Pico Peak (3957 feet)
I've climbed this mountain frequently over the years. A few, but by no means all, of my earlier ascents are described below. Today was my "official" climb as part of my project to climb the 100 highest mountains in Vermont between my 60th and 70th birthdays. This also happens to be the highest mountain I've climbed so far as part of that project.
The weather was mixed today, with clear skies at some times, but also clouds and overcast at other times. As usual, I followed the direct route up the Sherburne Pass Trail (formally part of the Long Trail). This route climbs about 1800 feet in 3.2 miles (average grade: 562 ft/mi). It is a sizeable climb, but not extreme, because the starting point is at Sherburne Pass and already at 2000 feet of elevation. Here is a Gaia GPS track of this trip.
When I reached the summit the clouds were playing about the peak affording in-and-out views. When the sky was clear the scene was quite beautiful. The red and orange leaves of the forest surrounding the mountain stretched out in all directions like a colorful blanket.
It was a beautiful day when I climbed the mountain this year. I didn't take note of the exact date, unfortunately. I followed the old Long Trail from Sherburne Pass (it is still being maintained, apparently). I took several pictures. Here are a few.
I like climbing Pico at the start and end of each season. It has become something of a tradition. In fact, I've climbed the mountain significantly more often than I've indicated on this page.
Today the weather was very nice. It was sunny and cool, but not cold. It was breezy at the summit, but not excessively windy. There were some bugs, mostly black flies, but even that was not an extreme problem. I felt good on the climb. I'm always a bit out of shape at the beginning of the summer, but I was surprised at how well I felt on Pico today.
I did learn at Pico Camp that the Killington ski area has recently purchased the Pico ski area. They are planning to connect the two ski areas and are in the process of cutting new ski trails right in the area where the long trail currently runs. The Green Mountain Club is apparently trying to figure out where to reroute the Long Trail. There was much controversy about this point in the log book at Pico Camp.
I was sad to learn of these developments. Although I understand that the ski areas have their side of the story, I am one to favor leaving the mountains wild and untamed. Almost all major Vermont mountains have ski areas on them and the highly commercial nature of these areas detracts greatly, I think, from the natural beauty of the mountains.
I climbed the mountain by myself today. It was a nice trip. The weather was cloudy. The summit was below the clouds, but only just barely. The top of nearby Killington was enshrouded. It was also very windy. As the wind blew around the towers holding the microwave dishes at the summit, it groaned and rumbled in a very eerie manner.
I hiked with Peter Nikolaidis today.
We took the Long Trail from Sherburne Pass (Rt 4) South. The trail climbed fairly gradually but steadily. At one point it ran along the side of a ski trail for a bit, and we got some nice views of the pass below and the mountains beyond. After leaving the ski trial, the trail was level for a while through a pine forest and came to Pico Camp. From there a side trail ascended a short, steep path to the summit.
There were good views from the summit. However, the top of Pico is very influenced by the ski area on the mountain. There were chair lifts, some buildings, and some snow making equipment scattered about the summit. In addition, there was a fairly large communications station there. The open areas were not particularly natural. I think the summit had probably been covered with short, stubby trees at one time. There were quite a few such trees still around making it necessary to look out from the top of a ski run to really get a good view.
Peter and I had a good time climbing. We talked about OS/2 quite a bit! We also talked about doing more hiking together in the future. We shall see.
Return to the Vermont 100 highest list.