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Pawtown
05-31-2009, 10:49 PM
hey this is the guy from the earlier post. We decieded to push the date up to the 3rd week of june (if the weather looks good) i would like to describe what we intend to do and get your guys reaction.

so basically its our first time doing anything like this...we have hiked trails but never climbed a mountain. we all think we have decent woodsman skills so we're kinda going for the excitement of it. anyways we intend to camp there in the treeline and climb the whole mt. in a course of 2 days. so i ask to you. what is the best trail to take and since we are planning to camp in the woods on that first day what is a good elevation to set camp and what should we be expecting and what should we bring. im sure this information would be helpful to us. also do u recomend drinking alcohol at camp ...haha ok

Bill O
06-02-2009, 06:42 AM
Please don't camp in the woods on mount Washington. Use the designated campsites.

Pawtown
06-02-2009, 12:10 PM
why not? what would that entail? i read that u can as long as you camp a certain distance from the trail...curious to know why u say not to?

mahony
06-02-2009, 01:06 PM
Much of the woods area around Washington is a Forest Protection Area, so no camping is allowed there (according to the 28th edition AMC maps). With restrictions around huts, trailheads and designated campsites there isn't much flat ground left to camp on anyway.

You probably need to take a side trail down off the ridges to the West to get out of the "no camping areas", which makes using a hut/site/shelter the easier option.

KD Talbot
06-02-2009, 03:43 PM
Since I never get tired of posting this, and you, as readers never get tired of reading it :)


CAMPING

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.

Take Tuckerman Ravine Trail and Lion Head Trail. Camp at Hermit Lake Shelter.

http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/campsites/hermit-lake-shelter.cfm

KDT

Bill O
06-02-2009, 05:51 PM
why not? what would that entail? i read that u can as long as you camp a certain distance from the trail...curious to know why u say not to?

See what others have posted.

I highly recommend the Hermit Lake Shelters. You can use a lean-to or pitch your tent on a designated tent platform. It will be far more comfortable than any legal camping site on the Mount Washington massif. I believe the cost is just a few dollars per night, there is easily accessible well water and its in a great spot.

Pawtown
06-03-2009, 01:34 PM
we really want to just camp ourselves...in accordance to the rules it is perfectly fine to do so and we will leave no trash...but on another note ...which trail should we choose to go up...one that is fairly easy and has some good views and good spots to camp (in the wilderness) if anyone knows? come on some one gotta have some ideas..lol thanks for all the help so far though guys.

krummholz
06-03-2009, 02:53 PM
I don't think anyone's trying to rain on your parade, it's just that you've picked one of the toughest mountains in the Whites to find a decent legal campsite in the woods and climb the mountain in two days. Just look at the contour lines on the map and you'll see why. The only routes on Mt. Washington that have good legal campsites are ones that are very long tough approaches, for the simple reason that they have flat stretches because they start so far away. Those are the Dry River trail and the Great Gulf trail. Both of them have 5,000+ vertical feet of climbing and are very long. Both have very tough headwall sections to get up above treeline (Oakes Gulf on Dry River trail and the Great Gulf headwall on the Great Gulf trail). Dry River trail also has difficult stream crossings. But hey, at least the ice on the summit will be gone...:)

Pawtown
06-04-2009, 01:03 PM
so you are saying great gulf or dry river? those trails will have the most and flatest camp areas in the woods? them trails are longer than the rest because they start further away and take a flater climb....are they do-able for 1st timers you think? cause let me explain to you how much of a noob i am...let me sum it up in this one question...whats a headwall? is that some kind of vertical cliff?

Brad
06-04-2009, 01:16 PM
A headwall is as you guessed. Tuckerman Ravine, for example, is like a horseshoe canyon. Lion Head is up on the north side and Boott Spur is on the south side. The base of the horseshoe is the Headwall. In the case of Tuckerman Ravine headwall this is how most folks go up on the east side of the mountain to get to the summit of Mt Washington.

Here is a picture I took coming down the Headwall last summer looking across the headwall itself and the waterfalls which flow all the time.

http://images40.fotki.com/v1238/photos/8/8235/6524871/IMG_4407a-vi.jpg

Pawtown
06-04-2009, 01:30 PM
so what i am looking at in that picture is what i would be actually climbing? how difficult is that? i would imagine if you pace urself and just go up carefully it wouldnt be so bad...how are the headwalls the other guy was talking about? Oakes Gulf on Dry River trail and the Great Gulf headwall ??? good for first timers?

climbabout
06-04-2009, 01:40 PM
Pawtown - I'll chime in - I believe the closest legal, flat campsite where you can pitch a tent on your own is up the great gulf trail below spaulding lake. I camped there many years ago - I assume the designated legal camping areas have not changed. However, give the AMC in pinkham notch a call and they can confirm this. Keep in mind, this is a long approach and the climbing after spaulding lake steepens greatly and the trail rises 1600 feet in .8 miles - that is very, very steep. This is not a section to be hiking with a heavy bulky pack for a novice. This approach hike and the camping in the Great Gulf can be a great experience on its own without summitting, but having a solitary camping experience AND having an easy trail to the summit is not possible on Mount Washington. If summitting is your main goal, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll back up an earlier post - pitch your tent at hermit lake and hike to the summit from there. It will be more of a communal camping experience, but the hike from there to the summit is more suited to your experience level. Lastly - research on this forum and the internet in general regarding the weather conditions you may encounter here - even in the summer Mount Washington weather can be deadly. Take the proper precautions regarding clothing, etc...
Good Luck
Tim

climbabout
06-04-2009, 01:45 PM
The headwall in the picture posted looks like tuckerman ravine to me - this is what you would be hiking up if you stayed at hermit lake. Not an easy hike, but very doable for first timers who are fit and pace themselves. You can leave some of your heavy gear at hermit lake shelter and summit with a lighter load, just taking your storm gear and extra clothing and food.
Tim

FisherCat
06-04-2009, 01:53 PM
Pawtown - I'll chime in - I believe the closest legal, flat campsite where you can pitch a tent on your own is up the great gulf trail below spaulding lake. I camped there many years ago - I assume the designated legal camping areas have not changed. However, give the AMC in pinkham notch a call and they can confirm this. Tim

Great Gulf regulations are no camping allowed within 200ft of any trail except at designated campsites (of which there are several marked by tentsite symbols between the Bluff and the Sphinx Trail). No wood or charcoal fires either in GGW.Camping is prohibited within .25m of the Great Gulf Trail south of its junction with the Sphinx Trail, including Spaulding Lake and its vicinity.

Please protect this area! I spent many years helping keep the trails clear and brushing out bootleg sites along Spaulding Lake. It takes a long time for them to recover but some areas are doing just that.

climbabout
06-04-2009, 02:05 PM
Great Gulf regulations are no camping allowed within 200ft of any trail except at designated campsites (of which there are several marked by tentsite symbols between the Bluff and the Sphinx Trail). No wood or charcoal fires either in GGW.Camping is prohibited within .25m of the Great Gulf Trail south of its junction with the Sphinx Trail, including Spaulding Lake and its vicinity.

Please protect this area! I spent many years helping keep the trails clear and brushing out bootleg sites along Spaulding Lake. It takes a long time for them to recover but some areas are doing just that.

These designated tentsites that fischercat speaks of are the ones I was referring to that I used several years ago.
Tim

Pawtown
06-04-2009, 02:29 PM
so it seems like everyone is saying the great gulf trail is the one i would wanna do considering camping in the woods and getting up to the summit? u said it climbs really steep at a certain point but is it do able for us? anyways i think great gulf looks like a hit. im going to talk with my friends and try to figure if maybe they wanna take a direct aprroach to climbing the mountain rather than going on this epic journey it seems like great gulf will be lol.

Breeze
06-04-2009, 03:23 PM
There is a detailed trip report about the Great Gulf Route at http://www.hikenewengland.com/Washington010623.html

and there are many others on the 'net. Google is your friend!

It is REALLY important to have a detailed map, as many trail crossings and intersections/junctions will be encountered.

You should ( really, REALLY SHOULD) register at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, providing the usual details-- party size, names, ages, expected route, start time and expected out time. PNVC has the earliest morning weather summaries from the summit Obs, and there is usually someone there REALLY EARLY for advice/questions. Breakfast is early, if you want to fill up. Maps, guide-books are available, too.

While you are planning a route UP, you also want to plan a couple of options for DOWN. Weather changes are so fast, notoriously fast, and especially when you are approaching the summit from the East. If you need to turn around, or to get down with the least hassle, its best to be prepared with a plan for that very thing. Please don't poo-poo the idea. It can save lives/injuries/being really lost. Great Gulf is NOT a good place to be lost. Honest. Its also a tough place for search teams.

Cell phone coverage out of the Great Gulf Wilderness is NOT something you can count on. Its a dead zone, because there is NO line of sight until you are practically UP TOP.

It probably isnt the recommended "first", pretty much because you won't have help if you get stuck or something unexpected screws things up. If you do decide that you'd choose to camp at Hermit Lake and take the Tucks/Lions Head route, call AMC soon to reserve a tent site.

good planning and good hiking to you!

Breeze

Pawtown
06-04-2009, 05:47 PM
would u say that great gulf trail is less steep then others but is much longer? cuz thats the idea im getting...does anyone have any pictures of the great gulf's headwall? 22 miles long is the trail distance im getting thats a troop

Brad
06-04-2009, 06:31 PM
I do not know your conditioning or experience. But, everything I have seen or heard over the years says for a first time on Mt Washington and wanting to overnight camp - camp at Hermit Lake shelters - leave your heavy stuff there - go up to the summit either on the Headwall or Lion Head trail. Then you have either trail to come down to get your gear - then back down to PNVC.

Other options folks are mentioning are a lot longer and way less traveled. If you need help or advice, there might not be any on those other routes. The headwalls are all steep. Lion Head is steep. But, with the right pace and conditioning they are certainly doable - especially if you are starting 2 hours in at Hermit Lake. That makes summit day a lot easier.

Length of hike in 2 days (22 miles is a lot with this kind of elevation gain) - amount of time exposed above treeline (up and down) - and weather conditions - all play a part in the decision of which trail(s) to take - and whether you summit or not. You do not want to be above treeline if a storm comes through. On any trail on the east side you will not have good visibility to approaching storms. They will be on the other side of the ridge. You need to check the weather forecast details and play on the conservative side. You might hit perfect weather conditions and luck out. Or you could get caught in snow above treeline - any month of the year. Folks here will always say to be careful.

Bill O
06-04-2009, 06:35 PM
I would just move past the desire to "free" camp on Mount Washington. Yes, there are legal areas on the west side of the mountain but there is no flat ground or clearings.

The Great Gulf is a much longer hike, but very steep at the end. But there are good campsites in there and it is a lightly traveled area.

Breeze
06-04-2009, 06:56 PM
Yep. +/- 22 miles Round Trip via Great Gulf Wilderness. Isn't that what you wanted? Something with an overnight?
Don't ask us here to make it easy for you. It isn't easy even from Hermit Lake, at 8.4 miles, but the routes from Hermit Lake have all the steeps within a day trip, even if you want a tent site/overnite option.

You need to corroborate < on your own> the advice being given here. None of us are lying or mis-representing the challenges . Only you can prepare yourself for where you want to go and what you want to accomplish.

Breeze

Brad
06-04-2009, 07:10 PM
Here is a view of Tuckerman Ravine headwall from the top of Lion Head. The Headwall is behind me - the waterfalls can be seen just to the right of me. To the right of the waterfalls is the trail that cuts way over to the right side of the headwall - then zigs back towards the waterfalls (where I took the prior picture) and then up to the ridge. Checking a topo map will show you how steep it is where the trail goes.

http://images40.fotki.com/v1239/photos/8/8235/6524871/IMG_4336a-vi.jpg

This picture was end of July last year. As soon as we got above treeline the wind picked up and it was cold when we stopped.

mtruman
06-04-2009, 08:12 PM
The Tucks headwall looks a lot tougher from Brads picture than it is. We went down that way last year (up Lion Head). It's basically like a long set of very steep steps. Nothing technical. This is still a very physically demanding hike if you aren't used to going up and down mountains (and if you legs/knees aren't in good shape down can be tougher than up). Best thing is to get out and hike some smaller mountains first to see how you do. Lots of people do Mt Washington every year so don't get scared off - just get ready.

Here's one more picture of the route mid way down the headwall (with a couple of the folks from here on the way down with us) last year to give you a little better perspective. Pics from complete hike are here if you're interested: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/SeekThePeak2008?feat=directlink


http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/SJX6zTKfD8I/AAAAAAAACH4/ZbUVFv3WjYo/s640/080726-135724.jpg

FisherCat
06-04-2009, 09:48 PM
Also, don't feel you have to go in and out on the same route. Feel free to mix it up a bit. My wife, though already a hiker, did her first ascent of W when we went up through the Great Gulf, up the headwall and summited, then used a combo of Nelson Crag Trail and Wamsutta Trail to drop back down into the Gulf and exited on the Great Gulf Trail from there. Wamsutta is an awesome, wild & rugged trail, but lots of fun. (this was some time ago, but I believe its in the 16-18 mile range round trip)

climbabout
06-05-2009, 08:33 AM
so it seems like everyone is saying the great gulf trail is the one i would wanna do considering camping in the woods and getting up to the summit? u said it climbs really steep at a certain point but is it do able for us? anyways i think great gulf looks like a hit. im going to talk with my friends and try to figure if maybe they wanna take a direct aprroach to climbing the mountain rather than going on this epic journey it seems like great gulf will be lol.

My posts stated that I thought the legal camping sites in the great gulf would be a great experience on their own - but the trail after the campsites is EXTREMELY steep and I would NOT recommend summiting via this route for a first timer or with a heavy pack. The trail that I said was very doable was tuckerman ravine - that is your best option for camping (at hermit lake shelters - just below the ravine) and then leaving your camping gear at hermit lake and summiting via tuckerman ravine trail.
Tim

rockin rex
06-05-2009, 09:19 AM
This post has enteries from some of the folks that know this mountain better than most. I myself have camped in the great Gulf many times and have hiked every trail out of there up to the ridge. There is NO EASY trail out of the Great Gulf. Some the the steepest trails in the Whites leave from the Great Gulf up to the Ridge with the Great Gulf trail up over the headwall being the steepest. Believe me you don't want to carry full packs up the Great Gulf trail unless you are in Awesome Shape and very experienced. From what it looks like, you guys want to be able to camp by yourselves and climb Washington. Tuck's is your best bet but if your set on going into the great Gulf than just base camp. That is the way that I always do it. Set up a base camp on a LEGAL site in the Great gulf and then just day pack it to the summit and back. This gives you MANY options on which trail to ascend and descend. My thought with your experience would be to ascend via the Wamsuttea and to descend via the Spinx. With day packs this is a very nice loop (in good weather) You DO NOT want to descend via the Great Gulf Trail. This post is full of EXCELLENT information. Don't camp illegal. You will get a ticket.

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 02:02 PM
does anyone have a good informative picture of the great gulf's headwall?

climbabout
06-05-2009, 02:24 PM
does anyone have a good informative picture of the great gulf's headwall?

Here's the best on I can find.
Tim

rockin rex
06-05-2009, 02:39 PM
Picture pretty much sums it up. The trail goes straight up towards where the cog smoke is. As can be seen from the picture it is Extremely steep!!

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 02:56 PM
ok this headwall looks very intimidating...WOWZERS! i got some other pics also from googling...damnnn...now lemme get this straight when ur climbing the headwall its pretty much like slowly walking level to level in a crack going up the mountain...no ropes or cliff climbing is needed right?

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 03:04 PM
heres a picture i was looking at...from this angle it looks do-able but can anyone point out the exact area i would be going up? or will i be able to go up alot of different ways?

http://image09.webshots.com/9/2/43/2/154024302aIaqDA_fs.jpg

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 03:06 PM
http://image09.webshots.com/9/2/43/2/154024302aIaqDA_fs.jpg

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 03:07 PM
why isnt this picture showing?http://image09.webshots.com/9/2/43/2/154024302aIaqDA_fs.jpg

Bill O
06-05-2009, 03:46 PM
Photos always make it look worse than it is. You'd be surprised how well they can build a trail up a steep route. Remember, these are all hiking routes.

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 04:46 PM
someone please look at this picture i have of the great gulf trail headwall and tell me what its like if any of you actually climbed that headwall and if u could point out a trail in the picture ...

http://image09.webshots.com/9/2/43/2/154024302aIaqDA_fs.jpg

could someone explain what a scramble is?

climbabout
06-05-2009, 04:52 PM
someone please look at this picture i have of the great gulf trail headwall and tell me what its like if any of you actually climbed that headwall and if u could point out a trail in the picture ...

http://image09.webshots.com/9/2/43/2/154024302aIaqDA_fs.jpg

could someone explain what a scramble is?

I can't see this picture - but scrambling means using your hands in addition to your feet for balance and grip on the trail. It's a common technique in steep exposed areas.
Tim

Brad
06-05-2009, 05:26 PM
Once I went to the actual image then I was able to see all instances of in in this thread. But, they are huge.

Here is a different version of that image.

http://images46.fotki.com/v1518/photos/8/8235/242566/154024302aIaqDA_fs-vi.jpg

mtruman
06-05-2009, 05:29 PM
Of course there are scrambles and then there are SCRAMBLES. Sometimes you just need hands and feet to maneuver up steep but reasonably secure spots. Sometimes it is steep, exposed, slick (ledge vs. separate rocks/boulders) and much more dangerous if you loose your footing. I'm definitely not the expert in this - just the one who tries at all cost to avoid the latter type of scrambles due to my fear of heights (as opposed to someone like Tim or many other who consider anything that doesn't require a rope to just be a simple scramble). Not sure which of these Great Gulf headwall falls into but I believe based on the WMG description that it is the latter. At any rate, if you haven't experienced any of these sorts of locations before, the middle of a multi-day backpacking trip is probably not the best first time. If all this still sounds OK to you go ahead and give it a shot. If not, Bills suggestion is the way to go. Camp at Hermit Lake and use some combination of Tuckerman Ravine Trail and/or Lion Head Trail and you should be fine.

krummholz
06-05-2009, 06:34 PM
I'm pretty sure (looking at the photo) the trail goes up the obvious gully in the middle of the headwall, curving slightly to the left near the top to avoid a vertical section. I've been up it--not technical, does not require a rope, but does involve use of hands. There is more loose rock in the lower part of the headwall, more solid ledge higher up. For those who followed the earlier thread about the Yosemite rating system for climbs, I would put this at somewhere between class 2+ and 3. There is no single move on it that is as hard as the stretch on the Fan on Huntington Ravine, but it's toward the most difficult end of the range for hiking.

rockin rex
06-05-2009, 07:21 PM
Brad great picture. Having done this trail many times it is easy for me to pick out the trail. The big boulder at the bottom I remember oh so well and then it was straight up. There are no slabs like Huntington but it is just steep and straight up. I would consider it a class 2 hike. Anyone who is somewhat in good shape can get up it. Full packs is a different story. Descending on this trail as I stated I would not suggest. As Bill O said this is a straight walk up. It is just steep. Hey if you base camp in Great Gulf and want to give it a shot go for it. Just know that when you reach the ridge you still have a ways to go to reach the Summit. Doing the headwall and summit then back to base camp does make for a long day. Make sure to leave early and allow yourself plenty of time.

Pawtown
06-05-2009, 07:52 PM
does anyone have any scary pics of that headwall...like ones looking down it...i just wanna judge how scary im gonna think it is when i myself look down

mtruman
06-05-2009, 09:25 PM
Found these views looking down. Don't know how representative this is of whole thing. There is a whole album here: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/551983446QoJhBO

http://inlinethumb20.webshots.com/42835/2469171940069303360S600x600Q85.jpg

http://inlinethumb57.webshots.com/41976/2940930330069303360S600x600Q85.jpg

mtruman
06-05-2009, 09:28 PM
To give a comparative idea of scrambling locations here's one of the slabs on the Huntington Ravine Trail (which the WMG calls the most difficult regular trail in the White Mountains). And the rest of that album (really beautiful shots): http://www.penemco.com/matthew/hikes/washington_8_5_06/HuntingtonsWashingtonGreatGulf.html

http://www.penemco.com/matthew/hikes/washington_8_5_06/IMG_0024.JPG

Brad
06-06-2009, 10:14 AM
These are trails you work up to - they are not for the beginner. One needs to know their equipment, how well their conditioning is, and how they deal with these conditions. One does not want to be part way up and see it is too much for them. (Many of us have helped people down - or carried them out - because they went in beyond their abilities.)

I have climbed MW many times but pick my dates and trails based on the weather and my conditioning. Some trails I would love to do, but know they are beyond my ability. This all comes from experience. Trying for the hardest trails right off the bat is asking for trouble, in my opinion.

laudizen
06-07-2009, 03:14 PM
You don't need woodsman's skills to hike and camp in the area around the Presidentials, what you need to have is the desire to practice low-impact use along with some respect and knowledge of where you are going and why you are going there. In reading this thread, all of these seem to be in short supply. I think you should consider plan B: get a campsite for a couple days in a forest service or private campground in the area and do Mt Washington on a day hike with light daypacks. That way you can learn about the mountain and the terrain firsthand. Then you can enjoy a few drinks around the campfire with your friends and relive the experience. This is a great experience in its own right, and should not be dismissed out of hand.

Pawtown
06-07-2009, 10:53 PM
laudizen i really respect ur input it seems very real and i respect that thank you....anyways ok so we decided based on what i got here in the posts, that we are gonna hike great gulf camp about 9 or so miles into it, and then do the headwall fresh when all of us have had our last words ..lol but seriously this is what we intend to do..i thank all of you for all of ur advice and support but i think great gulf is the route we were looking for something very challenging and a place were we could camp on our own....but one last question...would you say as far as headwall difficulty , which is the most difficult and answer this....the great gulf headwall ive heard is only hard because of its length (time trAVELED) not because it is hard to climb,,,i actually heard huntington is alot harder headwall to climb ...can i get some advice on this?

rockin rex
06-08-2009, 05:38 AM
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Check out the trip report and pictures mentioned in previous post of the Huntington ascend and great gulf descend trip. The pictures will let you answer for yourselves.

mtruman
06-08-2009, 07:47 PM
laudizen i really respect ur input it seems very real and i respect that thank you....anyways ok so we decided based on what i got here in the posts, that we are gonna hike great gulf camp about 9 or so miles into it, and then do the headwall fresh when all of us have had our last words ..lol but seriously this is what we intend to do..i thank all of you for all of ur advice and support but i think great gulf is the route we were looking for something very challenging and a place were we could camp on our own....but one last question...would you say as far as headwall difficulty , which is the most difficult and answer this....the great gulf headwall ive heard is only hard because of its length (time trAVELED) not because it is hard to climb,,,i actually heard huntington is alot harder headwall to climb ...can i get some advice on this?

Hmmm. Not sure where you're planning to start from but from the trailhead of the the Great Gulf trail to the summit of Mt Washington is a little less than 8 miles. That is based on using Great Gulf/Wamsutta/Alpine Garden/Neslon Crag. The alternative would be Great Gulf/Madison Gulf/Nelson Crag which is just under 9 miles to the summit. Either way you've got a much shorter hike than 9 miles to the base of the headwall. I haven't taken these routes so I'm going by the destription in the WMG. The route using the Wamsutta sounds like the more difficult:
"Leaving the Great Gulf Trail opposite the Six Husbands Trail, the trail crosses a small stream, then ascends gradually. Soon it climbs the very steep and rough northerly spur of Chandler Ridge, with one difficult scramble up a chimney. Higher up, in an area with several more scrambles, there are impressive views across the floor of the Great Gulf to Mts. Jefferson, Adams and Madison. The trail continues up steeply, then more gradually, to a small, open promontory on the crest of the spur, which offers another good view. "
I'm interested in the comments from others that have used these routes...

rockin rex
06-08-2009, 09:02 PM
Great Gulf is an amazing place!!!! The camping sites are really nice and the swimming is incredible!!! All trails out of the Great gulf up to the ridge are wild and rugged. When you base camp in the great gulf you have so many different options of climbs to do. All of the Northern Presi peaks can be reached by trails out of the great gulf. Six husbands is one of the most rugged. The slab above the ladder has to be seen ( be careful with full packs) Wamsutta is a wild and rugged trail and brings you directly into the alpine Garden. This is your most direct way to the summit from the Great Gulf but it is a wild and rugged trail. If one had the time for Seek the Peak Climbing Washington via Wamsutta would be an incredible hike. The mileage would be high though. If I am not mistaken the mileage would be around 14 miles for the day. Have to make sure you arrive in time for the wonderful turkey dinner.

AndyM
07-27-2009, 09:01 AM
After all the discussion and build-up, I was curious as to the outcome. Did you guys finish your planned route?

smitty77
08-04-2009, 03:17 PM
but one last question...would you say as far as headwall difficulty , which is the most difficult and answer this....the great gulf headwall ive heard is only hard because of its length (time trAVELED) not because it is hard to climb,,,i actually heard huntington is alot harder headwall to climb ...can i get some advice on this?

The fine people here have given you advice, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. The Great Gulf headwall is as hard as Huntington Ravine. Period. Some may quibble over this, but for a beginner it's all the same. Rugged and STEEP!!!!!

1600' in 0.8 mi is STEEP!!! A good benchmark for an uphill workout is 1000'/mile. This will get your lungs and legs working. You will need more than just "woodsman training" if you're going to haul a heavy pack up 1000'/mi. You need to be physically fit.

Now, the Great Gulf headwall is almost double that, so we're talking a serious climb. No ropes, minimal chance of falling, just unrelentingly steep. I've done it with a full pack and can say for certain it is not for a beginner hiker with a full pack. Maybe a daypack, but still there are better trail choices on this mountain. The area is isolated, and if you run into bad weather half way up the slope there is only one way down - back the way you came. Further, once you crest the headwall you will be above treeline and in a very exposed place, with the summit being your closest refuge if you can even get there. There is no quick way to safety on this trail, and no easy way to get help if you need it. A quick storm can make the Peabody River lower down impassible, blocking off your "easy" exit. Then, if memory serves, the only choice is Madison Gulf trail to Old Jackson Road, which is a long walk to the safety of Pinkham Notch. I've done it.

If you've already done the trip and were successful - Congratulations. Show us some pics.

But I have a feeling you need a few hikes under your belt before attempting this one. I've climbed Washington almost a dozen times, from all sides, and this was the toughest by far.