PDA

View Full Version : Fullish moon evening Mount Washington Ascent



dangergirl
12-11-2008, 08:56 AM
So, Don and I ended up ice climbing up Tuckermans Ravine Thanksgiving weekend and topped out at dusk and the visibility was pretty low due to cloud/fog cover. We coiled up our ropes and made our way to Lions Head trail just as it got pitch black out. It got super windy (one gust knocked me over sideways) and then it cleared out! It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! There we were, hiking up on the ridgeline with a zillion stars surrounding us and the other ridges around us outlined with a deep blue line contrasting the black sky. We were going to hike up to the summit but we had friends waiting for us at Pinkham notch and did not want them worrying. So, we decided we want to find a clear night to climb Mount Washington.
Has anyone done this before? Is the weather more stable at night? Let me know! :)

Bill O
12-11-2008, 09:03 AM
Winds might be slightly less gusty under certain conditions at night, but Mount Washington is not known for having any sort of diurnal patterns. At least none that are predictable enough to make plans on.

That Saturday night after Thanksgiving was one of the clearest nights I have ever seen. I think the observers even wrote about it.

dangergirl
12-11-2008, 09:32 AM
Thanks! The diurnal wind patterns are one of the things I have been reading about and was wondering if that were true at Mt. Washington. Now I really wish we had gone for the summit that day! It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I can't stop wanting that moment again! :) Is there any way of predicting another night like that or is it just a chance thing?

Bill O
12-11-2008, 09:46 AM
Is there any way of predicting another night like that or is it just a chance thing?

Its called living really close to Mount Washington and having your bags packed.

Diurnal wind patterns, mountain/valley winds, are more typical under high pressure. When there is little external forcing controlling the weather. And since we all know that Mount Washington lies at the convergence of three major storm tracks there is almost always some sort of external forcing in play.

Brad
12-11-2008, 08:48 PM
dangergirl, we are waiting for the pictures from that night. :cool:

dangergirl
12-11-2008, 09:08 PM
Well, we tried taking pictures but all we got were our headlamps! Here is a link! http://www.flickr.com/photos/kfolcik/ Unfortunately all we have are awesome memories and the desire to find that night again!

Acrophobe
12-11-2008, 09:21 PM
I can't believe you did that not only in winter conditions, but at night. I tip my hat to you, ma'am. :)

Brad
12-12-2008, 06:20 AM
Awesome hike and the pictures do capture a lot about the hike. I also like the Hitchcock Gully pictures.

dangergirl
12-12-2008, 06:54 AM
I wish we had better photos (I do like the ones looking at Wildcat). We were trying to race the clock on both days. Tuckermans was not safe to climb that day and we did not learn that until we were on the 3rd pitch. I have not taken a formal class yet, but from what I have read about avalanches I think that we were on unstable terrain. We moved very gingerly but quickly and were lucky. What we found was that we were punching through the very thin ice over the waterfall and there were two spots where you could see fracture lines and hanging slabs in the ice and snow. I am not sure if it would be a big slide, but could be enough to hurt someone. It was very exciting, but very risky.
As for hitchcock, it was a blast! The ice was very thin, but it was super sticky "hero" ice! It was a very fun hike down in the snow!

TrishandAlex
12-12-2008, 01:21 PM
Beautiful pictures. I'm glad you had a great climb and hike.

I know you already plan to, but please take an avalanche course. Can't stress that enough.

Acrophobe
12-16-2008, 08:44 AM
Are you sure you mean Tuckermans and not Huntington? Stupid question, I know, it's just that I've never heard anyone use the word 'pitch' to refer to climbs in Tuckermans, while I have plenty of times in regard to Huntington. If it was Tuckermans, what part did you go up?

Bill O
12-16-2008, 08:50 AM
Are you sure you mean Tuckermans and not Huntington? Stupid question, I know, it's just that I've never heard anyone use the word 'pitch' to refer to climbs in Tuckermans, while I have plenty of times in regard to Huntington. If it was Tuckermans, what part did you go up?

I'm pretty sure she meant Tuckermans. This time of year it still has plenty of rock and water ice exposed.

Here's a shot of the headwall that same day:

http://www.tuckerman.org/photos/tucks/images/2008-12-06%20Climbers%20in%20the%20Headwall.jpg

ColdWeatherClimber
12-16-2008, 08:54 AM
I can't believe you did that not only in winter conditions, but at night. I tip my hat to you, ma'am. :)

We used to aid climb at night for an extra challenge at the local crags. People thought we were a little off kilter.... :D

Sounds like a cool trip!

kaseri
12-16-2008, 05:21 PM
I've been trying to make a full moon, winter, night ascent of Washington for a few years now. I haven't been able to get the weather to cooperate but I'm optimistic. It'll happen for me at some point.

Another thing I'd like to do is an night Presi traverse in the summer.

dangergirl
12-16-2008, 06:07 PM
Yes, we did tuckermans. It was definately not your typical roadside ice climb but it was icy and climbable. Last year conditions were much more stable. We are dying to get into Huntingtons and do some ice climbing there! As for the moonlight summit attempt we are gonna be up north almost every weekend and if it looks great we are gonna give it a go!