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View Full Version : Mt Washington ... First timer...need a little advice



boston
09-11-2009, 10:38 AM
Hi Folks,

My wife and me, along with another couple are hiking up Mt. Washington tommorow for the first time. I've been lurking on this forum for a week or so and have familiarized myself with the general experience of climbing up the mountain...yet I have a couple of questions I have for all you experienced hikers out there. As a background...both my wife and I are inexperienced hikers. We are both in good physical condition, but havent done a serious mountain climb since Mt Fuji a few summers ago. Having said that, we are well prepared in terms of clothing, food, survival stuff etc. Also, the couple we are hiking up with are relatively experienced. Here are the questions I have...

1) Shoes: Neither my wife and I have hiking boots. Is this something that we should reconsider? We were planning to hike up in our running shoes (decent grip) Given that it might be a little slippery with the rain...is this a bad idea? Or do people do this all the time?

2) On the topic of the rain...how slippery do the rocks get? At what point do we know its unsafe to continue?

3) Is there any food available on the top. We're planning on carrying enough but just in case...?

Pls excuse me if some of the questions sound really 'rookie' or are redundant. Really appreciate all your help.

Thanks,

Boston

Bill O
09-11-2009, 11:19 AM
I don't use hiking boots anymore. They are over-rated and in most cases completely unnecessary. The shoe salesman in the boot section at EMS might tell you a different story though.

It really depends on the rock. It rains a lot on Mount Washington and many people climb in when the rocks are wet. You'll quickly learn what a slippery rock looks like versus a grippy rock. It's also a much bigger problem on the decent as you exert more force going down. Slowing down a bit and careful foot placement should be adequate.

There is plenty of food on top, assuming the visitor center is open. As a rule, especially in unsettled weather, don't count on it being open.

Tim&Val
09-11-2009, 03:37 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum!

1) Shoes: Neither my wife and I have hiking boots. Is this something that we should reconsider? We were planning to hike up in our running shoes (decent grip) Given that it might be a little slippery with the rain...is this a bad idea? Or do people do this all the time?

I wear hiking boots, but lots of people who hike Mt Washington don't. If your shoes have decent grip, then you should be OK. *Most* of the rocks are very grippy, and as Bill said, you'll be able to tell the ones that aren't.

2) On the topic of the rain...how slippery do the rocks get? At what point do we know its unsafe to continue?

I don't know if a normal rain would really make the rockpile (last mile at the top) any more slippery. We came down Tuckerman's in the rain for Seek-the-Peak a couple years ago. I did slip a bit on the headwall - probably more from mud on that part of the trail than anything else - but the slips were just land-on-your-butt-wow-that's-gonna-leave-a-bruise type. Not serious.

3) Is there any food available on the top. We're planning on carrying enough but just in case...?

Hopefully, with reasonable weather forecasted, you should be able to dine on meatball sandwiches and chili in the cafeteria if you so desire. That being said, they may not be the best choice if you're walking back down! (Don't ask how we know this:o)

Maybe you'll see Trish & Hugh & Alex & Sage raise the flag on the summit around noon for Flags on the 48 (http://www.flagsonthe48.org). I think it's supposed to fly from noon to 2pm.

Have fun!
Valerie

Brad
09-11-2009, 05:10 PM
Val,

I do like the summit chili. Whats the problem with that - as long as there is a nice breeze.

climbabout
09-11-2009, 05:39 PM
As others have said - hiking boots are not mandatory - many do fine in running shoes when carrying just a daypack. I prefer something sturdier on the rocks as my arches get sore and I like the extra support of a stiffer shoe. I also prefer trekking poles - they're a great help for aiding your footing and stability especially on the descent.
Good Luck.
Tim
p.s. - slow and deliberate on the descent should get you down safely in wet conditions.

claaky23
09-11-2009, 06:05 PM
I did the Lions head/Boott Spur loop two years ago as an inexperienced hiker and although I found no issues with grip wearing my sneakers, I did notice that my feet HURT. The rocks on the summit cone are brutal. Since then I bought a pair of Keen low cut "boots" and my feet feel a million times better, no blisters or anything.
That being said, I don't thing MTW is a place you want to be breaking in a new pair of boots, so make sure you pick the sneakers with the strongest sole, and go easy on the rocks.

Tim&Val
09-12-2009, 09:39 PM
Hey Boston,
How did your trip go? We were on Mt Madison and it was completely socked in with clouds. Did you see the flag on the summit?
Valerie

boston
09-13-2009, 11:42 PM
Hi everyone!

Thanks a lot for the advice and positive vibrations! I'm happy to say that we had a successful climb up Mt Washington on Saturday! Needless to say, the running shoes worked just fine! We were lucky in that the weather held up for the most part and stayed dry. We ended up taking Lions Head up ... gotta say that its a really cool trail with some seriously awesome views. My thighs and calves do feel pretty roughed up right now but it was well and truly worth all the effort.

Valerie...I did see your friends at the top with the flag! :) It was around 12.00pm or so and we were waiting to take a picture next to the summit sign.

Snow Miser
09-14-2009, 07:51 AM
Glad your first hike up went well Boston. It's a great mountain to come back to and hike as often as possible.:)

Brad
09-14-2009, 10:00 AM
Hi everyone!
We ended up taking Lions Head up ... gotta say that its a really cool trail with some seriously awesome views.
What trail did you use coming down? How did that go?