Hellbrook

Stowe

The crown jewel of Smugglers Notch.

Freeride Skiing Difficult

Distance
3.6 km
Ascent
13 m
Descent
775 m
Low Point
479 m
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
39˚
VIEW ON MAP
Hellbrook Map

Description

Hellbrook is the longest possible backcountry descent from Mount Mansfield. It stretches from the end of North Ridge all the way to the floor of The Notch, following a long drainage brook. The route is relentless start to finish, remaining rugged and technical for almost 3000ft. To access Hellbrook, hike or skin to the summit of Mount Mansfield via Climbing Gully. Once at the summit, descend via North Ridge to the Adam’s Apple. If North Ridge is not in condition, you can descend Hourglass and hike over. Once at the Adam’s Apple, you can connect with the Hellbrook Trail. This will take you around the backside of the Adam’s Apple to the top of Hellbrook. Once around the backside, you will see a narrow chute to skiers right, this obvious drop in is the beginning of Hellbrook. It starts fairly narrow, a little more than a ski length across, and continues down into the notch. About a third of the way down, some natural, almost meadow like glades open up. Don’t stray too far from the main path, continue down the fall line. Eventually you’ll get funneled into a very deep drainage gully where serveral smaller brooks merge. This is the highlight of the run, it’s steep, deep and has plenty of room for turns. As fun as this gully is, you should be thinking about when you are going to cut out. If there are other tracks, usually you can tell where the point of no return is. If there are no tracks below you, it’s time to cut out. If you continue down the gully, you will reach a series of technical drops and icefall cascades. This section can be skied, but there’s no way to tell if it goes until you are fully committed. Cut skiers left into some natural hardwood glades. These are still very steep and have lots of cliffs, so be alert and ski within your limits. These woods go from steep to flat very abruptly, ending on the Route 108 (the notch road). This road is closed in the winter and can be used to ski/skate back to the resort parking lot. Hellbrook is very serious and should only be attempted by experts, but if you have the skills to conquer it, it’s a line you’ll never forget.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

February, March, April

Features

  • Face
  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Equipment required

  • Skins

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area