If you want an easy (and still very scenic!) descent, go back down the Ammonoosuc.
And I'll repeat what the others have said. Turn back if the weather turns sour. I guarantee you'll regret it if you don't.
Having only been up and down Washington once I feel much less qualified to reply than most of the folks here, but here's my opinion anyway. Our one trip was up Lion's Head and down Tuckermans. I found this route very doable and didn't have an issue with the descent on Tucks. I was glad that we did it in this direction since I felt that going down Lion's Head would have been tougher (but not terrible). The key here is probably the weather. Either of these in wet (or worse icy) conditions would make the steep rocky descent quite a challenge. I'll leave it to the more experienced to comment on how that would compare with Ammo/Jewel or the other options
Keep close to Nature's heart...
and break clear away, once in awhile,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir
Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page
The west side of the mountain is quite different. Going up Ammo is not as steep as either Lions Head or Tuckermans. Roughly at 2 miles on the Tuckerman trail and you are at HoJo's. On the Ammo at 2 miles you are above treeline and at Lakes of the Clouds.
Finding any trail above treeline is hard till you know where to start. The directions of - go to NW corner of Tip Top house and look NW - is excellent to start heading to the Jewell. That works as there is a cairn easily within sight. The trail then goes to the NW to cross the cog tracks.
Going down is - going down. This puts a lot of pressure on your knees and hips. If you step with a stop each step, you will get sore quickly. Your body takes quite a beating. If you think of going down an escalator - your upper body flows down and your feet float from rock to rock without stopping at each step - this is a smoother and easier way of going down. You still need to be in shape to do this.
Either route is doable for someone is good shape.
Correction: 2.4 miles, 1850' elevation gain to Hermit Lake Shelter (Hojo's). Then 1.8 Miles and 2450' elevation gain to summit. Totals 4.2 miles and 4250' elevation gain.Going up Ammo is not as steep as either Lions Head or Tuckermans. Roughly at 2 miles on the Tuckerman trail and you are at HoJo's. On the Ammo at 2 miles you are above treeline and at Lakes of the Clouds.
2.1 miles, 950' elevation gain to Gem Pool, then the climb begins. From there 1 mile and 1550' elevation gain to Lakes of the Clouds. 1.4 miles and 1300' elevation gain to summit on Crawford Path. Totals: 4.5 miles and 3800' elevation gain.
Ammo/Crawford is 3/10ths longer and 450' less elevation gain.
Source: White Mountain Guide, (Hiker's Bible, don't plan a trip without one.)
I have had people stop me as I go by them and ask what I am doing. It does look different and I can move right along. Well, I used to before I got old. But, that is a different story. When they try it they go a lot faster and it is easier.