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Milzey344
02-04-2010, 04:49 PM
I am a novice climber and will be attempting to climb Mount Washington
in late February with a guide. I have been on Washington once before,
never got very high. Didn't make Lionshead. Conditions were pretty bad.

Is the Lions head winter climbing route dangerous for a beginning climber?
I have heard it is steep, but is it technical? I have limited skills and
only basic training and knowledge of crampons, ice axe, self arrest. I
feel pretty inexperienced.

Could someone give me some clothing tips. I got a gear list but don't
know what to bring. Last time I got very hot and sweaty on the Tuckerman
trail, the guide suggested I was overdressed.

Knapper
02-05-2010, 12:21 AM
Mount Washington can be as safe or as dangerous as you make it. If you get to a point where the weather is too bad or the trail isn't to your liking and you turn back then the climb was safe but if you continue on in extreme weather and get lost then it becomes dangerous. That's not to say that all dangers are from human error as it can be prone to avalanches and other phenomena. But it sounds like you have experienced the bad weather it offers if you didn't make it to Lionhead and therefore not the summit proper in the past.

Lionshead is steep but it isn't a technical climb like Huntington Ravine is this time of year. It is a demanding trail but you have started with some of the right things for a first time climb: ice ax, crampons, and guide. A good guide (and all from the area I know are) will show you all you need to know to get up the mountain and will help you make good decisions along the way.

As for what to wear and pack, the EMS climbing school has a pretty good list: http://emsclimb.com/newhampshire_northconway_mtwashingtonascent.shtml Along with information there, recently forum members have posted their favorite hiking and climbing links here: http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5812&highlight=links

The key when dressing is dress so you are cool at the base before leaving. Not shivering cold, hypothermic cold but lets say if you were standing around and thought a heavy down jacket would keep you warm in conditions in the lower teens, wear it while waiting around but underneath, have a thermal shirt or two along with a fleece. Then when you depart, ditch the down in the pack or car and start off in the fleece. If after a few yards the fleece feels like too much, pack it and have the thermal under layers. I know it is hard to comprehend but layering and starting off cold works best because you heat up fast so long as you are moving. Then when you stop, layer back up. If you are prone to sweat no matter what, pack multiple shirts to change into when you stop along the trail. Moisture can make a winter hike underbearable. And if you are sweating that much, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. A lot of people forget to do this because they aren't sweating nearly as much as they would in summer and think they are fine til it is too late. That is the biggest issue we have with overnight hikers EMS brings up is acute dehydration.

Good luck and hopefully the weather is nice for ya.

Milzey344
02-05-2010, 09:58 AM
Thank you so very much for the detailed reply, Ryan. I look at your site
all the time and really appreciate the information you provide on weather
conditions.

Obviously you have a very well informed viewpoint about climbing the "rockpile'. I wish I had a tenth of your knowledge.

I have chosen a very experienced guide ( I don't know if I can mention names on your site) and I am sure he will have a close eye on me. He has
given me a clothing list and I think it is good, but I just needed some advice on how to wear it, rather than what to bring. You filled that void. I will take your advice on the clothing. My guide last year stated " to stay warm you have to stay a little cold". I thought it was kind of funny when he said it, but I guess it dovetails into what you said about "you should start cold, but not hypothermic."

I just wondered if I had bit off more than I could chew by attempting to
summit Washington without much training or experience. Naturally I have some trepidation when I read about "The Killer mountain" or "Everest of
the East" and have visions of falling thousands of feet off the Lions head trail.

You put it in a good prospective, and I again thank you for your detailed e-mail. You are aces in my book!

climbabout
02-05-2010, 05:18 PM
Knappers advice is right on the money

Some other recent threads that may be helpful:
http://mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5814
http://mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4582
http://mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4385
http://mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=228

This questions you ask have all been discussed here many times before - the threads above should answer the questions you posed. Take a look through them and come back with any follow up questions - we're all here to help.

BTW - who is your guide?

Tim

p.s. - Ryan I am coming up for an overnight on Feb. 18th - will you be there then?

smithtim
02-05-2010, 06:49 PM
Lion's head is a walk up, but you'll need axe & crampons... hunington's is technical

If you are doing Lion's head with a guide and use good common sense you'll be fine as long as you are in good shape & well prepared!

Those are a good links / advice shared above and I'm just adding one more about general preperations for winter prepardness

http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5696


Best of luck and take some pics / let us know how it went

-Tim

Milzey344
02-05-2010, 09:51 PM
Thank you for the threads and info. Sorry to ask for info that was discussed
in previous posts. I am new to climbing and this blog. Joe Lentini is my guide and I have heard very good things about his style and expertise. He has
shared lots of good clothing advice, I knew what to bring, just not when during the climb to wear it all, (or not).

I took a couple of classes from EMS and learned a lot but don't feel that I
am even close to being really schooled on climbing.

Again I thank you for your advice, and your patience in answering my
inane "newbie" questions.

climbabout
02-05-2010, 10:21 PM
Joe Lentini? If you were a baseball player, this would be like having private batting lessons from Ted Williams. You hired yourself the best guide for Mount Washington. I know him quite well - I climbed with him many times when he worked for EMS years ago and a few times since. In fact he guided me on my first successful winter ascent of Mt. Washington almost 20 years ago. You'll be just fine. He has done several hundred winter ascents of Mt. Washington as well as countless winter rescues. He knows the mountain like the back of his hand. He's a wealth of knowledge and has a heck of a sense of humor as well. There's no one better to learn from. Good luck - relax, listen to him and have fun.
Tim

Milzey344
02-05-2010, 11:55 PM
Joe Lentini? If you were a baseball player, this would be like having private batting lessons from Ted Williams. You hired yourself the best guide for Mount Washington. I know him quite well - I climbed with him many times when he worked for EMS years ago and a few times since. In fact he guided me on my first successful winter ascent of Mt. Washington almost 20 years ago. You'll be just fine. He has done several hundred winter ascents of Mt. Washington as well as countless winter rescues. He knows the mountain like the back of his hand. He's a wealth of knowledge and has a heck of a sense of humor as well. There's no one better to learn from. Good luck - relax, listen to him and have fun.
Tim

Thanks for your help, Tim. I have heard very good things about Joe and his
resume is astounding! I will listen carefully to him, I think I can learn alot.
I will post an after trip report!

Charlie
02-07-2010, 08:09 PM
p.s. - Ryan I am coming up for an overnight on Feb. 18th - will you be there then?

i dont think so he goes up this wed

Knapper
02-08-2010, 01:47 AM
p.s. - Ryan I am coming up for an overnight on Feb. 18th - will you be there then?

Charlie is correct, I actually had to update my calendar to check. I come down the 17th so you will be up with Stacey, Steve, Mike C, and an intern.

climbabout
02-08-2010, 08:12 AM
Thanks
Tim

Charlie
02-08-2010, 06:31 PM
Charlie is correct, I actually had to update my calendar to check. I come down the 17th so you will be up with Stacey, Steve, Mike C, and an intern.

i think your up there on sept 22 when brad and my self come up for a week :eek:

smithtim
02-09-2010, 12:56 PM
Joe Lentini? If you were a baseball player, this would be like having private batting lessons from Ted Williams....


So I had to ask a questions while you all are talking about guides... what is the customary $$ tip to give to guides??? Is it like a restaurant % or is it not expected

Milzey344
02-09-2010, 01:06 PM
So I had to ask a questions while you all are talking about guides... what is the customary $$ tip to give to guides??? Is it like a restaurant % or is it not expected

$25 or $30 bucks. Depends if they are crabby or not. I have
only climbed with EMS and all their guides were great.

climbabout
02-09-2010, 01:37 PM
I always figure 15-20% of whatever rate you are paying the guide service. Guides do incredibly difficult and dangerous work for little money.
Tim

Milzey344
02-09-2010, 04:13 PM
I always figure 15-20% of whatever rate you are paying the guide service. Guides do incredibly difficult and dangerous work for little money.
Tim

I agree. It is not an easy job. I have learned much from the guides I have
had previously.