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Smugglers Notch Ice climbing

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02 - Jeff Slide Area (aka The Classroom) 
03 - ENT Gully Area 
04 - Quartz Crack Face Area 
05 - Easy Gully Area 
06 - The Playground Area 
08 - Elephant's Head Area 
10 - The Blind Fate Area 
13 - The South Wall Area 
14 - The Upper South Wall 
15 - Driving Force Area 
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Smugglers Notch Ice climbing  


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Location: 44.555, -72.79619 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,474
Administrators: Luc, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: bradley white on Dec 27, 2009
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Jefferson Slide looking down from approach above

Description 

Lots of ice climbing in the Notch. Multiple pitch ice walls begin as you enter the notch from either side on the notch's road which is closed for winter.

I know south or town of Stowe approach. After a brisk, however you choose (I walked) to do the long stretch of road. On the right, east side is thick blue ice wall (WI3-4) and beyond it (WI4-) gully like wall. Higher uphill on the road there are gullies on the left, then wide multiple pitch flows higher up (WI3-4). Uphill on the road, east side from Stowe is the Elephant Head with little moderate and its various extreme ways up around it. Opposite here on left side are large buttresses also with a couple of routes. Here at the top of notch is some of the easiest (WI-2)and hardest climbing. The climbing can be extremely committing free soloing at the top of the notch on both sides. Better to trail along rope for rappelling. Lastly there is on the right side parking area just past the crest of the notch a going north a single pitch 50-80 feet steep slab (WI3-4) that is easily top-roped.

I climbed for three seasons from 1984-88 and know what I didn't do for climbs. I didn't do any Elephant Section climbs. Many climbs I did do had no description, listing in the guide book. I knew them all by their location and still do. I climbed alone and with Ted Hammond and Jim Shimberg. We stayed below the notch on the Stowe side because we used our time climbing, and not approaching. There is much more to the approach to sections than just getting up the road. Rescue from the notch would suck big time. We and I recorded nothing newly climbed. Some were of the best water ice there is, closest to Stowe.

I will gladly hand this introduction to Smugglers to someone familiar with all of the named sections and from the road, best approaches too them. Most approaches are a short and obvious distance from the road. Getting back to the road can be difficult or impossible. Best be careful about that. Travel with minimal weight I recommend. Can be very icy, windy and cold in Smugglers. I went usually on nice days.

Getting There 

From Stowe Vermont head north to Smuggler's Notch. Park and walk into notch. Road is closed for the winter. About one mile to crest of the notch.

Areas 

Areas from Jeffersonville (from Stowe), distances on the road from the parking/gate.
  • 0.9 (2.1), east side, The Workout Wall
1.2 (1.8), Stone Hut
1.3 (1.7), High Point in Road
  • 1.35 (1.65), west side, Hidden Gully
  • 1.5 (1.5), west side, Terror-Tory

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.1 miles from here

11 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Smugglers Notch Ice climbing:
ENT Gully Variation   WI3+     Trad, Ice, 2 pitches   03 - ENT Gully Area
Grand Confusion   WI3     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 200'   05 - Easy Gully Area
Hidden Gully   WI3-4     Trad, Ice, 3 pitches, 650'   10 - The Blind Fate Area
Blue Room   WI3-4     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 160'   13 - The South Wall Area
Jefferson Slide   WI2 M1-2 Mod. Snow PG13     Trad, TR, Mixed, Ice, Snow, 1 pitch, 60'   02 - Jeff Slide Area (aka T...
Ragnarock   WI4+ M4     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 3 pitches, 400'   08 - Elephant's Head Area
Browse More Classics in Smugglers Notch Ice climbing

Featured Route For Smugglers Notch Ice climbing
Blue Room Smuggeler's Notch

Blue Room WI3-4  VT : * Vermont Ice Climbing : ... : 13 - The South Wall Area
THE classic route in Smuggs. (I'm surprised it hasn't made it in there before this.) It can be deceptively steep depending on how it forms. Usually has a cave in the middle. The left of the cave is usually steeper than the right. There is another pitch above but it isn't always in and most people do the first pitch only....[more]   Browse More Classics in VT

Comments on Smugglers Notch Ice climbing Add Comment
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By bradley white
From: Plymouth
Nov 11, 2012
Does the narrow no escape thin gully near Elephant Head, have a name? I got on it in 1986 and thought it would never end. Ice got shallow often and was not brittle. Same moves over and over again though.