View Full Version : Planning on climbing Washington again on April 11th

03-31-2009, 11:57 AM
Well, I enjoyed it so much, I want to do it again. I just wish there was more winter left.

My first big question is how are the conditions this time of the year typically? By this time, will there still be plenty of good snow/ice climbing on the way up? I am having trouble finding any recent trip reports, so I don't have anything to go by.

Also, I plan on hiking with at least a couple of my friends, and since I now have this added security blanket, I want to change up the hike back down if there is a feasible alternative.
What would be my other options back down besides the auto-road or back down Lion's Head?
How reasonable is it to hike across the ridge line and head down Madison? This may be too far of a hike, but I was having trouble gauging the distance. If this is feasible, what time would be the latest that we could get to the Washington summit to make it down Madison in time?
If this is not a possibility, then what other options are available that might make the hike even more interesting than it already is? Of course, if something comes up, we can always head back down the familiar Lion's Head trail.
Thanks in advance!

03-31-2009, 02:37 PM
I have not been up north on washington in a while, so I can only answer you in general terms. April 11 is still very much winter above treeline - remember the world record wind was recorded on april 12!. So prepare like it's a mid winter hike regarding clothing, gear etc. You may be blessed with moderate conditions, but prep for the worst. Up lion head to the summit and over to Madison is a very ambitious plan this time of the year. Days are still short, and unless you are all extremely fit and conditions are perfect, I would advise against it - you would be above treeline and exposed for a good many miles. Another alternative down if you have good visiblity and mild conditions is to descend via boott spur. You are also above treeline for a good bit, bit if weather is good, this is a very doable alternative. Just check trail conditions at pinkham before you head out.

04-03-2009, 01:46 PM
Agreed on the time, especailly to do Madison... it took me nearly 10 hours just to do Washington just up and back from the Visitor Center ( but I do tend to stop an denjoy the views a alot)... So I'd say it is really a strech on your time, maybee OK if you get on the trail very early / pre dawn???

For the decent a good way to do it is carry a snow board up with you then on the way down just snow board right down tuckermans, just kidding or not

04-03-2009, 07:14 PM
Yeah, I suppose it would be a little too ambitious to try to make it down Madison. I am planning on doing a Presi Traverse this summer though, and doing it at least once without snow is probably a much better alternative before I try any kind of a traverse in the winter.

Descending down Boot Spur does seem like a possibility though. There would be some nice views, and it would be cool to work around the ravine. I will try to get my hands on some trail maps and look more into it.

Thanks for the advice guys!

04-09-2009, 02:14 PM
So there is a change of plans. The hike will now be possibly on Madison, or another one of the presi peaks. As of now, I think, we will take the Valley Way trail up Madison. Again, I don't know if it is reasonable, but depending on the time, the hike may move as far as Adams.

We are still considering other peaks such as Eisenhower. Any recommendations? As of now, the only concrete part of our plan is that it will be on part of the presi-range.

Also, are there any sections on Madison that are as steep as the steep section of Lion's Head? If not, I might try to get away with only using snowshoes or microspikes. Are crampons really necessary for this hike?

Thanks again!

KD Talbot
04-09-2009, 03:45 PM
Can't find any recent trip reports, but I can just about guaranty that you can hike up in microspikes to the hut. I think you'll be fine unless you go off trail in which case you would want the snowshoes. I carry all three above treeline. Some folks disagree on the necessity, but if you get off trail for whatever reason, weather, blowdowns, it is best to have snowshoes.

Above the hut you may need the crampons, though I bet on Madison you will find enough bare rock to reach the summit.

These summits tend to be windblown which leaves just water ice. Safer in crampons, especially if you plan on going beyond Madison.

Watch here for trail conditions: