Kelly is in town so I took a half day to hike Stowe Pinnacle with her.  I haven’t been to the top since my first fall in Vermont, and never in the winter.  A different visiting Kelly and I had started hiking up it my first winter here, but it was so frigid out that we decided to go drink cider instead and turned around about halfway up.

Today’s Kelly wasn’t feeling great since she had a crown break this morning (while eating scrambled eggs!), but I knew standing on top of a mountain would cheer her up, so I poked and prodded and made her start hiking with me up the Stowe Pinnacle Trail.

I knew the trail was packed down enough for spikes last weekend and we hadn’t had significant snow since then so we left our snowshoes in the car and headed up in spikes.  It was about 20° but the trail gets steeper not too far in so we kept stopping to shed layers as we moved up.  Occasionally we’d turn around and see a view of Mount Mansfield through the trees.

When we reached the junction with the Pinnacle Meadows Trail, we could really see how deep the snow was since the fences and signs there were half buried.  Where normally there’d be a steep rock staircase to climb up, we had a steep snow chute instead.  I kept sliding back so I stepped out of the chute and kicked steps into the looser snow next to it to get up.

We stopped for a brief view at the top of the steep part, and then started traversing around to the back of the mountain for the final short climb to the summit.

It was cloudy still, but the clouds were high enough that we had great views.  As expected, Kelly felt a million times better once she’d made it to the top of the mountain.  Stowe Pinnacle is a small peak at 2651′ and only 1.8 miles up, but it’s got quite a view.

It didn’t feel that cold at the top so we hung out for a little while before heading back down, with some excellent glissading over the steep parts on the way.