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Thread: Mount Washington hike this weekend

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    Default Mount Washington hike this weekend

    Hello,

    My buddies and I are hiking Mount Washington this coming weekend 12/6 and I have a few questions im hoping someone can help out with.

    We have hiked to the summit on different trails probably 15 times over the years however I havent gone this late in the year (We last went end of October 08).

    I am thinking of taking one of the trails at the Pinkam Notch entrance on the East side and was wondering which trails do people recommend from there and why? Also I see one of the trails hits the auto-road in a couple of spots and was wondering what the name of that trail might be.

    Also does the Pinkham Notch center have trail maps?

    I think we are set as far as gear goes with Compass, Snow shoes, Gators, Crampons, goggles, layers etc and one of us might bring a rope but if there is anything else you recommend for a summit hike please let me know.

    Thanks very much in advance for your help!
    Jason

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    I'd probably ditch the rope for an ice axe, but both are pretty useless if you don't know how to properly use them. Ask at Pinkham Notch, but I'd guess you won't need snowshoes....there's not enough snow. Actually, almost nobody uses snowshoes when leaving from Pinkham. Tuckerman Ravine Trail is packed and you don't need snowshoes above treeline.

    Unless you want to make your hike twice as long as it should be, don't go near the Auto Road.

    Your only real option is Lion's Head. Tuckerman Ravine is full of water ice and slowly filling with snow.

    Honestly, you're in for a big surprise. Mount Washington isn't the same now as it was in October. From your brief post I'd guess you are not prepared for a full winter ascent. Maybe shoot for a hike to the base of Tuckermans. It will be challenging and give you a small taste of Mount Washington in the winter.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Wink

    As Bill says, most people do winter climbs from Pinkham. Two main reasons: the Tuckerman fire road is usually packed down (so no snowshoes needed), and you're on the east or leeward side of the mountain. Practically speaking, your only option is the Lion's Head trail. I don't know if they've switched it from its summer route to its winter route yet (they do that early winter because of avalanche danger on the summer route), but either way, be prepared for some very steep climbing with ice axe and crampons. It will probably be icy after the precip mix we've had lately.

    The other routes on the east side are either long and arduous in winter (Boott Spur, Glen Boulder, Nelson Crag) or technical (Huntington Ravine).

    Ammonusuc Ravine and Jewell on the cog railroad side (west) are sometimes a doable approach in winter but very exposed to winds and require snowshoes (usually) and crampons (almost always). Those are only practical if the road is open to the cog.

    If you're going to give it a try, I'd definitely go up Lion's Head. See how you like that 1000 vertical feet that you climb in less than half mile after you leave the fire road. That might well be enough of a taste of Washington in winter!

    And, oh yes---the Obs forecast calls for wind chills in the minus 20 to 30 degree range Sat. a.m.! Might want to wait for better conditions.

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    Default mw

    Trail info has pretty much been covered - to answer one of your original questions - yes pinkham notch has all the maps you'll need as well as a scale model of the mountain showing trails and lots of up to date weather and wind information - best to stick with tucks to lionhead this time of year as others have said. Expect full winter conditions - don't be afraid to turn back if needed - the mountain will always be there.
    Good luck,
    Tim

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    Great information and suggestions guys I really appreciate it. I also got an ice axe as Bill suggested. Looks like Lions head it is. I'll write back after the hike.

    Thanks again
    J

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason View Post
    Great information and suggestions guys I really appreciate it. I also got an ice axe as Bill suggested. Looks like Lions head it is. I'll write back after the hike.

    Thanks again
    J
    Somebody at an outdoor store should be able to help. You might call it a mountaineering axe, opposed to the kind used to climb vertical water ice. Proper length is important.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    The hike this past Saturday was really great. We got info and a map from the Pinkham center and headed up the Tuckerman Ravine trail then Lion Head trail to the Summit. No Snowshoes needed on that route though the crampons really helped. Didnt really need the axe either though im sure its good to have just in case.

    Once we reached the summit the clouds started to roll in and the winds really picked up.

    On the way back we took the Auto-Road to the Naly Cag trail (maybe wrong name) but unfortunately we lost the trail way before it meet up with the Jackson Road trail back to Pinkham and had to back track in the dark to the Auto Road. At that point the winds were really steady probably 30-40 gusts to 50-60. It was a long hike down the auto-road and then down rt 16 to Pinkham Notch but definitely worth the blisters.

    Thanks again for all the info!
    J

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    Was Lion Head winter route open or were you still on the summer trail?

    Good choice on the Auto Road, that's a reliable and usually safe descent in an emergency. Albeit, long. Not that you guys were having an emergency.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Hmmm i think that the summer route was the one we took but not 100% sure. We started the Lion Head just before the Shelter area on the Tuckerman trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason View Post
    Hmmm i think that the summer route was the one we took but not 100% sure. We started the Lion Head just before the Shelter area on the Tuckerman trail.
    Yep, that's the summer route. Which explains why you didn't need an ice axe.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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