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Thread: A few questions on winter hiking.

  1. #11
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    If I were you, wait until March. You can go it alone, but you will have plenty if company.
    Sign the register at the AMC store at Joe Dodge lodge. Then sign again at HoJo’s at Hermit Lake. Now people close by, know you are up there. They also have up to the minute weather reports and advice as to whether it’s safe to go. Bring a pair of walkie talkies and leave one at HoJo’s.
    You will find skiers on Hillmans Highway, in the Bowl and up on the upper snowfields. Hillmans is a good way to ascend. From the top of the Bowl follow the rock piles past Lake in the Clouds.
    For gear, dress in breathable layers. You’ll be pealing them off as you go and you don’t want any of them soaked in sweat. I’m not a big fan of a heavy coat. Polarfleece layers and Gortex outers are the way to go. Extra sox and T-shirt are a must. I strongly suggest a survival fanny pack; Solar blankets, trash bags, tin cup, long burning short candles, lighter, first aid, tea, hot chocolat, energy bars, LED flashlight and compass. Add to it, as you feel fit. Don’t forget water. As far as snow shoes, the small ones with ice cleats built in should do fine.
    You can always stay at Joe Dodge if you miss transportation back. Dinner and breakfast are included. It’s a hike you’ll always feel proud of and the memory of the stark white vastness won’t go away. Excellent adventures don’t come any better. Hike safe
    Joe Dodge,Crystal falls,HoJo's,Tuckermans,Headwall,
    Rockpile,6288.

  2. #12
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    You won't need snowshoes on this hike. But you will need crampons and an ice axe. As for trails you'll want to take the Lion's Head winter route. Its the safest, most direct route to the summit in winter.

    Also, leave your sweaters at home. Gore-Tex, down, fleece and long underwear is what you need.

    Honestly, I've never heard of leaving a two-way radio at Hermit Lake. That's not something people generally do. In fact, if you are taking he normal winter route you wont come close to Hermit Lake Shelter. The cut off for Lion's Head is a significant distance down the trail. Going to Hermit Lake is way out of the way in the winter.

    Have you considered renting a car? I know its not as cheap as a bus but the convenience factor is infinitely greater than a bus. The rural areas of New England aren't exactly known for excellent public transportation.

    Sorry to be so blunt but reality is what it is, and you're not going on a tour of a Tootsie Roll factory. This is the real deal.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  3. #13
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    Default washington in winter

    Ditto Bill O's advice regarding the Lion Head winter route. This route was cut in years ago to roughly follow a spine of the mountain from partway up the tuckerman ravine trail to a rock outcropping known as lion head. Since it largely follows the height of land it is the safest route from an avalanche standpoint. Other routes in tuckermans can be safe, but it largely depends on the recent weather and snow and wind activity, most routes in Huntington ravine are highly technical. Nelson Crag is above treeline for quite a distance and it is quite a bit longer than the lion head route - I descended it years ago in the summer and I recall thinking at the time it would make a poor route in the winter. Long, exposed, lots of big boulders - it would probably very unpleasant in the snow.
    For clothing here's a great resource:

    http://emsclimb.com/equipment_lists/...washington.htm

    This is a physically demanding climb - often the biggest challenge down low is not overheating and sweating - you'll be surprised how little clothing you need when actually climbing.
    Good Luck
    Tim

  4. #14
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    I agree with you both, Bill and Tim. I felt though, as he is young and going it alone, the Tuckerman’s route would be more populated all the way through the upper snowfields. Also, being a skier, I selfishly chose that route. I’ve enjoyed it a few times. The ride down can’t be beat.
    I must say though, I’ve never done it alone. It would be prudent and easy to find someone at Joe Dodge to go with.
    Joe Dodge,Crystal falls,HoJo's,Tuckermans,Headwall,
    Rockpile,6288.

  5. #15
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    Haha, I've heard about people doing that - skiing down Tuckerman's. I tip my hat to you, sir. Seems like borderline suicide to me, but whatever floats yer boat.

    Speaking of which, how much traffic is there usually that time of year?

    And now that you mention it, Lion's Head would probably be better - I came down it a month or two ago because my dad didn't want to try to descend on the Huntington Ravine trial and I remember it being quite a bit tamer.


    Have you considered renting a car? I know its not as cheap as a bus but the convenience factor is infinitely greater than a bus. The rural areas of New England aren't exactly known for excellent public transportation.

    As a matter of fact, I have considered that. I was looking for bus routes first, but there seems to be precious little that heads up that way. I found a Greyhound route, but it takes twelve hours to get from Rochester to Pinkham Notch. I could bike it in half that time.

    So that's probably what I'll do. Like you say, the convenience factor is far greater then a bus. With my luck, I'd probably arrive at the parking lot just in time to see the bus leaving.

    Also, what's Joe Dodge? I read about him in that book I mentioned earlier - is the base house at Pinkham Notch called that?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricJ
    I agree with you both, Bill and Tim. I felt though, as he is young and going it alone, the Tuckerman’s route would be more populated all the way through the upper snowfields. Also, being a skier, I selfishly chose that route. I’ve enjoyed it a few times. The ride down can’t be beat.
    I must say though, I’ve never done it alone. It would be prudent and easy to find someone at Joe Dodge to go with.
    I guess Tuck's is an option later in the season, but avalanches are always a possibility. Lion's Head pretty much takes that threat out of the equation. You may be able to stomp down Tuck's on a warm spring day, but if it doesn't soften up I would not want to walk down.

    To the original poster. Not only do you need crampons and ice axe, you actually need to know how to use them. Seems silly, but crampons actually have a learning curve, it takes times to get used to them.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  7. #17
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    Acrophobe..

    Look at these sites for some important stuff.... what you need to mountaineer above treeline.

    http://www.winterschool.org/WMS%20St...20Handbook.pdf

    http://www.chauvinguides.com/eguip.htm

    When you ask < what is Joe Dodge Lodge, and if there will be hot coffee at summit of Mt Washington in November>, you give yourself away as needing to do some more research into what you are contemplating.

    Please take some more time to think about tackling the Northern Presi's in winter.

    Breeze

  8. #18
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    Default Research

    I'm sorry for the repitition, but I just saw this thread and thought these highlights were worth repeating:

    Acrophobe:: You're probably right - it doesn't really make sense to try to biggest and baddest-tempered mountain in the area without a little experience on smaller climbs first.

    Climbabout: As a novice winter hiker I would strongly discourage a solo winter attempt.

    Eric J: For gear, dress in breathable layers. You’ll be peeling them off as you go and you don’t want any of them soaked in sweat. I’m not a big fan of a heavy coat. Polarfleece layers and Gortex outers are the way to go. Extra sox and T-shirt are a must. I strongly suggest a survival fanny pack; Solar blankets, trash bags, tin cup, long burning short candles, lighter, first aid, tea, hot chocolat, energy bars, LED flashlight and compass. Add to it, as you feel fit. Don’t forget water.

    Bill O: You won't need snowshoes on this hike. But you will need crampons and an ice axe. As for trails you'll want to take the Lion's Head winter route. Its the safest, most direct route to the summit in winter.

    Also, leave your sweaters at home. Gore-Tex, down, fleece and long underwear is what you need. (polypro long underwear)

    Climbabout: Nelson Crag is above treeline for quite a distance and it is quite a bit longer than the lion head route - I descended it years ago in the summer and I recall thinking at the time it would make a poor route in the winter. Long, exposed, lots of big boulders - it would probably very unpleasant in the snow.

    Acrophobe: And now that you mention it, Lion's Head would probably be better - I came down it a month or two ago because my dad didn't want to try to descend on the Huntington Ravine trial and I remember it being quite a bit tamer.

    Me: For future reference, Huntington Ravine should never be considered for the descent in any conditions.

    Breeze: When you ask < what is Joe Dodge Lodge, and if there will be hot coffee at summit of Mt Washington in November>, you give yourself away as needing to do some more research into what you are contemplating.

    Please take some more time to think about tackling the Northern Presi's in winter.


    Check here for more:

    http://www.mountwashington.org/educa.../equipment.php

    and here:

    http://www.mountwashington.org/about/visitor/winter.php

    and here:

    http://www.mountwashington.org/about.../surviving.php

    KDT

  9. #19
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    Well, after thinking about it, and listening to a lot of the advice posted here, I think I'll forego the Washington ascent this winter and instead try Chocorua via Piper trail and maybe Carrigain instead. No need to add to an already long list of incidents because of inexperience. Perhaps next year when I've got a few winter climbs under my belt...

    Anyways, thank you all for your patience and advice. I know rank amatuers like me must be kinda annoying.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acrophobe
    Well, after thinking about it, and listening to a lot of the advice posted here, I think I'll forego the Washington ascent this winter...
    Reaching the summit shouldn't be thought of as the be all and end all of an ascent. Why not just go up from Pinkhams and end at the Hermit Lake shelters as was previously mentioned? Or do some of the other trails below treeline? This should keep you out of trouble until you have the experience/equipment to venture up further. In addition to getting a bit of a feel for wintertime hiking, you will also get the chance to meet other hikers--many of whom will graciously offer you valuable face to face advice to further assist you in advancing your climbing skills.

    Let us know how everything works out and keep us up to date with a trip report.

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