View Full Version : Mount Washington Back-up plan

01-04-2009, 01:07 PM
Can anyone reccomend a back-up plan to climbing mt washington if the weather is terrible? That is, what peaks or trails nearby can offer the most similar hiking experience that may not be exposed to the same weather as washinton.

If i wake up on my intended climb date in late Feb and the forecast is -20 and 100 mph winds, what's the best back-up plan, if any? Thanks...Tom

01-04-2009, 04:54 PM
All depends on how terrible it is! If winds are maybe below 60mph and you want to get just a quick taste of above-treeline conditions, do Mt. Pierce from Crawford Notch. You can get all your layers on in the scrub and then make a quick dash for the summit. But you might be better off doing something where you stay in the trees. Almost across the street from Washington, you could go up the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail and do Carter Dome, or you could go up the Imp Trail to the Imp and then decide if you want to do Middle Carter or North Carter (the latter not being a "true" mountain). Take a look at the maps. Another option is to rent some XC skis at, say, Jackson, and trundle up the Ellis River trail. If it's REALLY AWFUL, don't make yourself suffer---go into Conway and console yourself with a brew!

01-04-2009, 06:07 PM
I agree with above. Pierce is a great hike in rough conditions, and pops just barely above treeline. On a clear day, there's few better views in the whites!

01-05-2009, 09:41 AM
On a really bad day Moat Mountain is good (the brewery that is) :D

01-05-2009, 04:27 PM
I agree with the posts about Pierce. It is pretty doable in bad conditions and it is very pretty. With Mt Washington you should expect some pretty wild weather. I have been knocked over from the wind gusts a few times while summiting and one time if I leaned back into the steady wind it held me up (I had a 40lb pack on my back too)! It was pretty cool! So far nothing compares to Mount Washington in the winter. It can be everything from beautiful and peaceful to angry and unforgiving. That is what makes it so fun! Each trip up is a different adventure!

01-05-2009, 06:41 PM
Thank you for the replies. Does the Pierce trail require crampons or snowshoes? Are there any steep or particularly challenging sections?

01-05-2009, 07:44 PM
Pierce gets so much traffic, especially with the AMC Highland Center across the street, that most of the time you can get away without snowshoes unless there's been a big dump of snow overnight and you're heading up the mountain early in the morning. It gets pretty icy on top, so you'll need some kind of traction. Microspikes might do the trick, but if you have crampons, bring them. The trail is very moderate in grade, with just a few short steep sections. No ledge scrambles or anything like that. Head up the trail, and when the trees start to disappear, hunker down and put on your layers, face protection, traction aids, etc., and go for the summit!