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Thread: Climbing Washington in Fall and winter

  1. #21
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    For anyone interested in winter hiking I would highly recommend the AMC Winter Hiking Workshop. I attended the course a few years ago and again this year as a refresher. The instruction and reference materials are excelent. Unfortunately, the course offered by the Boston Chapter for winter 2006/2007 is already completed. But you might check with other chapters (NH?). They have similar workshops at different times.
    The course I took through the Boston Chapter was very inexpensive ($35 and we met every Tuesday evening for five weeks) and very informative.

  2. #22
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    Arrow Lions Head Winter Route

    Hello people, nice thread,

    How technical is the winter route up Lions head? Is a rope belay necessary at points?
    Are snowshoes worthwhile below the treeline?

    If it is anything like the summer route than it must be pretty hairy when encrusted with ice.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by Ian; 01-01-2007 at 03:36 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian
    Hello people, nice thread,

    How technical is the winter route up Lions head? Is a rope belay necessary at points?
    Are snowshoes worthwhile below the treeline?

    If it is anything like the summer route than it must be pretty hairy when encrusted with ice.

    Thanks,
    Neither for Lion's Head. An ice axe and crampons are standard equipment on the most technical section of Lion's Head. Just one mountaineering axe will do, you don't need two short ice tools.

    You probably don't need snowshoes on that route either. The lower section is packed down daily by the forest service snow cat and everything above tree line is mixed rock and snow.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  4. #24
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    Default more questions

    Thanks to everyone for this helpful thread. I'm new to the area and have never hiked Washington -- here are two questions I had.

    1. Are ropes usually needed in winter? Somebody above recommended experience with ropes, anchors, etc. Others seem to suggest that crampons and an axe will suffice.

    2. Do most people use plastic boots, or will heavy leather goretex boots do?

    3. I'm interested in skiing down. How challenging are the routes (blackish, blueish)? In particular, how challenging is the least challenging route?

    Thanks!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yalcin
    Thanks to everyone for this helpful thread. I'm new to the area and have never hiked Washington -- here are two questions I had.

    1. Are ropes usually needed in winter? Somebody above recommended experience with ropes, anchors, etc. Others seem to suggest that crampons and an axe will suffice.

    2. Do most people use plastic boots, or will heavy leather goretex boots do?

    3. I'm interested in skiing down. How challenging are the routes (blackish, blueish)? In particular, how challenging is the least challenging route?

    Thanks!
    Others will give you better answers. But, when I see pictures like this, I watch from the bottom.

    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  6. #26
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    Plastic boots and gaiters are a must. There are people who will tell you they have done a winter ascent in leather boots but I can guarentee they wish they were in plastic. If you don't have plastic boots you can rent them at E.M.S. in N. Conway. The boot rental comes with the Crampons. For the normal route up Washington crampons and ice ax will suffice. For the Ravine Headwalls, ropes would be needed. Washington is not an extremely difficult winter ascent by its self but the weather is what makes it so difficult. The weather on Washington is extreme and you need to be prepared for it mentally and physically. As far as skiing just head up to the bowl and take a look around. The routes vary from easy to extreme and you can just ski the routes you are comfortable with. NEVER ski above your ability in Tucks!! If you are a level 3 black skier, then in the right conditions you should be able to ski peak to pink. That is the summit to pinkham. The thing with Tucks is be aware of the avalanche danger. Tucks is 100 percent backcountry skiing and back country ski knowledge is very important. Hope this answered some of your questions.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yalcin
    Thanks to everyone for this helpful thread. I'm new to the area and have never hiked Washington -- here are two questions I had.

    1. Are ropes usually needed in winter? Somebody above recommended experience with ropes, anchors, etc. Others seem to suggest that crampons and an axe will suffice.

    2. Do most people use plastic boots, or will heavy leather goretex boots do?

    3. I'm interested in skiing down. How challenging are the routes (blackish, blueish)? In particular, how challenging is the least challenging route?

    Thanks!
    1. You wont need ropes on Lion's Head, and probably not if you are climbing Tuckerman Ravine headwall. A fall is unlikely in these areas with crampons and ice axe. If you do fall you should be able to quickly self-arrest.

    Unless....these routes are pure water ice, then its a different story. You would need ropes, anchors (snow and ice), and 2 ice tools.

    2. I agree with Rex. Plastic boots are standard gear in the winter. Rental is convenient down in North Conway. In the spring you can get away with heavy duty leathers that will support crampons, but not in the winter.

    3. I would consider everything above tree line to be black. Sure, there are some easy sections, but you'd eventually have to cross over black terrain to get down. One big factor is the variable conditions. Potential for water ice, holes, slabs, etc and the possibility of long, fatal falls.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  8. #28
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    Have to disagree on the need for plastic boots. A *good* pair of boots is required but plastics are not absolutely necessary.

    I hiked three winter seasons in the Whites in Salomon SM Lites and if they still made them I'd have bought another pair. For this season I was convinced I'd need to go the plastics route but every pair I tried were horrible (for my feet at least) and I ended up with a pair of La Sportiva Nepal Evo boots. These cost as much as or more than some plastics but they do the job and in my opinion are a darn sight more comfortable.

    So no, plastics are not necessary but good boots are.

    Bob

  9. #29
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    Thumbs up

    i agree wif hikerbob!!!
    i've been climbin' washy in winter for the last 30 years an' i never even owned those plastic contraptions.

    'member the ol' leather double boots???
    GA -> ME "05"
    hi chickety!!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by post'r boy
    i agree wif hikerbob!!!
    i've been climbin' washy in winter for the last 30 years an' i never even owned those plastic contraptions.

    'member the ol' leather double boots???
    I agree, there are some nice double leather boots that will get you up Mount Washington most of the time. I just get worried that people hear leather, and think Vasque Sundowner.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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