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iceclimber
09-21-2008, 11:18 AM
Hi to all. I am an obviously new member. I signed up to have a better chance at talking with some of you. First off, I live in Florida with my wife and daughter and we work with Children with behavior issues. I got into climbing while in College a long time ago, but grew up hiking around the hills of Western Pennsylvania.

Next summer I am signed up to do a summit attempt of Denali via the West Buttress route. I was up there this past summer and did a mountaineering course on the Kahiltna Glacier where we studied crevasse travel and rescue techniques along with other useful and vital skills associated with winter mountaineering.

This December I am headed up to North Conway to get some cold weather and try to get up Mt. Washington with my brother-in-law. We are taking all the advice and necessary precautions which will ensure a safe and fun experience.

So, I would love to chat with any of you who have ascended Mt. Washington in December or near that time of year via the Lions Head winter route.

cheers for now.

Bill O
09-21-2008, 05:33 PM
Welcome. You better come back and tell us all about your Denali attempt next summer.

December is an interesting month on Mount Washington. Chances are you will have a real winter experience, but it can be rather mixed that time of year. More ice and rocks than filled in snowfields. Could be dirt down at Pinkham and Tucks likely will not be filled in. December is windy, but generally not as cold as January and February.

iceclimber
09-21-2008, 06:25 PM
Thank you Bill O

I sure will tell you guys about my trip regardless of whether I reach the summit or not.

I was looking at a map and it looks like the summit is around 309 degrees NW from the Pinkham Notch visitor center. Is that about right? Or has the declination changed a bit over the years. I am using a map from 1996 I believe.

It has it at 17 degrees.

Bill O
09-21-2008, 06:40 PM
I was looking at a map and it looks like the summit is around 309 degrees NW from the Pinkham Notch visitor center. Is that about right? Or has the declination changed a bit over the years. I am using a map from 1996 I believe.

Sounds about right, but that's probably not the best navigation tool since I would not recommend following a straight line between the two points. If you are looking to plot out emergency escape plans concentrate on above tree line markers to the intersection of major trails at tree line.

If you've never been to the area I'd spend some time studying photos and maps. Get familiar with the routes and key geographic features. For example, retreating down Huntington could be be deadly, while going down the Auto Road is long but relatively safe.

TrishandAlex
09-21-2008, 06:47 PM
Welcome, iceclimber! I am sure you'll get a ton of valuable advice from the many experienced, friendly folk on this forum.

iceclimber
09-21-2008, 07:36 PM
Sounds about right, but that's probably not the best navigation tool since I would not recommend following a straight line between the two points. If you are looking to plot out emergency escape plans concentrate on above tree line markers to the intersection of major trails at tree line.

If you've never been to the area I'd spend some time studying photos and maps. Get familiar with the routes and key geographic features. For example, retreating down Huntington could be be deadly, while going down the Auto Road is long but relatively safe.


Yeah, good advice. I noticed that the lions head trail doesn't exactly follow a straight line and I read that there are cairn markers. Do you suppose these cairns will be above snow in December? I am thinking that the snow would not be that deep that early unless a freak storm hits. We plan to descend via the lions head as well.

Do you know the best way to get some photos of the lions head winter route? I have a White mountains trail guide and ordered some maps from IMCS which should get to me soon.

JimS
09-21-2008, 07:36 PM
Welcome.

I agree with BillO, December is a changeable month, but you'll get some plenty of winter conditions. The biggest issue you'll find is that the snow may not be consolidated between the rocks, and the brittle rime may hide some ankle twisting hazards.

I'm sure you'll be able to find a little of everything you are looking for, including some snowfields by december, but you never know!

See you in the forums!

Bill O
09-21-2008, 07:46 PM
The cairns generally stay above the snow except in a few areas that fill with deep snow.

I would google around for aerial images of Mount Washington, maybe somebody else can point you in the right direction.

iceclimber
09-21-2008, 07:55 PM
Thanks Bill O, I'll try that.

BlueDog
09-22-2008, 10:51 AM
Someone, somewhere also has some GPS files of the trails. Wish I could remember where. I have a KML of the Franconia Ridge loop, but that won't help.

mtruman
09-22-2008, 11:43 AM
Someone, somewhere also has some GPS files of the trails. Wish I could remember where. I have a KML of the Franconia Ridge loop, but that won't help.

I sent GPS files to a couple of people before STP. I think at that time I exported them from Google Earth but the new version of WMGOnline supports saving .GPX files directly. I created one for the Lion Head winter route and it can be downloaded here: http://mtruman42.googlepages.com/LionHeadWinterRoute.gpx

iceclimber
09-22-2008, 01:19 PM
Thanks all. I also found some aerial images at earthexplore.usgs.gov

climbabout
09-22-2008, 04:33 PM
First of all welcome -
I have climbed Mount Washington in every month of the winter via Lion Head and have been on the west buttress route as well - feel free to email me at:
tim(at)masterelectricsupply(dot)com. I will be happy to answer any questions you have. Or, if you like, I can answer them here on the forum. I too am returning to Mount Mckinley in 2009 - we were turned back by weather in 2007. In the meantime - here's a link to a thread here listing some gps coordinates that may be useful to you:
http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=3775
Tim
p.s. - most cairns above treeline are generally not buried in December due to the prevailing winds, plus, that is early in the snow season.

Acrophobe
09-22-2008, 06:19 PM
Denali, eh? Veeery nice. :)