View Full Version : First time climbing MW

05-14-2012, 08:46 AM
Hi everyone! I am looking to plan a trip from North Jersey to come hike Mount Washington! At home I am surrounded by the AT so getting out and hiking to prepare myself hasn't been an issue. I have been watching the forecast at the top and I know it's ever changing but it seems to be getting warmer. I am looking to hike mid June or early July. What do you guys think condition wise what to expect. We are also looking to do about 10 miles, 5 up 5 back, what do you suggest is a good trail route with some technical spots and nice views. We plan to hike up, camp, then return back down the next day. Any tips I would really appreciate.

05-30-2012, 05:39 PM
During July 1967/1968 hikes, Tuckerman's Ravine still had some snow left! Once above treeline it was probably 40 degrees and very windy, so dress accordingly. I have read that the Tuckerman's Ravine Trail is very crowded, which is a real turnoff. You might think about leaving Pinkham's Notch Camp up Tuckerman's Ravine Trail, then take the Lion's Head Trail, which may be less crowded, but with great views. From the Cog Railway side, I would probably take the less-crowded Ammonusuc-Jewell Loop Trail:


You would also get a chance to stop at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, before ascending the Mt. Washington cone.

06-06-2012, 08:53 AM
Hey thanks a lot Gregory, Im glad someone responded! Yeah tuckermans seems a little to busy to enjoy the hike. But the trails you mentioned sound like fun. Hopefully I will be up there the third week in July. Thanks again for the tips! Cheers

Snow Miser
06-06-2012, 11:15 AM
If you are up there on July 20th and 21st (3rd weekend in July), you might consider participating in the Observatory's annual Seek the Peak Hike-A-Thon (http://www.seekthepeak.org/). It's a great event, and there will be plenty of experienced hikers on the trails to answer any questions you may have.

As for camping, the places where you can camp are limited. Others on these boards know much more about where you can and cannot camp than I do, so hopefully they will chime in.

Either way, have a great hike. And make sure you are prepared for any type of weather and situation. It's a beautiful mountain, but it can be very dangerous at the same time.

06-06-2012, 02:45 PM
Hi there...been up and down MW a few times in July as we always seem to vacation in NH for the 4th. Anyhoo, we've climbed up thru Tuck's and down Lion Head, with the descending always being hard on the knees, (bring your poles!) May want to consider staying in Lakes hut, (1000') down from summit and then descending via Boot spur or Glen Boulder Trail to Pinkham. as far as weather, afternoon thundershowers are common when there is heating present. Don't wanna get caught on the exposed sections if you can help it. My 19 year old, who knows everything, finally got to see one roll in , upslope last July and it was impressive...we were already at Lakes for that show! If you wanna camp, your going to have to descend below tree line and then there still are lots of rules..refer to WMNF rules. I don't think you need to be concerned about crowding on Tucks, its not as bad as people make it out to be. Try to go on a weekday and get to the trailhead early(5am??) You have to do Tucks at least once, and hopefully there still will be snow!

06-06-2012, 02:52 PM
The only time camping is allowed above treeline is winter, and even then there are guidelines.

Here is an encapsulated review of camping guidelines, follow the links for more info:


06-06-2012, 07:27 PM
Welcome Habskater11!

I recently posted in a thread about the various ways we and others forecast sites produce our numbers and what is the best method to start looking at what the weather might be like leading up to your hike. It can be seen here: http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?7373-forecast-for-the-higher-summits&p=50395&highlight=#post50395.

As far as camping, the AMC (http://www.outdoors.org/) and RMC (http://www.randolphmountainclub.org/) offer some huts and tent sites, but, as FisherCat mentioned, camping above tree line is very difficult and can result in ticketing, especially this time of year since there are “ridge runners” looking for you. So, your best bet is to reserve or aim early for the AMC or RMC sites and huts. But, if you don’t have the funds or desire to stay at these locations, the summit can be done easily in a day for most (not ALL) individuals. So, you could hike up and down and camp in one of the great campgrounds that surround the summit.

As far as trails go, the common one that fits your requirements is the eastern side trails of either Tuckerman Ravine or Lions Head Trails. Another pair of trails that are a bit longer (but not by much) are the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Jewell Trail. My favorite of these two sets would be up the “Ammie” and down the Jewell as it tends to be a bit easier on the knees and far less crowded. But, you can check out this site: http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/washington.html or look at the White Mountain Guide (a local hiker “bible” of sorts) either online: http://www.outdoors.org/publications/books/wmg/white-mtn-guide-online.cfm or by visiting your local library or bookstore for more information. I rely on mine heavily. On the day of your hike or the day before, you should also stop by either the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor center or the AMC Highland Center. Both are great sources of information.

Lastly, start early and know when to turn around. While it may look like a little mountain, it’s height is deceiving and the weather can quickly turn on you. And always keep in mind that it is far better and safer to hike down than continue up. The mountain will always be here if you don’t make it up on the day you are seeking it.

Good luck and if anything further, ask away!

06-06-2012, 09:21 PM
Ryan mentions some great campgrounds around the Valley and he is correct. There is always Dolly Copp on Rt 16 and Moose Brook State Park (although they have had some recent toilet issues in years, not sure if been resolved) off of Route 2, via Jimtown Rd in Gorham.

06-16-2012, 10:35 AM
Hey thanks everyone for the tips they are all spot on. I would love to be up there this weekend but am currently on the road for work but I am at the grand canyon on my way home. I will be up there in the weeks to come. Again thanks for the tips everyone. Can't wait to be on the other end and helping people plan their trip. Cheers

06-16-2012, 08:06 PM
As others have implied; said ; and linked " camping" overnight on Mt Washington is not going to be in your plans. You can't.

What that means, is, if you want to spend the night up top, before descending the next day, you'll have to make a reservation at Lake of the Clouds AMC hut. LOTC hut is easily accessible whether your hike goes from the eastern aspect ( via Pinkham/ Tuckerman/Lions Head/Boote Spur) or the western aspect ( Ammonoosuc/ Gulfside/ Jewell ).

Personally, I think that in the SHORT summer window of hiking Mt Washington, you do buy some weather/trip/safety insurance by hiking the western aspect. UP Ammo gives you some challenging terrain, good views to the west to see if storms are approaching, trail leads you right to Lakes Hut if you need shelter from a T-storm. From that hut to the summit is your most exposure to open summit weather, and you can gauge your weather window. Gulfside trail from the summit to Jewell is a pedestrian highway and you get back below treeline quickly on Jewell. All to the good.

Jewell is the easiest descent. Again, you are looking to the west and able to see any storm/squall lines approaching from the west. Once you get below treeline, your shelter options open.

Going up the eastern aspect is a time- honored tradition, "Everyone wants to do Tuckerman's." The issue there is that you are essentially traveling uphill blind to what weather you will find ( OR WHAT WEATHER WILL FIND YOU) once you leave treeline above the lip of the ravine and attack the summit cone because the prevailing summer weather pattern is coming over the summit cone from the west, you can't see it until you eat it, or it eats you.

You do have to make a decision. You have to leave your car and get back to your car. It is 55 scenic but unpopulated road miles between Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on RT 16 and the Marshfield Station Road/ Cog Railway parking in Bretton Woods, thumbing that either way is marginal. to extremely lucky.

Don't depend on the Cog Railway or the Auto Road Hiker Shuttle or the AMC " Round the Mountains" Shuttle to get you out of a bad situation. Those choices are all last gasp-- space available--weather permitting-- schedule dependent.

Taxi service from Pinkham Notch to Bretton Woods ( or in reverse) is running at about 125 USD, which is a big $$$ hit if you are traveling alone, less of a hit if you can share with others. Not recommended in my estimation.

Ammo UP/ Jewell Down in July.


06-21-2012, 02:26 PM
Again thanks a lot everyone hiking it in one day and hanging out at the bottom sounds like what I will be doing. Now its just about picking the date. Ammo up Jewell down sounds like it might be the route. I'm going to look at the trail map but it sounds like it is going to be fun.

06-21-2012, 08:24 PM
Ammo up/Jewell down is my favorite route, and the one we just took!

Hope you have an excellent hike, let us know how it goes :)

06-22-2012, 08:26 AM
Thats awesome! man now i really need to get up there!!