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Thread: winter hike advice

  1. #1
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    Cool winter hike advice

    hi. looking to hike mount washington next weekend (12/22-23). Never been on this mountain and would like some advice on routes, etc.

    my partner and i are both strong hikers w winter experience. primary concern is avalanche, as that appears to be the biggest danger after weather. which routes are safest? we're looking to overnight.

    what the deal w huts? can we camp?
    what kind of temps to expect at night?
    crampons or snowshoes?
    any other advice?

    thanks.

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    Exclamation Be cautious

    This is a harsh time of year anywhere in the White Mountains, but especially on Mt Washington. Make sure you're prepared with plenty of food, water, and extra warm gear. Also be prepared to turn back if the weather turns bad or visibility drops. Check several forecasts the morning of your hike to know what to expect. If the wind is going to be higher than 40 MPH or so, it would be wise not to head above treeline.

    The AMC huts in the Presidential range are all closed this time of year. The only accomodations I know of are in the bowl of Tuckerman ravine, but I haven't been there myself.

    I think you need to take crampons and snow shoes, but you can check with the AMC on trail conditions.

    Don't take any unnecessary risks, and always use your best judgment.

    Good luck!

    Current conditions: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php
    Summits forecast: http://www.mountwashington.org/weath...t_forecast.php
    AMC trails to huts conditions: http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/t...ry-weather.cfm
    Avalanche bulletin: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/avalanche/

  3. #3
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    Default

    The standard route is Lion's Head Winter Route. It avoids most, but not all avalanche risk. After witnessing multiple slides with skiers last April I will always travel with a beacon on MWN in snow season.

    Best place to camp would be Hermit Lake shelters. You can stay in a lean-to or use your tent. Above treeline you can camp as long as you are on 2+ feet of snow and NOT within the Mount Washington State Park that encircles the summit.

    Check trail conditions from the AMC, but in general you would leave the snowshoes behind. Tuckerman Ravine trail is often well-packed and everything else is either wind scoured or too steep for snowshoes. Crampons and ice-ax are essential.

    As Mike noted this is a tough time of year to climb. Short days and poor snow coverage are my biggest concern along with the changeable weather.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Default Mt Washington hike

    Mike D's post has links to all the critical info you need for conditions, etc. The only thing I can add is a link to a thread from last season with lots more useful advice.
    Good luck.
    Tim
    http://www.mountwashington.org/forum...read.php?t=228

  5. #5
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    Default Camping

    "Above treeline you can camp as long as you are on 2+ feet of snow and NOT within the Mount Washington State Park that encircles the summit."

    This statement is not true. See camping rules for Forest Protection Areas:

    "(1) No camping is permitted above treeline (where trees are less than
    8 ft. tall), except in winter, and then only in places where there is at least
    2 ft. of snow cover on the ground—but not on any frozen body of water,
    and not on the east face of Mt. Washington's summit cone from Boott
    Spur to Nelson Crag (the area above Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines,
    including the Alpine Garden area). The point where the above-treeline
    restricted area begins is marked on most trails with small signs, but the
    absence of such signs should not be construed as proof of the legality of
    a site."

    If you were to be climbing Lion Head you would be on the east face of MW and the area described in the rules would be where you would be apt to try to camp above tree line. Most of this area is not within the State Park.

    The first part of the statement: "Best place to camp would be Hermit Lake shelters." is your best advice.

    My other advice would be, climb the mountain next summer. Test you endurance and abilities. Learn the trails and escape routes. Get extensive above treeline winter experience on the lower summits, such as Pierce and Eisenhower. Thgen go for it next winter.

    I'm sure others will argue that it's no big deal, but in my honest opinion, your first time on Washington should not be a winter attempt.

    KDT
    Last edited by KD Talbot; 12-15-2007 at 08:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KD Talbot

    My other advice would be, climb the mountain next summer. Test you endurance and abilities. Learn the trails and escape routes. Get extensive above treeline winter experience on the lower summits, such as Pierce and Eisenhower. Thgen go for it next winter.
    He indicated he was an experienced winter hiker. Not sure exactly what that means, but I'll take it for what its worth.

    For all we know he's climbed Denali or Everest. Mountains you don't get to "test" out in summer.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Default Winter experience

    Or, maybe he's just a troll looking to stir up a lot of disagreement on this forum.

    One thing's for certain, without more information about what he's hiked in winter, it's hard to determine exactly what to tell him. Maybe his extensive winter hiking is on his golf course in southern Florida.

    So how about it Werfel? What mountains have you climbed in winter, and what experience do you have above tree line at or above 4500 feet?

    Answers to questions like these would make answering your questions a whole lot easier.

    KDT

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    Quote Originally Posted by KD Talbot
    Maybe his extensive winter hiking is on his golf course in southern Florida.

    KDT
    Well, then he would have lots of experience with sand shoes, not snow shoes!
    Steve
    Is there really any BAD weather???

  9. #9
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    We are looking to head up into Tuckermans on Wednesday - Dec 26th. Any reports on the condition of the trail? Is it very icy or hard packed?
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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    Default

    So has anyone been up Lions Head trail in the last week or so? Conditions?

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