View Full Version : Looking for a mountain to climb in a few weeks

01-28-2009, 11:34 PM
I will be coming home for a long weekend from college in a few weeks and I want to climb a peak that can hopefully tie me over until Spring break. I was severely disappointed this past Christmas break that I was unable to attempt Mount Washington. However, I was able to get some above tree-line hiking on Mount Mansfield and on Mount Cardigan.
As of now I am unsure if I will be able to get a small team together to hike, so it looks like Mount Washington will be out of sight for this break. Other summits that peaked my curiosity (pun intended) were Mount Lafayette and Mount Chocorua.
I would like to climb a mountain that is above tree-line, as this is what makes winter hiking interesting for me. I think that a peak over 4,000 feet would be of interest since I hope to eventually get the top of all 48 of them (hopefully in the winter someday).
Although no hiking is safe if done alone, I am experienced, I have the equipment, and would take all the needed precautions.

Any suggestions?

01-28-2009, 11:42 PM
Pierce, with the option of Eisenhower if the weather is great and the winds are calm.

Pierce will get you above treeline, and going over to Eisenhower from Pierce will keep you above treeline.

The great thing about Pierce is that it's sheltered almost all the way to the top....if you get to Pierce and things look dicey, you have a good escape route (going back the way you came).

The views from Pierce (and Eisenhower, if the weather warrants) are fantastic. You won't be disappointed.

01-29-2009, 03:26 PM
If you don't mind crowds, that old standby Falling Waters/ Old Bridle Path over Lafayette and Lincoln is a great one. And if you're going solo in winter, sometimes it's good to plan something that's well-travelled. Up Falling Waters and down Old Bridle Path is the best direction to go in unless there are strong winds out of the north. Going up either end, you can decide if conditions above treeline are to your liking before proceeding further. Franconia Ridge is spectacular.

P.S. Please, anyone referring to the Old Bridle Path, don't call it the Old Bridal Path. That always kills me--like there was a procession of brides going up it?:)

01-29-2009, 03:59 PM
P.S. Please, anyone referring to the Old Bridle Path, don't call it the Old Bridal Path. That always kills me--like there was a procession of brides going up it?:)

This help? :)


01-29-2009, 04:56 PM
Thank you, thank you!

01-29-2009, 11:24 PM
Any suggestions?

I second the opinion on Lafayette. Views from Franconia are awesome. I went up in November when only the last 1.5 miles had snow/ice. You can see pics/comments here:


I'd also recommend Adams via Lowe's path, although the bulk of the hike is in the trees so there is not a lot in the way of views until a mile / mile and a half below the summit. The plus is there is Gray Knob and Crag Camp if you want a safe area to get out of the wind and cook/eat/rest. I went to the camps for an overnight just a few days ago (tons of snow):


Looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing some pics!

Links above are both the public side and should allow anyone to view.

01-30-2009, 03:41 PM
I also have another question. To officially climb the 48 4000 footers, according to the AMC, when I climb the different presidentials, do I need to individually summit each one, or is something like a presidential traverse acceptable?

KD Talbot
01-30-2009, 04:11 PM
The AMC rules state a 200' col between peaks, which in my interpretation means yes, it would count.



"You are allowed to count any number of peaks on a single trip and do not necessarily have to end up at the trailhead from which you started (many peaks are commonly done as a traverse, e.g. Bonds, Presidentials)."


02-13-2009, 07:04 PM
Well, I decided that I will actually go for Mount Washington. I will head up there sometime this weekend since I have until Monday off. I start at Pinkham Notch, and walk to hermit lake, and then take lion's head to the summit. Although the days are getting longer, it still is getting dark somewhat early compared to later in the season. With a moderate pace, how long would you estimate that the round trip is? Has anyone been up there recently to report on the conditions on the trail?

Thanks in advance!

02-13-2009, 07:45 PM
Hi there --

You are allowed to bag multiple peaks in a single trip for the 4000 footer club.

Regarding Washington this weekend -- make sure you check this site's upper summit forecast the morning of your hike. Sat (tomorrow) is supposed to be awful in terms of wind chill/ wind speeds. Sunday isn't as bad, but will still require full face protection, including goggles, and perhaps an ability to navigate in white-out conditions.

For trail conditions, Views From The Top has a trail report section. There are relatively recent reports on the Ammonoosuc Trail, among others.


This is an extremely valuable resource, I check it many times when planning a hike.

If it's too windy for Washington, check out the forecast for the wind speeds and temps at other altitudes (the wind/temps can be much different at 4000 feet).


02-13-2009, 08:11 PM
Well those white-out conditions make me weary of going solo. I think if I attempt it Sunday, I will go to hermit lake and reevaluate the situation there since its an easy hike to that point. Does this seem reasonable?

02-13-2009, 08:58 PM
Sure -- and there might not be any white-out conditions, I don't know....just thinking about the wind picking up speed and throwing snow around...

Tomorrow and Sunday's upper summit forecast will bring more updated info, it'll be easier to make a decision when you have that in hand.

02-13-2009, 10:19 PM
This is not an official forecast but looking ahead for ya (and others), if you are aiming for Sunday, you needn't worry about white out conditions. By Sunday, we are expected to clear from the fog, get to lower teens above, winds decreasing to 25-40 mph with mostly sunny skies above. If I were doing a hike this weekend, Sunday or Monday would be the day I would be choosing. Sunday would come first though as Monday is looking to be cloudy with a chance of fog and a slight chance of snow. But as always, hike to a point where you feel safe. It is safer to head down than up.

02-13-2009, 10:33 PM
Thanks Ryan.
Without trying to continue to be a nuisance with questions, how busy do you think I could expect the trails to be? If I am going solo, knowing that there will be some traffic might be comforting.

Thanks again everyone!

02-13-2009, 11:32 PM
The trails should be fairly busy with it being the middle of a holiday weekend and with decent weather projected. The traffic might start thinning as you start going up Lions Head but even then there should be enough people. I would recommend starting as early as possible though because the later you are out the fewer people become. This time of year, I would say no matter where you are, turn around by 2 pm. But this differs based on peoples abilities and equipment and experience. But an average hiker with average equipment, 2 is the time we usually advise for February when we see people on the summit. And if hiking alone, tell friends and family where you are going along with trails you are taking and a time in the evening that you will check in by as well as signing in and out at Pinkham Notch (most importantly). You can also find people on the trail that might hake at your pace and ask to tag along with them, I've done that. Safety in numbers ya know.

02-15-2009, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone.

I was out on the trail by 7 AM, and was one of the first ones out there. Getting the Lion's head and some of the steeper sections was much quicker of a hike than I thought it would be. Unfortunately, things did not go how I would have liked them to. I got up a good portion of the steeper sections at the start of Lion's head. There was one part right near the beginning of the steeper section that required a lot of careful steps, use of ice axe, and grabbing onto roots and such. Soon after this though, I had crampon issues. I have been using crampons that max out for a size 11 boot. My boots are size 12. The heel of my boot has always rested on the top of the back metal piece of the crampon, which is not good, but usually worked. However, for some of the steeper sections, it wasn't cutting it, and I had to constantly readjust them to keep them on. Eventually, I took one step and the bar that connects them bent. I decided to head back down.

I have a week off from school 3 weeks from now, and I will certainly attempt it then. However, this will certainly eat at me for the next few weeks as I have to wait to summit.

The other thing is that I do not have plastic boots like almost everyone else coming up had. I think I might just rent some plastic boots.

02-15-2009, 08:04 PM
Congrats on getting out there, even though you didn't get as far as you'd like.

Each hike (that you come back safely on) is a success. You always learn something about yourself, your gear, the mountain. It's all good (even though you're probably feeling frustrated right now).

I've no doubt you'll get up there once day, probably soon. :)

02-15-2009, 10:07 PM
The other thing is that I do not have plastic boots like almost everyone else coming up had. I think I might just rent some plastic boots.
I rented boots from IME last week. They are open late on Fridays which really helps. I do not know their hours on a Saturday. Make sure you really fit the boots well and have the right amount of socks to be comfortable. For the small walking we did around the summit I was fine. I would have been fine climbing up (which we did not have to do that day). But going down would have been a problem based on the fit. It would be a long day in boots that do not fit well.