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 Mt. Abraham via Lincoln Gap and Long Trail 31MAR07 
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 Mt. Abraham via Lincoln Gap and Long Trail 31MAR07
I will try to make this trip report a little shorter than the previous one. I just want to post at least a little bit about these Vermont mountains since there seems to be so little information available on them compared to the volumes written about the NH 48.

Again I started my my hike by searching around the net looking for information about the trails and various approaches. Mt. Abraham seems to have three major trails, the Long Trail from the North, from the South and Batell trail. In addition an approach via one of the ski trails was a possibility.

The Long Trail from the North means starting at one of the ski trails or heading up Jerusalem trail and over Mt. Ellen. I had already tried this last weekend and wasn't looking to hike it again. Taking the Batell trail means driving through Appalachian Gap and down the back side of the range. This would probably add an extra hour to the three hour drive, yuck. Not to mention the unknown condition of the dirt roads leading to the trail head.

That left Lincoln Gap and the Long Trail from the South as the other viable alternative. From what I could gather from the web Lincoln Gap road is unplowed in the winter. What I didn't know is where they stopped plowing. After meeting a guy on the summit of Ellen last weekend who claimed to live on the Gap Road he told me that there weren't any road blocks or anything and as soon as the snow melts the road is open. He said it was plowed up until the 'steep part'. What I didn't know was the condition fo the dirt parts of Lincoln Gap road, after last weekend I was concerned about being stuck.

I decided to try Lincoln Gap Road and if things got to muddy I would turn around and head up via one of the ski trails at Sugerbush. Using Google Earth I tried to estimate where the road stopped being plowed based on the comment of 'the steep part'. I figured it would only be at most a mile and half before the trail head. Considering that the Long trail from Lincoln Gap to the summit was only 2.3 miles an additional mile or two wouldn't hurt.

So I again woke up at 4:30 and drove the three hours to Route 100. So glad there are only five 4K mountains in VT. The Lincoln gap road turned out to be mostly paved, and paved fairly recently as well. There were a couple of dirt sections but they were in much better shape than the Jerusalen road was last weekend. I figured I should have no problems driving back out once the frozen dirt turned to mud in the afternoon.

I was hoping that the road would be open all the way to the trailhead but I soon came to the pile of snow where the snow plow stopped. There was indeed a sign in the middle of the road that said 'Road Closed'. It would have been easy to drive around if there had been no snow but there was so I parked the car and geared up.

There was probably three to five inches of hard pack on the road itself with the occasional bare spot. This road is steep! At least a 10% grade the whole way up but the walking was easy and steady, I just kept pushing along. It only took me 45 minutes to reach the Gap and the Long Trail trailhead. I estimate it was just under a mile from the end of the plowed section to the trailhead with maybe 1000 feet elavation gain.

This section of the Long Trail was probably one of the nicest sections I've hiked so far. Fairly wide, well packed and easy to follow. There still seemed to be a severe lack of blazes but I didn't have any problem following the trail this time. Only an occasional nuisance blowdown. I was soon at the Batell Trail junction and the Batell shelter. I stopped for a few minutes at the shelter and put on my crampons. I probably didn't need them but I feel safer when wearing them in hard pack snow.

The Long Trail to the summit from the shelter is steeper than the rest of the trail but I was still making good time. Some sections I could tell where rock slabs under the snow but with the crampons, snow and ice I didn't have any problems just bounding over them.

The Summit was amazing. Another picture perfect day. There was no snow or ice on the very top and the rocks had been warmed from the sun. A few birds twittered around. I sat and ate my lunch and took in the views. Wow. This is really a great mountian.

About half way down to the Batell Shelter I ran into two people on their way up. They had come up via the Batell trail. They had bare booted the whole way.

I tried butt sliding down Lincoln Gap road but the snow was really too soft. While I did get going a little bit I figured it was faster and required less energy to just walk down. Besides my butt was getting bruised! Now if I had a sled or something, woohoo!

The whole hike only took me five hours round trip incuding the half hour or so on the summit. I'm kinda glad I was forced to add the extra part of the Lincoln Gap road onto the hike otherwise I think it would have been way to short for me.

The dirt section of the Lincoln Gap road had in fact melted into mudd on my way out. I was a little worried driving through them but nowhere near as bad as it was on Jerusalem Road last week.

- C. Thomas

P.S. Oooops I guess this wasn't as short as I thought it was going to be. Pics will be posted here in a day or two
http://www.cristhomas.com/climb


Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:12 am
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Hey CT

I really appreciate the TR's as I am hoping to hit VT this summer to help a friend finish his NE67.

Keep 'em coming!
Bill

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Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:30 pm
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Leg Burner
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Well I only have one VT mountain left, Mansfield, and with the current snow it looks like I should be able to hit it this weekend without worrying about mud season.

I did Camel's Hump last fall but never wrote a TR. It is a pretty straight forwrad mountain though. Drive to the end of the road, hike up the trail and hike down. If you look at the map you can make it a little more inteesting by doing a loop around the base of the mountian. I wouldn't do the loop in the winter though as the blazes on one of the trails are very few and far between.

I don't think I did a trip report for Kilington either. But again pretty straight forward. With the hardest part being finding the trailhead. Although I suppose you could 'cheat' and take the ski trails.

As for Mansfield I am expecting a rather easy mountain since it is basically the Lafayette and or Monadnock of VT being the most hiked mountain in the state. But then again VT trails have surprised me before so we will see.

- C. Thomas


Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:20 pm
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Well I missed Mansfield last weekend and other trip reports indicate that it was a wise idea. There should be plenty fo snow left for next weekend though.

Besides it gave me a chance to get the pictures from Abraham posted up. They are at the link in the TR.

- C. Thomas


Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:34 am
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Great shot looking to the Daks!

I actually expected more snow just based on the snowfall totals we've been seeing in the media.

Looked like a great day to be out...thanks for sharing,
Bill

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Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:34 am
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