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werfel
12-14-2007, 08:37 PM
hi. looking to hike mount washington next weekend (12/22-23). Never been on this mountain and would like some advice on routes, etc.

my partner and i are both strong hikers w winter experience. primary concern is avalanche, as that appears to be the biggest danger after weather. which routes are safest? we're looking to overnight.

what the deal w huts? can we camp?
what kind of temps to expect at night?
crampons or snowshoes?
any other advice?

thanks.

Mike D
12-14-2007, 10:39 PM
This is a harsh time of year anywhere in the White Mountains, but especially on Mt Washington. Make sure you're prepared with plenty of food, water, and extra warm gear. Also be prepared to turn back if the weather turns bad or visibility drops. Check several forecasts the morning of your hike to know what to expect. If the wind is going to be higher than 40 MPH or so, it would be wise not to head above treeline.

The AMC huts in the Presidential range are all closed this time of year. The only accomodations I know of are in the bowl of Tuckerman ravine, but I haven't been there myself.

I think you need to take crampons and snow shoes, but you can check with the AMC on trail conditions.

Don't take any unnecessary risks, and always use your best judgment.

Good luck!

Current conditions: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php
Summits forecast: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/summit_forecast.php
AMC trails to huts conditions: http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/go/backcountry-weather.cfm
Avalanche bulletin: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/avalanche/

Bill O
12-15-2007, 07:51 AM
The standard route is Lion's Head Winter Route. It avoids most, but not all avalanche risk. After witnessing multiple slides with skiers last April I will always travel with a beacon on MWN in snow season.

Best place to camp would be Hermit Lake shelters. You can stay in a lean-to or use your tent. Above treeline you can camp as long as you are on 2+ feet of snow and NOT within the Mount Washington State Park that encircles the summit.

Check trail conditions from the AMC, but in general you would leave the snowshoes behind. Tuckerman Ravine trail is often well-packed and everything else is either wind scoured or too steep for snowshoes. Crampons and ice-ax are essential.

As Mike noted this is a tough time of year to climb. Short days and poor snow coverage are my biggest concern along with the changeable weather.

climbabout
12-15-2007, 08:40 AM
Mike D's post has links to all the critical info you need for conditions, etc. The only thing I can add is a link to a thread from last season with lots more useful advice.
Good luck.
Tim
http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=228

KD Talbot
12-15-2007, 08:38 PM
"Above treeline you can camp as long as you are on 2+ feet of snow and NOT within the Mount Washington State Park that encircles the summit."

This statement is not true. See camping rules for Forest Protection Areas:

"(1) No camping is permitted above treeline (where trees are less than
8 ft. tall), except in winter, and then only in places where there is at least
2 ft. of snow cover on the ground—but not on any frozen body of water,
and not on the east face of Mt. Washington's summit cone from Boott
Spur to Nelson Crag (the area above Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines,
including the Alpine Garden area). The point where the above-treeline
restricted area begins is marked on most trails with small signs, but the
absence of such signs should not be construed as proof of the legality of
a site."

If you were to be climbing Lion Head you would be on the east face of MW and the area described in the rules would be where you would be apt to try to camp above tree line. Most of this area is not within the State Park.

The first part of the statement: "Best place to camp would be Hermit Lake shelters." is your best advice.

My other advice would be, climb the mountain next summer. Test you endurance and abilities. Learn the trails and escape routes. Get extensive above treeline winter experience on the lower summits, such as Pierce and Eisenhower. Thgen go for it next winter.

I'm sure others will argue that it's no big deal, but in my honest opinion, your first time on Washington should not be a winter attempt.

KDT

Bill O
12-15-2007, 11:33 PM
My other advice would be, climb the mountain next summer. Test you endurance and abilities. Learn the trails and escape routes. Get extensive above treeline winter experience on the lower summits, such as Pierce and Eisenhower. Thgen go for it next winter.


He indicated he was an experienced winter hiker. Not sure exactly what that means, but I'll take it for what its worth.

For all we know he's climbed Denali or Everest. Mountains you don't get to "test" out in summer.

KD Talbot
12-16-2007, 10:57 AM
Or, maybe he's just a troll looking to stir up a lot of disagreement on this forum.

One thing's for certain, without more information about what he's hiked in winter, it's hard to determine exactly what to tell him. Maybe his extensive winter hiking is on his golf course in southern Florida.

So how about it Werfel? What mountains have you climbed in winter, and what experience do you have above tree line at or above 4500 feet?

Answers to questions like these would make answering your questions a whole lot easier.

KDT

Steve M
12-16-2007, 04:01 PM
Maybe his extensive winter hiking is on his golf course in southern Florida.

KDT
Well, then he would have lots of experience with sand shoes, not snow shoes!:D

Brad
12-25-2007, 01:02 PM
We are looking to head up into Tuckermans on Wednesday - Dec 26th. Any reports on the condition of the trail? Is it very icy or hard packed?

Flippin
01-02-2008, 01:22 PM
So has anyone been up Lions Head trail in the last week or so? Conditions?

billysinc
01-02-2008, 01:49 PM
The problem is there have been snowstorms every other day so my guess is that until the weather pattern levels out a bit that anything older than a day wouldn't be very accurate. You probably already checked but no one in the past week has posted anything on VFTT. The avalanche danger in Tucks and Huntington is high right now so with all the recent snowfalls and winds I would guess the snow on the LH trail is pretty deep as well.

Sorry for the non-answer :(

jayhev
01-21-2008, 01:10 PM
I just did a climb with 2 other beginners Saturday and what a gas! I think it is totally doable!! We hired a guide from IMCS and he(pat) was great. Get a guide and get up there.

mocomedic
02-26-2008, 04:30 PM
ever since i read into thin air i never start a hike with out discussing a set turn around time, it was 3pm for us in Feb it doesnt matter how close you are from summit you cant break that golden rule. Just imaginge being stuck above treeline overnight (haha sounds cool i know but its only cool if you live through it)