PDA

View Full Version : 1st Time Climbing Mt. Washington



Pawtown
05-17-2009, 12:22 PM
Hi i just planned a hike of Mt. Washington with a few friends and we have never done anything like this. I've done some research of the mountain and realize it could be dangerous if we underestimate it. I would just like to ask anyone out there if they have any suggestions or information on Mt. Washington so that our planned hike goes well for us noobs. Thank-You.

BlueDog
05-18-2009, 09:14 AM
My first "real" hike was MW as well, back in 2007. I'd say, plan for a day hike, pack for an overnight (excluding tent, of course). Leave early and plan to be at the trail head by 7 am. This will give you plenty of time for extra breaks to catch your breath and take in the scenery. Its tougher than you think, but you don't need to be an Olympic athlete wither.

My "day-pack" may be heavier than much more experienced hikers, but they'd probably agree that its better to be over prepared than under. I pack with thought that there may be a chance I need to spend the night somewhere on the mountain. This means I always have a change of clothes, wool hat and gloves (even in July), first aid kit w/emergency blanket, extra socks, extra snack (PowerBars), map, compass (and my GPS), pocket knife, sun screen, two water bottles plus my steripen (in case of emergency and I need to refill from a spring or somewhere.)

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Brad
05-18-2009, 09:24 AM
BlueDog's advice is very good. A key part of planning is to watch the weather. read the higher summit forecasts and watch what is happening with the weather as you hike. The nice thing about trails on the west side of MW (like Ammo - Jewell combination) is you can see the weather coming. There is a lot of time when you are exposed to the weather and it can get nasty any month of the year.

On the east side of MW you do not see the weather coming - so, knowing what to expect is a lot more important. Do not be afraid of starting even earlier than 6AM as there is plenty of light then. This gives you either a bit more rest time at the summit or a better chance of getting down below treeline before afternoon showers. You want to be off the rocks and in the protection of trees if the weather gets bad.

Make sure you have a waterproof layer. Hiking out when wet is no fun at all.

mtruman
05-18-2009, 10:44 AM
Good advice from Bluedog and Brad already. For more search the forums here and read the many threads on this subject. There are many experienced hikers here that can provide good advice. Do some reading and then ask any specific questions. You'll get the help you need. Good luck.

mahony
05-18-2009, 02:04 PM
In additon to what Brad and Blue said above. Just practice...don't go nuts just get some gear together and go out with all of your planned gera and try walking around in the woods near your house. You won't get the conditions, but you'll find out what works and what doesn't to keep yourself happy

e.g. where did I put those candy bars! water, what water....oh the water bottle that leaked all over my change of socks

Another good experiment is to go out in a rainstorm and see just how well prepared for the weather you are. Are those shoes going to stay dry? Cheetos get messy in the rain. Poncho hoods are floppy and suck without a solid hat worn underneath, try it you'll see.

If you can do a short climbing hike that will help too. Does your gear bang against the rocks as you climb? Does is sway precariously? Does it feel like it is pushing you forward on a ledge? is your pack hitting tree branches over your head...or bumping against your butt?

Find this out now...you'll be happy you did.

Patrad Fischroy
05-19-2009, 01:24 PM
For my two cents I would add, just go, enjoy, but be prepared, and if necessary make sure that you turn back if the conditions warrant it. As others have said many times, the mountain will be there tomorrow.

smithtim
05-19-2009, 02:26 PM
as said above there is of info in many prior posts here that is really good reading.... but one essential thing I would say is make sure that you take the time to sign in ( and out when you return) at the visitor center. It is also a good place to get a check of what the conditions are at summit and any "special situations" on the various trails, the people there are very helpfull and freindly

wxwatcher
05-19-2009, 07:56 PM
I'm also planning a first hike. A few details to clear first: anyone know parking fees and which trails are open at this point? Thanks

Bill O
05-19-2009, 08:08 PM
I'm also planning a first hike. A few details to clear first: anyone know parking fees and which trails are open at this point? Thanks

All trails are open. In fact, the trails are always open. The only closure is a short section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the bowl itself.

Parking at Pinkham Notch is free.

wxwatcher
05-20-2009, 11:46 AM
All trails are open. In fact, the trails are always open. The only closure is a short section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the bowl itself.

Parking at Pinkham Notch is free.

Thanks. So is the summit not accessible by Tuckerman then?

Are there any fees at all, besides the costs of preparation?

MechAeroE
05-20-2009, 12:04 PM
Thanks. So is the summit not accessible by Tuckerman then?

Are there any fees at all, besides the costs of preparation?

Parking at Pinkham and hiking to the top costs nothing. However, requiring a rescue may be a different story.

Brad
05-20-2009, 03:41 PM
Sam,

If you go from Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, there are no parking fees (there is a charge to park other places around the range). There are no hiking or summit fees - except to buy the world's best chili up top.

The biggest expense is to make sure your Mt Washington Observatory membership is up to date so you can do a summit tour of the facilities. It used to be (and I think it still is) that you go to the museum at the summit (down one set of stairs by the TV). At the museum you tell them you are a member and want to do a tour. They can tell you when the next one is to start and where to be for it. The tour is worth the time. MWO membership is definitely worth it.

Brad
05-20-2009, 03:48 PM
On Tuckerman Ravine not being accessible - one can hike the Tuckerman Ravine trail back to the base of the headwall. From there going up the headwall is closed and very dangerous this time of year. There are waterfalls which eat away at the snow from underneath. Once the snow has melted enough on the right side of the headwall to fully expose the trail they will open that trail. Even then there will be rushing waterfalls and snow into June - July - and sometimes into August.

The normal route to the summit from PNVC this time of year is Tuckerman Ravine trail to just before Hermit Shelter - then up Lion Head trail - across the Alpine Garden and then to the summit.

wxwatcher
05-24-2009, 09:43 AM
Thanks for the information! I'm hoping to avoid that particular situation, Mechaeroe ;). I'll be sure to look into the membership Brad.

Knapper
05-24-2009, 05:16 PM
Sam,

... except to buy the world's best chili up top.

The biggest expense is to make sure your Mt Washington Observatory membership is up to date ... MWO membership is definitely worth it.

So two things to add. Sorry to burst the bubble but the chili is from a can so if you are expecting a home brew, sorry. But after hiking up, it is still pretty good.

As for membership, if you don't want to fully sign up prior, you can either sign up for full membership when you get here or pay an introductory membership and still get the tour. The tour shows how we measure the weather, where we live and legally allows you to climb our weather tower, the tallest point (apart from the radio towers) that anyone can be in the northeast, as it stands about 100 ft or so higher than the summit cone of 6288 ft.

wxwatcher
05-25-2009, 08:22 PM
So two things to add. Sorry to burst the bubble but the chili is from a can so if you are expecting a home brew, sorry. But after hiking up, it is still pretty good.

As for membership, if you don't want to fully sign up prior, you can either sign up for full membership when you get here or pay an introductory membership and still get the tour. The tour shows how we measure the weather, where we live and legally allows you to climb our weather tower, the tallest point (apart from the radio towers) that anyone can be in the northeast, as it stands about 100 ft or so higher than the summit cone of 6288 ft.

Off topic, but I saw that you are a meteorologist at the observatory and wondered what college you attended?

Brad
05-25-2009, 08:26 PM
Off topic, but I saw that you are a meteorologist at the observatory and wondered what college you attended?
You can get a lot of information about the staff at http://www.mountwashington.org/about/staff/observer.php#clark_brian

Knapper
05-26-2009, 06:29 AM
Off topic, but I saw that you are a meteorologist at the observatory and wondered what college you attended?

The link Brad provided lists my education as well as all the other observers up here. Four of us are meteorologists while the other two are IT that are certified to take weather observations. Although it should be stated that my bio has not been updated since I think Feb 2006.