View Full Version : Please - tune in....your advice is welcome

01-29-2009, 11:15 PM

I am a seasoned cold weather backpacker.....at least I think I am. The short story is that I have been backpacking for 25 plus years and have seen temps down to -35F, and spent many nights below 0F without a tent. I have done most in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and several other states further south - some of these, even in winter, the temps there are farly warm. I plan to top Mt. Washington next Jan. or Feb. The plan is to stay somewhere close (hotel) and do a couple trips - one involving staying on top over night. Just looking for any input / suggestions on what to do. i.e. which trail to take, needed items to take (crampons, snowshoes, etc.), what would be the best time to do this and any other words of wisdom.

John -

01-30-2009, 06:38 AM
Welcome John. There are several recent threads on this subject that you can read first which will give you a lot of info. You can then post any specific additional questions.

Start with this one since it covers many aspects.

Next go to the White Mountain Hikes forum and look down the recent threads related to Mount Washington.

Good luck.

01-30-2009, 08:27 AM

Welcome to the forum. You will find a wealth of information here and pointers to sites with rules and such of what camping can be done where. If you mean staying overnight on top of Mt Washington, then that brings up a whole host of rules you need to understand - and how extreme the weather will be above treeline. As you read on the site you will see that overnight camping on the summit of Mt Washington is not allowed. Plus, -35F is mild compared to the conditions up there. Being in -35F and moving and generating heat works fine with the right equipment. Being in -70F and not moving is a whole different ballgame.

Do your research - ask questions - there are a lot of good folks here with lots of experience.

01-30-2009, 09:26 AM
Thanks guy's, I will heed your advice and do some research, which is what I had planned on doing - hence asking now, 12 months ahead of the trip. And yes, I plan to stay on top of Mt. Washington overnight. I will also have one of my cold weather buddies along for the jaunt.

Thanks again - talk with you later.


Bill O
01-30-2009, 09:47 AM
-35F in OH, KY, WV, VA?

-70F on Mount Washington?

I'm confused. When did these events happen?

01-30-2009, 09:59 AM
-35F was in southern Ohio 15 years ago. It occured on a trail called Archer's Fork in Wayne National Forest. It reached this low the second night I was out, but during the day it was generally -5F or so.

As far as -70F on Mt. Washingtion - I can not answer that one.


KD Talbot
01-30-2009, 04:28 PM
-70 on MW would be windchill. I think the record low is something like -45, is that right, Bill?

You won't be staying on the summit of MW overnight, it's illegal. In fact, the whole eastern side is off limits as well as the summit. Most people approach the summit from the east in winter, though there are some other options.

This may be the 10th time I've posted this, but it never gets old. ;)


Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness

Wilderness regulations, intended to protect Wilderness resources and promote opportunities for challenge and solitude, prohibit use of motorized equipment or mechanical means of transportation of any sort. Camping and wood or charcoal fires are not allowed within 200 ft. of any trail except at designated campsites. Hiking and camping group size must be no larger than 10 people. Camping and fires are also prohibited above the treeline (where trees are less than 8 ft. tall), except in winter, when camping is permitted above the treeline in places where snow cover is at least 2 ft. deep, but not on any frozen body of water. Many shelters have been removed, and the remaining ones will be dismantled when major maintenance is required; one should not count on using any of these shelters.

Forest Protection Areas

The WMNF has established a number of Forest Protection Areas (FPAs)?
formerly known as Restricted Use Areas?where camping and wood or charcoal fires are prohibited throughout the year. The specific areas are under continual review, and areas are added to or subtracted from the list in order to provide the greatest amount of protection to areas subject to damage by excessive camping, while imposing the lowest level of restrictions possible. A general list of FPAs in this section follows, but since there are often major changes from year to year, one should obtain current information on FPAs from the WMNF.

(1) No camping is permitted above treeline (where trees are less than
8 ft. tall), except in winter, and then only in places where there is at least
2 ft. of snow cover on the ground?but not on any frozen body of water,
and not on the east face of Mt. Washington's summit cone from Boott
Spur to Nelson Crag (the area above Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines,
including the Alpine Garden area). The point where the above-treeline
restricted area begins is marked on most trails with small signs, but the
absence of such signs should not be construed as proof of the legality of
a site.

(2) No camping is permitted within a quarter mile of any trailhead,
picnic area, or any facility for overnight accommodation such as a hut,
cabin, shelter, tentsite, or campground, except as designated at the facility
itself. In the area covered by Section 1, camping is also forbidden within a
quarter mile of Glen Ellis Falls."

There is camping in Tuckerman Ravine at Hermit Lakes Shelter:


If you have 12 months before you're going to attempt this as a winter hike, then I would suggest coming here and doing it as a summer hike. Familiarize yourself with the area, the trails, the weather, and what is expected of visitors. You'll have a much better chance at success.

Probably everybody on this forum would suggest this as a date to hike to the summit:



01-31-2009, 10:57 AM
you can stay on top over night but it would be a little warmer then you would think ,here is a link on how to do it


01-31-2009, 07:54 PM
Very good - thanks for the added input. I will look into all of these links and most likely post some additional more detailed questions. I was planning on coming out this fall to do a prerun, but will now try to do this in the July time frame.