Besides, PAtN has a much more fun route to it anyway.

bikehikeskifish wrote:
I think Scar Ridge, from Loon/Black Mountain, had the fewest signs of human travel of any of the NEHH. Everything else has herd paths or something... there was very little navigational challenge to do any of them. Or, if there was, it was picking the right herd path or old logging/jeep/snowmobile/ATV road from among the choices.


This. Agreed 100%.

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:02 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
Sort of makes sense, since it only matters for their list/criteria, that they refer to their maps when deciding what is trailed and not. But really, if it has a jeep road up it I still couldnt say with a straight face it is a trail less peak, which to me implied a bushwhack, but maybe that's just me.


Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:19 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
I'm going to have to check my GPS track log for Dorset later on because I remember thinking (in summer, when I did it) that it would be a decent peak to ski in winter -- I looped up to the col with north peak, and then went south over the summit and over south peak, and down the steep way. But I think it could be skied all the way to the top and back if you avoid the south portion of that loop.

Tim

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:15 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
bikehikeskifish wrote:
I'm going to have to check my GPS track log for Dorset later on because I remember thinking (in summer, when I did it) that it would be a decent peak to ski in winter -- I looped up to the col with north peak, and then went south over the summit and over south peak, and down the steep way. But I think it could be skied all the way to the top and back if you avoid the south portion of that loop.

Tim


Same trek you describe:
Image

It's wide enough that I bet a decent (read not me) skier could do it, yea.

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:10 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
If I do finish the 50 Finest, I already know what peak I'm finishing on- Big Spencer Mountain :D !

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:13 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
What a cool day tramping through the woods. I'd be doing more stuff if my car was good to go. I'm jealous honestly. Hopefully this will turn around this coming week.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:02 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
hiker0200 wrote:
If I do finish the 50 Finest, I already know what peak I'm finishing on- Big Spencer Mountain :D !


Strong.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:54 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
It is a cool way to finish. There should be a hike NH outing for that one. Along with a few others. I'm sure we'd have no problem documenting that one.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:02 pm
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 Re: Dorset Peak, VT- 1/24/2016
thegibba wrote:
It is a cool way to finish. There should be a hike NH outing for that one. Along with a few others. I'm sure we'd have no problem documenting that one.


Now that would be fun! We might have to do something else while we're there, 'cause the hike is only 5.5 miles roundtrip :oops:

I'd be down for a Hike-NH outing sometime this year (besides FOT48). Quite frankly, it's gonna take me a while to hike the rest of 'em, since most of them involve driving 400-700 miles roundtrip :shock: :wink: .

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NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:01 pm
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