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simons mom
08-13-2008, 09:34 AM
Hi everyone! My son and I will be doing a 3-day hike at the end of August. He decided he wanted to climb Mt. Washington a year ago, and we have been doing some training (Pierce and tuckerman's in the Whites...) We'll be climbing up Ammo and staying at Lakes the first day, going to the summit and hopefully poking around the Alpine Garden and then back down to Lakes the second day, and then back down Ammo (or Jewell???) the last day. I wanted to keep things as easy as possible which is why we're doing it over three days - as well as have options if the weather turns any of those days.

Here are my questions... How bad is Ammo going down - especially if it's wet? Would I be better off going down Jewell on the last day? I know it is significantly longer, but do you think it would be easier? And now I am a bit more nervous about how to deal with bad weather - any additional advice? Particularly since I'll be solo with my 9-year-old?

Thanks in advance!

Mike D
08-13-2008, 11:16 AM
Descending Jewell is probably going to be the easier of the two routes, especially if the ground is wet. Ammo is tough on the knees whereas the longer Jewell will wear more on the soles of your feet. Good luck and play it safe!

Brad
08-13-2008, 11:46 AM
I agree. What you have mapped out sounds very reasonable. Just that i would go down on the Jewell.

faegilr
08-13-2008, 03:38 PM
Oh, that sounds great. You should get him to do the Junior Naturalist program that they have at the huts.

Def. stick to the Jewell going down. Ammo is so slick when it rains.

Just keep your eye on the sky for the weather. I generally hike with thermals and a fleece sweater in my bag along with rain gear, sometimes a wool hat, extra socks, a trash bag, and one of those blankets they give to marathoners after they run. I have rarely needed any of it beyond my fleece and the rain gear, but it is good to have. Also make sure you have a safety whistle.

Don't forget to check out what time sunset is as the view from Lakes is awesome (around that time, it should be at 7:20 to 7:30 or so).

Bill O
08-13-2008, 04:51 PM
I disagree about the Ammo/Jewell.

If its bad weather you are minutes away from tree line from Lakes via the Ammo. The Jewell is a long traverse above tree line. Would you rather spend a few minutes carefully walking down the Ammo or an hour or more traversing above tree line?

I'd guess that hundreds of thousands of people have descended a wet Ammo. How many have slipped?

If its nice go down the Jewell for a change of scenery. If its raining down to the Ammo and get it over with. No reason to get soaked.

Bill O
08-13-2008, 04:52 PM
Would I be right in saying millions?

Edit: No, over the past 50 years that would be like 55 a day, every day. I climbed it in June once and I was the only person on the trail. That means another day had to have 109 people.

Brad
08-13-2008, 05:02 PM
As Bill points out - pick your route down based on where you are at the time when bad weather is seen to be approaching. If you are close to the Hut - use the Ammo. Above treeline is wonderful in good weather - and not a place to be if it gets bad.

wcummings
08-13-2008, 05:43 PM
Ditto

If the weather turns ugly get below the tree line or to shelter asap. You'd be better off going down Ammo to get to safety faster. As people say, "Keep an eye on the sky." I've turned around before on the account of bad weather, it's simply not worth the risk (*I could care less about rain/snow - but the electrical stuff, I want nothing to do with that.)

TrishandAlex
08-13-2008, 07:05 PM
Hi Simons mom,

This is Trish of Trish and Alex. Alex is 5 and a half, and we've been doing 4000footers for a couple of months now. We have 7 down and we'll probably do another 5 or 6 before the snow falls.

We will also be at Lakes in late August! We will probably come up Ammno, summit Monroe (just half a mile from the hut), spend the night at Lakes and then summit Washington the next day.

I'm glad you asked the question about the various trails. We have not yet come to a final decision on routes.

As far as gear goes -- lightweight clothes (no cotton!) for the valley and fleece/silk base layers coupled with snowgear/raingear for the top. Wool hat, gloves, etc. Emergency flashlight or headlamp, definitely whistles!! Lots of water or a water purifier, food, etc. Try to pack as much stuff as you think you might need to keep you warm, fed, and hydrated for one night out with temps below zero. REI and other sports stores sell emergency blankets and bivy sacks (both very lightweight and compact). We also just purchased a PLB (personal locator beacon), which should clue search and rescue into our exact location within minutes, if God forbid we should ever need that kind of assistance. However, those things are very expensive, so if you're not planning on doing a lot of serious hiking during the next few years, it's probably not something you'll want to buy. Since I'm out there alone with Alex a lot, I felt it worth the expense.

Also, don't forget the hut has no heat so you will need to plan to keep warm inside the hut at night.

Hope to run into you up there!

mtruman
08-13-2008, 08:49 PM
Also, don't forget the hut has no heat so you will need to plan to keep warm inside the hut at night.


No heat, but 3 nice warm wool blankets on each bunk. I carry a lightweight fleece sleeping bag for the huts in summer but even that isn't usually needed. Staying warm outside is another matter. Your suggestions about hat, gloves, etc are definitely good ones - in any season.

Brad
08-14-2008, 05:19 AM
No heat, but 3 nice warm wool blankets on each bunk. I carry a lightweight fleece sleeping bag for the huts in summer but even that isn't usually needed. Staying warm outside is another matter. Your suggestions about hat, gloves, etc are definitely good ones - in any season.
On STP as we came up over Lions Head and got out in the open we used our hats, gloves and fleece - until we were hiking again towards the Junction. Always have them with us.

TrishandAlex
08-14-2008, 07:42 AM
No heat, but 3 nice warm wool blankets on each bunk. I carry a lightweight fleece sleeping bag for the huts in summer but even that isn't usually needed. Staying warm outside is another matter. Your suggestions about hat, gloves, etc are definitely good ones - in any season.

Sorry about that, I forgot to mention the 3 wool blankets for each bunk.

simons mom
08-14-2008, 06:03 PM
First I want to thank all of your for your replies. It's one thing to read about this stuff in a book, but quite another to get advice from folks who have done it! What you said falls in line with what I was thinking re: Ammo vs. Jewell for the descent. Let's just hope the weather holds!

Trish - we'll be at Lakes from the 25th-27th. When will you be there?

As far as gear goes, the only thing I'm missing is a nice shell for me - the water proof I have is a little tight and I'm not sure I'll fit the fleece under it. I have lighter down sleeping bags for both of us, so we'll be OK without heat. I'm hoping this is the first of many many trips Simon and I have in the Whites.

Again, thanks to everyone for the advice, and I'll post a trip update once we get back!

TrishandAlex
08-14-2008, 11:54 PM
Trish - we'll be at Lakes from the 25th-27th. When will you be there?



Drat, we'll just miss you. We're arriving the day you leave, probably won't get there til the afternoon. You'll probably be long gone when we finally trudge ourselves in.

Have a fantastic time. I'm sure you will. Hopefully we'll run into you on one of the other peaks someday.

simons mom
09-03-2008, 01:06 PM
Hi everyone!

First, thanks for all the advice you gave me - we had a great trip! I have to say our trip was quite similar to the one Trish posted above (and we missed her by a day!), with a few notable exceptions.

First, we didn't have great weather coming up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail. While it wasn't raining, a wet cloud-like fog rolled in, the temps dropped alot, and the wind started howling. And then I did something stupid. I was so sweaty from the portion after the Gem Pool that I only put on my wind jacket - no fleece, no wind pants, no hat, etc. And during that last haul up to the hut, I was really hurting - shivering, starting to mumble a bit, etc. But we ended up OK. And I certainly learned a valuable lesson. And simon was an incredible trouper - he's really learned alot over the last year.

The second day we went up to the summit and got a tour from Jeff (one of the interns) who went to Simon's elementary school! Small world!!! And we got to pet Marty, which was quite a thrill. Then we went back to Lakes for our second night.

The third day was beautiful - 110 mile visibility, light winds, etc. Have any of you ever taken the Westside Trail? There wasn't much description of it in the AMC guide, but it seemed like the shortest way to get from lakes to the jewell trail. West side trail was SCARY - because the rocks are quite loose, and there is a very steep angle down to your left as you wind your way through the very narrow pathway. Simon tripped on a rock and the weight of his pack made him fall backwards down toward the steep slope. Thank god there was a boulder there to break his fall, because if he had tripped a few feet before that or after that, he might have fallen down the mountain. It really scared the heck out of me, and I don't know what I could have done differently. It really freaked him out (and me!!!), but he was able to pull himself together, and pick his way to where the trail merges with Gulfside.

It was a hike I will never forget for the rest of my life - one of many I hope to have in the Whites.

I have pictures, but they are at the Kodak Gallery site. I'm not sure if I can directly link to it, but here goes (http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?UV=318416047321_12702915713&mode=fromsite&collid=59040494713.69706494713.1220461472382&conn_speed=1).

If anyone knows how to do that, let me know and I'll post the link again.

Thanks!
Emily

Rich
09-03-2008, 02:31 PM
Great trip! Congrats to Simon! The third day looked to be incredible! Thanks for sharing.

TrishandAlex
09-03-2008, 06:54 PM
Hey, I was thinking about you! I'm so glad you posted your TR!

You and Simon look like you're having a wonderful time, and your pictures are fantastic. It's great that you got the Observatory tour -- I didn't think ahead to try to arrange that for myself and Alex.

Congrats on your trip! I hope you do many more, and that you continue to post such great photos.

Brad
09-03-2008, 08:08 PM
Hey, I was thinking about you! I'm so glad you posted your TR!

You and Simon look like you're having a wonderful time, and your pictures are fantastic. It's great that you got the Observatory tour -- I didn't think ahead to try to arrange that for myself and Alex.

Congrats on your trip! I hope you do many more, and that you continue to post such great photos.
Trish,

You do not have to make arrangements for the MWO tour ahead of time. The staff are great and will fit your in for a tour as soon as they can - which is normally within 5-10 minutes.

Knapper
09-04-2008, 01:44 AM
Trish,

You do not have to make arrangements for the MWO tour ahead of time. The staff are great and will fit your in for a tour as soon as they can - which is normally within 5-10 minutes.

This is very true but there are some minor details to fill between the lines. We do provide tours to members. Not a member? Well, we provide tours to you as well. Members or not, when you get to the summit, go downstairs to the basement of the building where our museum/gift shop is located. If you are a member, flash your card or give your name to the museum attendant and she will look you up. If you are not a member, you pay $20 per household (a household is anyone living under one roof, within reason) and you are signed up for an introductory membership good for six months with the option of upgrading later. The museum attendant will then call up and arrange a tour for 5 past the top of the hour. If you are in a hurry, due to cog, weather, stage, etc, we can usually arrange a truncated tour in a shorter notice. But we try to keep it to 5 past so we don't have three tours going at once. Tours in themselves take about 30-50 minutes depending of the crowds interest and questions (although the shift opposite mine likes to ramble on and beat each others records so be ready for 1 hour plus at times).

There are two caviats to prearranged tours. If you are a large group (school, boy scouts, etc) you have to call ahead and schedule and in this case, there is special pricing. The second is winter tours. Members who want to hike up and take a tour have to call and arrange a tour. Member or not, the building is closed unless permission is granted ahead of time or you are in need of medical attention.

Brad
09-04-2008, 04:57 AM
Good recap, Knap.

TrishandAlex
09-04-2008, 06:48 AM
Ah well. Serves me right for not just asking when we were there.

Brad
09-04-2008, 09:07 AM
Ah well. Serves me right for not just asking when we were there.
This just means you will have to go back.