President's Day Weekend Summit Hike Report 2/17-18/07
We were up on Lion's Head Saturday, guides by IME (Maury and Dan). I would definitely recommend them for experience, gear rental, and attitude. Tops in all categories.
Snow pack was heavy, chest drifts in some places. It was slow going breaking trail, but by the time we got up just below tree line to get some water and fuel, a steady line of what looked like hundreds of climbers came out behind us. So many that they surely had no idea we were breaking trail, people were getting impatient.
2 in our group of 5 summited. Conditions were favorable, but still exhausting. What a mountain!
President's Day Holiday Weekend Summit Hike Report
I was truly surprised to find the trails covered with light fluffy Colorado type snow, not that heavy high moisture type one would expect. It was crotch deep in some parts too, I send kudos out to the guide who was the first one through it Sat morning and blazed the route for the rest of us.
Had a late start on Sat (left Pinkham's at 11:20am), didn't have enough time to successfully reach the summit and safely descend while still in daylight (climbed up past Lionhead for a great view down into Tuck's ravine though). I'm not sure of the exact visibility figures, but the skies were completely clear with amazing views of the entire surrounding area.
Woke up earlier Sun (left Pinkham’s at 8:10am) and this time did make the summit (woohoo! :D ). Considering that I had just climbed 3000 feet the day before, there were times that I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Ascending the snow slope just below the summit boulder field a fellow climber commented "I'm going to be totally sore tomorrow whether I make the summit or not, so I might as well summit". I chuckled because these words rang so true.
Wind speed on the summit was an astonishingly low 20mph, but snow was coming down pretty good with visibility nowhere near as that of the previous day. Stood next to the 6288 ft. sign for the compulsory photo with ice axe in hand (next time I'm going to pose with my avalanche shovel instead--just to be different and to make a mockery of this whole macho ice axe posing thing). Seen three observatory employee's dressed in red jackets come out of one of the buildings and they began doing an Obcast recording. I thought it would be kind of cool to stand back and watch it live, but the narrator kept screwing up and kept on having to do retakes. I figured I was making him nervous (and that was without me making silly faces or gestures) so I just left to let them to do their thing in peace.
Judging by the traffic on the upper trails I'd say 100+ summited on Sat and maybe 70 or so on Sun. Quite a few large groups, lead by EMS and the like, were present. These groups were generally accommodating to those traveling in triplets and pairs as they graciously stepped aside to let these smaller, faster moving teams pass. All in all, everyone was very cordial and friendly and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Seen several climbers using wooden-shafted, antique ice axes and although retro and cool I'm not sure I'd want to be staking my life on them. Found an inordinate number of climbers choosing to fasten their crampons outside their packs, walking around like porcupines, seemingly oblivious to any potential hazard this practice creates (crampon bags are available at the visitor's center for only $22). Also saw a lot of glissading down the narrow lionhead trail. This practice, while fun, clears the footsteps from the snow and subsequent climbers have to ascend/descend the slick "butt-shaped" chutes left behind. If you are one of these reckless porcupines or glissaders, I disapprovingly shake my head.
Overall, the hike was pleasant and enjoyable. Had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people. Had a great workout and burned thousands of calories (now I can eat like a pig for the next few days). What better way to celebrate President Washington’s birthday, than a climb up Mt. Washington.
what's the rush - relax and enjoy
Not like the day I climbed, saw only 2 other hikers. Holiday weekend on the rock pile, in the winter and with fresh snow and nice weather brings out the groups. Don't know what the hurry is. When I climb Washington I never want to leave!! Those who were upset about the log jam on Lions head need to remember there are other routes up that are walk up routes ( non-technical) Boot Spur is nice, Nelson Crag is nice, and my favorite with a group the Ammonoosic Jewell loop. With a nice powder covering the ice on the ammo would make for a sweet trail to climb. The one down side to Washington, crowds. If you know when to go and where to go you can find yourself all by yourself if that is what you are looking for. Just remember " ALWAYS put safety first!!!!!!!"