View Full Version : My Hike Up Mount Washington Back in 1998 - An Oldy

02-28-2011, 09:03 PM
Hey Everyone,

I've registered for Seek the Peak recently and it has brought up a bunch of memories of the first time (and only time) I've hiked Mount Washington. I must say, it wasn't a great experience for me at the time. It was my first time hiking, visiting the White's, etc. and really wasn't prepared for it. I was definitely one of those hikers you read about in the paper or see on WMUR!

Anyway, I've written a trip report (13 years later) on this hike...Looking back at it, some of it is amusing, although I didn't think so at the time. You can read my trip report on my blog here: http://livefreeandhikenh.blogspot.com/2011/02/once-upon-timei-hated-hiking-my-hike-up.html I think some of the forum members will enjoy it!

I know my trek up MW this July will definitely be better than my trek in 1998.


02-28-2011, 10:13 PM
Great story, Karl! That's the exact approach to Washington we did this summer. I'd been up to Tuckerman Ravine a year early so I had the benefit of having somewhat of an idea of what I was in for --- I can't say the same for the rest of my group, though :p
Mt. Washington is a challenge but it seems to me to be a kind of "Rite of Passage". I'm glad Washington was my first peak to give me an appreciation for the extreme spectrum of weather and hiking experiences available in the Whites.
And I agree about being annoyed by waiting in line at the summit behind all the "cheaters" :p
Thanks for sharing and good luck at STP.

Snow Miser
02-28-2011, 10:18 PM
Karl, very nice story of your hike years ago. Looking at your photo, you are definitely at the top of the bowl of Tucks.

This July for STP, you are welcome to hike with us. We're still forming a group and not sure of a route yet. Trailsend and I have expressed interest in doing Huntingdon Ravine. We may have a couple of people that have done it previously who may want to do it again. Let us know.

03-01-2011, 11:35 AM
I loved reading the memory of this hike. It reminds me of my first 'big one'- jefferson, and how unprepared I was. Jean short shorts, a cotton wife beater tank top, and borrowed back pack and bottle of water. We had to make 3 different attempts to reach the top, which really helped gain lots of experience due to weather and conditions. I went back to Jefferson last Sept and was amazed at how easy the 1st mile was (couldn't catch my breath the 1st time) and how much more excited I was for the 'caps'.

I also remember my hike of Washington, although much more prepared and knowlegable, I had a huge amount of respect going in and expected it to be really difficult. It was, but I liked that it was split up into three different parts if you will. The hike up to Hermit Lake/ranger station, the hike up the headwall, and the summit. The hike down defeated me and I was praying for an ATV to come pick me up on the last mile back down to Pinkham.

I love looking back at what each hike has taught us and how far we've come. Great story, it's brings back great memories : )

03-02-2011, 08:01 AM
Wonderful story Karl! We've used that same route all three times we've been up the mountain (in the last 3 STPs). This is a tough hike and for the many, many people that go into it not knowing what to expect it can definitely kick their butt - very often much worse than it did for you. There's no question that you are much wiser and more prepared now and your return bout with the mountain this year will be a successful one. Glad we'll be there and get to be a part of it!

03-02-2011, 10:14 AM
Karl Great story, As I sit at my desk at work staring at huge snowbanks it makes me long for those warm days in the Whites. I climbed Washington for the first time this year via the tuckerman ravine trail the whole way to the summit. It was my 14th 4k + summit and I had thought by that point I would be prepared. I had some big hikes under my belt, Lincoln Lafayette, Isolation, Tom Field and Willey in a day. I had been up to the lunch rocks several months earlier to watch some spring sking. As I was walking past hermit lake shelter on my way up to the summit I remember thinking its less than two miles how hard could it be. as I passed the lunch rocks the main boulder everyone was sitting on in may was 4 times larger now than it was in the spring and instead of snow there was a wall of rocks that I climbed hand over foot. Traveresing the ravine scared the crap out of me I am not a fan of small ledges with sizable drops. I made my way across staying as far to the right as possible and by the time I topped the ravine I was thinking that it was gonna be easy from there. What do you know it wasnt I was cold fogy and I truged along By this time My girl friend who had been staying ahead of me the whole way to the floor of the ravine was wiped out. She would hike 30ft stop for 3mins and hike 30ft. This forced me to deviate from my plan of slow and steady with little to no stopping. It was about 2:30 by the time we hit those dreaded stairs and the temp had gone form 78 to 39 we were cold wet and my girl could not stop coughing. It was then that I made the decison to swallow my pride and buy two tickets down via the auto road shuttle. There was not enough day light to safely descend on this october sunday. Reading your story has made me think of mine and luckly I will not have to wait 13yrs to try again soon this snow will melt the grass will be green and I will try again to check washington off my peakbag list!

03-02-2011, 12:26 PM
Thanks everyone for the great feedback! I appreciate it. It's a story that I enjoy telling for a few reasons. One, I made it to the top and regardless of the tough time I had, it was an accomplishment that I will remember forever and two, each time I tell this story to my group of friends (who many of them hike) it seems to get a lot of laughs...(especially bringing a tuna sandwich on the hike...no idea what I was thinking!)

I'm very much looking forward to STP. I think I will have an easier time than 13 years ago. I've made a commitment to myself to go at my own pace. I will be in the right frame of mind this time (which is what ultimately defeated me last time), because I want to hike it and can't wait to get to the top. I'm still not sure what to expect, though, this time. Since this hike was so long ago, I don't really know how to measure it up with other hikes I've done (Flume Slide & Liberty Loop, Franconia Notch, Moosilauke, etc.). I suppose I'll see in July. I am certainly more knowledgeable and prepared as many of you have said.

Thanks for sharing your stories on here too...I love reminiscing about hikes and what we've learned on each one. Onwards and upwards everyone!


03-02-2011, 02:25 PM
to hermit lakes is a walk in the park its uphill but not to steep from there it gets steep and from the top of the ravine is also steep not flume slide steep but steep

03-04-2011, 09:18 AM
Hey some newbies here from CT. Can you all give us some training tips for a training regimen for STP? We are all good athletes, but want to start training here in CT. Thanks!

03-07-2011, 03:42 PM
Hey some newbies here from CT. Can you all give us some training tips for a training regimen for STP? We are all good athletes, but want to start training here in CT. Thanks!

Bear Mt is good for training of Mt Washington, Also I found the blue trail on Sleeping giant in Hamden to be very difficult. Its only about 600 feet, but if you can do it a few times it will get very hard. Its pretty verticle for a Connecticut Climb(obviously not actually verticle) A lot of fun in the winter when it gets icy, its a fun climb because the left side of the trail is exposed but you can stay as far right as you like.

03-08-2011, 12:33 PM
Karl- Good luck with Mt W this summer. If you do go up The Tuckerman Ravine Trail, the greatest part is that you have landmarks. It's like 3 "little" hikes in 1! The hike up to Hermit Lake Shelter is the easiest part, and will be crowded most likely. The hike up into and out of the Ravine is amazing, especially if you have a decent day and any kind of visibility. It made it so I didn't think as much about how steep or hard it was, although I definitely paid attention when needed! I think the hardest part of that was the constant flow of people, both up and down the trail. The last part, the hike up the summit cone, is a fairly short distance (under a mile I think??) but will seem to take forever! We had lost visibility by then and it was raining, so most of that was spent checking behind me for the rainbow of raincoats in my hiking party! It is a great hike no matter what, but is work. It took us 11 hours, but we had a recent ankle sprain and some inexperienced hikers from NYC with us, so our pace wasn't the fastest. And the hike back down finished us off. I would love to do it again, and will, maybe next year after I have my little one : )

03-09-2011, 11:21 AM
Thanks for taking the time to share your first ascent with us.

I am still searching for old photographs of my first climb up and over Mount Washington (part of a ten day hut traverse Lonesome to Carter) that was back in 1969.

I have not been able to find any photos of that trip, but I can assure you that I will never forget it as well as the impact it made on my life.

Thank you again.

03-11-2011, 09:43 PM

When you find those pictures, you better post them. I'm sure everyone on here would love to see them!