Smugglers Notch Ice climbing
Jefferson Slide looking down from approach above
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.
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 from Jeffersonville (from Stowe), distances on the road from the parking/gate.
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
Weather station 2.1 miles from here
16 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
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Latest Regional Forum Messages
By bradley white
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.