View Full Version : Biggest concern for new comer?

03-01-2009, 11:45 PM
What would you all say is biggest concern for someone new to Mt Washington...

Would it be:

Wild animal attacks?
Getting lost?
Unprepared (shelter, food, training)?

03-02-2009, 05:37 AM
I would say underprepared and weather go hand in hand as being the biggest concern from someone that has to deal with unprepared people that make it to the summit. Whether it is the complete lack of knowledge of weather to be expected, improper clothing, late start time, no maps, no head lamps, no crampons, no overnight supplies just in case, etc, it never ceases to amaze me how some people are able to tie their shoes and walk up right up here. Thankfully the unprepared are far and few in between and the majority of the people that hike up make it down just fine.

03-02-2009, 06:09 AM
I was going to say unprepared. They could be unprepared in equipment, or conditioning, or their knowledge of the weather and what they are getting themselves into. I think we see the unprepared out on MW more in the summer. My experience is I see 2-4 groups of people who have no business being out there on a single MW climb in the summer.

In the summer you see the wife and kids walking down and Dad will meet us at the bottom. Hmmm, flip flops. No pack. No water. No gear. I am sure there are lots of folks here on the forum who have carried a person out or at least carried their pack so they could get out.

03-02-2009, 09:59 AM
Okay, that is what I figured. my main concern was this as well and I have already priced out all my equipment at Bass Pro Shops to make sure I am well prepared for it all. however, I would need crampons?!? I thought there was a trail where only walking could get you there? I nice pair of hiking boots isnt enough?

my gf was like "omg! wild animals will attack us!" so I told her they are more afraid of us than anything and ill have a blow horn to scare it lol

03-02-2009, 10:22 AM
If you are looking to start with summer hiking (highly recommended) then crampons are not needed. Once you start winter hiking you will get recommendations to start with trails with lots of folks and the walking is on well packed down snow (like Tuckerman Ravine trail from PNVC up to HoJo's). Then crampons are not needed.

When you start getting off on to other trails in the winter you will want to invest in snowshoes with good heel risers. Crampons come later along with the ice axe and lots of experience behind you. Getting to the summit of MW in the winter is after you have plenty of experience and know you will be prepared.

Tell your girl friend that if gray jays wanting a handout in your hand is "wild animals", then they are out there. Outside of that you will most likely never see anything bigger than a squirrel.

I have been winter hiking (really minor stuff) for a few years. I always seemed to pick the days with a -35 F wind chill. What you are wearing is the most important. For summer hiking being prepared for anything and any weather is key. We have been caught is dense fog/clouds with zero visibility and in snow storms above tree line the first week of August.

Keep the questions coming.

03-02-2009, 01:23 PM
ok great. We will be trying to make out first climb in June I hope so I wont be needing those crampons as I thought

I read on the site that its something like 9.2 miles which should take 6-7 hrs or something? Now obv. walking uphill is a lot more strenuous..etc

Would a Saturday into Sunday be more than enough time to get up and back if we stick to a steady pace? I want to camp out and do the whole thing, keep it rugged!

whats the avg temp. to see in June at the peak?

thanks alot for help, appreciate it

03-02-2009, 01:39 PM

We used to judge hiking time for going up as 1 hour for each mile + 30 mins per 1,000 feet of elevation gain. For Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the summit that would be roughly 4.2 hours + another 2+ hours for elevation = 6 hours going up. Coming down is a bit faster. A person who is in good shape can easily beat that time. But the formula gives you a starting point to judge things.

A possible route would be to go up on day 1, stay at Lakes of the Clouds (gives a chance for an awesome sunset and sunrise) then continue to the summit and down on day 2. The MWO web site and others have information on restrictions about camping overnight and where and when it can be done. If you stay at LOC hut you have the option of going up Tuckerman Ravine - then down Lion Head the next day. Or you can go up the Ammo trail on the west side and down the Jewell. These are some very good options.

03-02-2009, 01:42 PM
Keep in mind on Mount Washington in the summer there are only a few specific places to tent camp. The vegetation above treeline is very fragile and no camping is allowed there. The closest tent site to the summit is hermit lake shelter tent platforms and leanto's. That would make for a very nice Saturday/Sunday outing. If you are fit and ambitious a round trip to the summit from Pinkham notch is also very doable with the proper precautions. Start early, bring the proper foul weather gear (it often feels like winter up there in June), and most importantly, turn back if the weather is nasty.

KD Talbot
03-02-2009, 04:48 PM
We will be trying to make out first climb in June

Then your gf is right. Wild animals WILL attack you.

They're called Blackflies.


03-02-2009, 05:39 PM
And if you make it to the summit and stop at the OBS there is always the danger of being mistaken for a catnip mouse by Marty...

Seriously, read the many threads here on hiking Mt Washington and listen to the advice from the knowledgeable folks that have already replied to you on this thread.

I'll throw in my vote for an overnight at Lakes of the Clouds hut. Not quite the "rugged outdoors" experience of tenting, but plenty of ruggedness with the hike offset by a great meal and a bunk.

If you want to get an idea of the "average" temp and weather by month check out the F6 reports here: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/f6/ (http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/../weather/f6/). Keep in mind though that the weather on Mt Washington can throw just about anything at you in every month of the year.

However you decide to do it, good luck!

03-02-2009, 09:47 PM
aw man! I was confused apparently..

i thought most ppl would hike and camp out, not realizing they have designated areas to "lodge" in and eat...etc

Would most people leave early AM, get to summit and head back same day or is it typical for most to spend 2 days doing it?

KD Talbot
03-02-2009, 09:51 PM
make it a day trip. Can easily be done in 8-10 hours.


03-02-2009, 09:53 PM
make it a day trip. Can easily be done in 8-10 hours.


forget it all! i am driving it up with my car LOL jk

Bill O
03-02-2009, 10:00 PM
The thought of wild animal attacks pretty much keeps me indoors 24/7. It's just not worth the risk to go outside anymore. A lady was mauled by a chimpanze just a few miles from my house. I'll take my chances indoors, thank you.

As far as Mount Washington goes...think Jurassic Park. Yeah, it's that scary.

KD Talbot
03-02-2009, 10:01 PM
that's one way, but it's certainly worth climbing. Hope you get to.

My first experience there was: drive to the summit, hike down to Lakes and back. Got me all revved up, but I learned I needed to learn a lot more about the mountain and get in shape if I wanted to climb all the way up.


03-03-2009, 06:03 AM

That is a pretty good suggestion - drive up - hike to Lakes and back. The thing folks need to be aware of if they do that is the weather can completely change by the time you get to Lakes! And the second half of the journey is uphill. Don't over estimate your ability to get back to the summit and the car.

But it would put some things in perspective.

03-03-2009, 08:37 AM
The thought of wild animal attacks pretty much keeps me indoors 24/7. It's just not worth the risk to go outside anymore. A lady was mauled by a chimpanze just a few miles from my house. I'll take my chances indoors, thank you.

As far as Mount Washington goes...think Jurassic Park. Yeah, it's that scary.

So right, Bill. They don't call that rock formation the Lion's Head for nothing.

03-03-2009, 08:56 AM
forget it all! i am driving it up with my car LOL jk
What is funny when you get to the summit hiking up, you see folks get out of their car. "Mildred, they walked up!"

I have never done the car bit. Well, I have now done the snowcat which was extremely cool deal to do! Did the Cog once to get my mother to the summit which she had always wanted to do and needed someone to take her.

My normal has been leave Pinkham by 7AM, summit and be back at the cabin in Maine for dinnah. If I can do that 2-3 times a summer, I am a very happy camper.

03-03-2009, 12:20 PM
So I checked the MW site and went over to visitor information and camping..etc

there are tons of links! I am unsure where to begin regarding setting up a weekend trip. I saw you have to BOOK the lodging on the mountain?

Is there a quick breakdown of where to hike, the route, where to tent out..etc?

As of right now, ima just show up, choose a route and go! But as you all said, it would be best to stay at one of the lodging grounds, and not camp out in tent

03-03-2009, 12:59 PM
Water - if you want to tent camp at hermit lake, start here:
if you want to stay in the AMC Lakes of the Clouds hut start here:
or here for more general AMC lodging info:
p.s. - pick up a trail map like this one for route info:

03-03-2009, 10:31 PM
Another option for a day hike like Brad suggested with Lakes out and back if you don't want to do the whole mountain is drive up the auto road to the Cow Pasture parking lot (no, there aren't cows there) just below the summit and hike across the alpine garden, up and over the summit and back to the car. This is a really beautiful hike when the wildflowers are in bloom in the spring. This was our first hike on Mt Washington several years ago and it was a great introduction to being above treeline and being on the summit without either just driving there or doing the whole hike. Of course now all we want to do is hike it via every possible trail, but that's another story...

03-05-2009, 11:12 PM
If it is your first hike, I'd skip the camping out and just hike it. It can easily be done in one day with no problem. I've done it by myself, with 4 kids from 8-12 years old in a about 11 hours.

I like going up tuckerman's ravine trail, and going down....tuckerman's too. :D

OR, hike up, and take a van down. It's like what...$20 each? We had to do that last summer after getting caught in an intense lightning storm (although I wouldn't trade that experience for anything) halfway betwen Lake of the Clouds and the summit. It was touching down everywhere! :eek:

I can't wait to make a hike and board the ravine this spring, then a few hikes in the summer. How soon can you start reserving spaces to stay overnite?