Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not Just Tagging the Top: Vermont #48

Hi all,

Sorry I've been a bit behind in keeping this updated since my last post. Senior year is in full swing and I've never been busier! Well I got to the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's highpoint on September 11, 2011. This was my 48th highpoint and it was spectacular. I hiked with about 30 friends and family members, taking the Long Trail to the top. At around 2:20 pm we reached the summit! There, 20 more people were waiting for me and cheering me on. It was fantastic to save my home state for last, and I did beat the record for youngest female to do the lower 48 highpoints! The previous record was 18 years and 4 days, but my new record is now 17 years, 4 months, and 13 days.

It couldn't have been a more pleasant day, warm and sunny with a few breaths of air at the top, and of course only minimal bugs. On top after I stood on the USGS marker (on the highest point) my step dad Bill took a 10 pound watermelon out of his backpack and we passed it around! It truly was a fantastic finale to a long saga of family highpointing. Unfortunately, my older brother couldn't be there, Ryan. He was off at college in New York. It marked the end of the most incredible, challenging, amazing, frustrating, eye-opening, and unique journey. My years of family highpointing were over. However, it was also a door to new and exciting possibilities. My last 2 highpoints.

Now that the continental 48 are done, I'm going to have to travel off the main-land: to extremely different climates. Alaska and Hawaii. My plan thus far is to go to Hawaii in February and Alaska in May. The only way I'll be able to climb Denali in Alaska is if I get sponsored because it is incredibly expensive between the training in Washington, the guide, the equipment, and the flight. I'm working on sponsorship applications, but it's hard to work on those as I'm starting to apply to college as well. If anyone has any outdoor company connections I'd love to get in touch. is the best way to reach me.

Thanks to everyone for all the love and support I received on Mt. Mansfield and throughout the other 47 states.

I was written up in a few local papers, here are 2 of the links:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mt. Mansfield, the Highpoint of Vermont: Come Join Us!!

Please join me in climbing my 48th highpoint, Mt Mansfield in Vermont, on Sunday September 11th 2011!  If I am able to get to the top of Mt. Mansfield, I will be the youngest woman who has completed the 48 highpoints of the continental US, a goal I have been aiming at (with a lot of help from my family) for years! The youngest woman to do this so far was 18 years and 4 days, but I hope to break that record by 7 months!

For anyone who is feeling strong and ambitious, plan to meet me where the Long Trail meets Route 108 on the left (west) at ~11 am the morning of the 11th. This is about 3 hrs 50 minutes from Boston (I-93 to I-89 to VT 100 to VT 108) and about 1 hr 40 minutes from Norwich. There is a parking area on the left just north of the trail crossing. We will take the Long Trail, hike to the top and celebrate! The hike is 2.3 miles one way with a vertical gain of 2,800 feet. If anyone wants to take the gondola (and then hike 0.8 miles, extremely steep) or Stowe Auto Toll Rd (and then hike 1.4 miles) to the top, we can meet them at the Highpoint (also known as the “Chin” of Mt Mansfield), around 2pm.  

For anyone who doesn’t feel like a hike: after hanging out at the Highpoint of VT for ~45 minutes or so, I plan to hike down 1.4 miles to the Summit Station Parking area (where the Stowe Auto Toll Rd ends), meet the non-hikers, and celebrate some more around 3:15 pm.

Instead of taking the trail we took up, from the summit station parking area we will walk .5 miles down the road to another trail and hike to the bottom from there.  Drivers can just turn around and drive back to the bottom.  It’s about .6 miles from the bottom of that trail to the place where people parked to hike the Long trail route to the top….we can probably shuttle cars so that not everyone needs to hike that last 0.6 miles!! Hopefully we should be back at the bottom around 5:30.

To get to the Long Trail: From the junction of State Routes 100 and 108 in Stowe, VT, proceed NW on Route 108 for 8.2 miles to the point where the Long Trail meets Route 108 on the left (west).

(The Long Trail is a beloved trail in VT….it’s a 270 mile footpath along the main ridge of the Green Mountains from MA to Canada….so it’s cool to be able to hike this trail as I complete my goal.)

To take the access road: From the junction of State Routes 100 and 108 in Stowe, VT, proceed NW on Route 108 for 6.0 miles to the entrance to the Stowe Auto Toll Road on the left. Pay the toll ($26 dollars per car) and proceed 4.5 miles to the summit station. From the summit station, hike north for 1.4 miles on the Long Trail to the “Chin,” the highpoint of Mount Mansfield…..or hike a little bit onto the ridge, enjoy the view of Lake Champlain, and wait for us!

*Note: The Access roads stops admitting cars at 4 pm and you must retrieve a key from the entrance station if you wish to leave the road later than 4 pm (this is not a big deal, they are not going to lock anyone in).

To take the gondola: From the junction of State routes 100 and 108 in Stowe, VT, proceed NW on Route 108 for 7.5 miles to the Stowe Gondola Skyride entrance on the left. Turn left and continue 0.3 miles to the parking area at the lower gondola terminal. The cost of the gondola is $20 for adults and $16 for children. From the top of the gondola, there is a spur trail heading west up the wooded slope. Hike west along this trail for 0.1 miles to the Cliff Trail. Turn right and hike along the Cliff Trail for 0.3 miles to the Long Trail. Bear right and hike north for 0.4 miles until reaching the top.

I plan to complete this highpoint rain, shine, wind, sleet, or snow so come prepared! Make sure you have plenty of water, food, warm clothes, rain gear, and appropriate footwear. Cross your fingers for good weather and I’ll see you on the 11th!

Please RSVP if you can make it: I'd love for everyone to come!

Kristen Kelliher