The fine people here have given you advice, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. The Great Gulf headwall is as hard as Huntington Ravine. Period. Some may quibble over this, but for a beginner it's all the same. Rugged and STEEP!!!!!
Originally Posted by Pawtown
1600' in 0.8 mi is STEEP!!! A good benchmark for an uphill workout is 1000'/mile. This will get your lungs and legs working. You will need more than just "woodsman training" if you're going to haul a heavy pack up 1000'/mi. You need to be physically fit.
Now, the Great Gulf headwall is almost double that, so we're talking a serious climb. No ropes, minimal chance of falling, just unrelentingly steep. I've done it with a full pack and can say for certain it is not for a beginner hiker with a full pack. Maybe a daypack, but still there are better trail choices on this mountain. The area is isolated, and if you run into bad weather half way up the slope there is only one way down - back the way you came. Further, once you crest the headwall you will be above treeline and in a very exposed place, with the summit being your closest refuge if you can even get there. There is no quick way to safety on this trail, and no easy way to get help if you need it. A quick storm can make the Peabody River lower down impassible, blocking off your "easy" exit. Then, if memory serves, the only choice is Madison Gulf trail to Old Jackson Road, which is a long walk to the safety of Pinkham Notch. I've done it.
If you've already done the trip and were successful - Congratulations. Show us some pics.
But I have a feeling you need a few hikes under your belt before attempting this one. I've climbed Washington almost a dozen times, from all sides, and this was the toughest by far.