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Thread: New to Mount Washington and seeking advice

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    Default New to Mount Washington and seeking advice

    Hello fellow climbers

    I am eighteen years old and am falling in love with mountaineering and am looking at climbing Mount Washington sometime before April. I am in decent shape and hike alot but have never been above treeline or in such cold weather. What are some good routes that will challenge me and allow me to use my crampons and ice axe? Can you summit and descend in the same day and if so what would be a general time schedule to follow? What other things do i need to do before planning out my trip? By the way I am planning on climbing with a partner.

    Thank you any help is greatly appreciated.

    Rich

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    I recommend the Tuckerman Ravine trail, that way you can have an alternate activity planned in the event that the weather turns bad or you turn back for fatigue or any other reason. It also shields you from the predominant wind for the majority of the hike. Check the forecast just before you go, at this site and at least one other. If you choose to hike a ravine, check the avalanche forecast too. Try to pick a day that's clear and not too cold, with low avalanche danger. Start early, bring plenty of food and water, and don't be shy about turning back. I'm sure most of us have stories of turning back or wishing we had.

    I can't advise on technical climbing, but I'm sure someone else can.

    Important weather links:
    http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/

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    Default Randolph side good to cut your winter teeth on

    April can be a wild time above tree on the rock pile. You might want to try the randolph side to gain experience with crampons and ice ax before attempting Washington. Madison, jefferson, Adams are all great mountains to learn on. Many people learn on these mountains before taking what they have learned and using it on Washington. It is also extremely important that you have knowledge in avalanche danger also. The randolph side also has a winter cabin you can stay in overnight to make the trip alittle easier.

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    Default Mount Washington in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Richwang2112
    Hello fellow climbers

    I am eighteen years old and am falling in love with mountaineering and am looking at climbing Mount Washington sometime before April. I am in decent shape and hike alot but have never been above treeline or in such cold weather. What are some good routes that will challenge me and allow me to use my crampons and ice axe? Can you summit and descend in the same day and if so what would be a general time schedule to follow? What other things do i need to do before planning out my trip? By the way I am planning on climbing with a partner.

    Thank you any help is greatly appreciated.

    Rich
    Rich - Mount Washington can be a brutal environment in the winter and is not a good place for a first winter hike unless you either go with a very experienced partner or as part of a guided group. EMS and IMCS among others offer excellent 1 day mountaineering trips up Mount Washington - it's money well spent - that will give you invaluable skills.

    Rockin Rex offers some excellent advice regarding other peaks on which to hone your skills. There are many cold weather skills to learn before donning crampons and ice ax. Also here's an excellent thread with tons of useful information:
    http://www.mountwashington.org/forum...read.php?t=228

    Regarding your original questions - the Lion Head route is your best bet in the winter. It's the shortest and safest(relatively speaking). This time of year you would be using the Lion Head winter route - marked by orange signs off of the Tuckerman Ravine trail - here's a link to conditions
    http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/avalanche/

    It's a steep challenging route and is somewhat less avalanche prone as it follows a prominent spine up to treeline. When reaching treeline you'll get a good blast if the weather is bad and you can easily retreat. Remember if conditions are bad when you reach treeline, they will worsen(considerably) as you ascend.

    You can easily climb round trip in the same day if you are fit. Time schedules are difficult to state - it all depends on your fitness, experience level and conditions. Fit guides who do this for a living can do it in a few hours, while for us mere mortals, 5-8 hours is probably more accurate. Ideally you want to be at the bottom of the lionhead winter route before dark. So the earlier you start, the better.

    Good luck.
    Tim
    Last edited by climbabout; 01-22-2008 at 09:18 AM.

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    Thanks for the help guys

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    Do you own the book: Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills?

    That's pretty much the bible. I agree that it is a good idea hike with some experienced people at first. But much can be learned from reading that book and practicing those techniques. That doesn't mean practicing them on Mount Washington, above treeline, in the winter. But there are safer places to go and practice.

    Learning to use your crampons and ice axe are very important. My number one tip is to never glissade with your crampons on.

    If Mount Washington intimidates you, and it should, you can learn a lot climbing on many of the 4,000 footers that just poke above treeline.

    Not sure what else to say. This kind of stuff can fill a large book. Best to ask specific questions.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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