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Thread: 1st Time Climbing Mt. Washington Part 2

  1. #11
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    so what i am looking at in that picture is what i would be actually climbing? how difficult is that? i would imagine if you pace urself and just go up carefully it wouldnt be so bad...how are the headwalls the other guy was talking about? Oakes Gulf on Dry River trail and the Great Gulf headwall ??? good for first timers?

  2. #12
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    Default camping - mount washington

    Pawtown - I'll chime in - I believe the closest legal, flat campsite where you can pitch a tent on your own is up the great gulf trail below spaulding lake. I camped there many years ago - I assume the designated legal camping areas have not changed. However, give the AMC in pinkham notch a call and they can confirm this. Keep in mind, this is a long approach and the climbing after spaulding lake steepens greatly and the trail rises 1600 feet in .8 miles - that is very, very steep. This is not a section to be hiking with a heavy bulky pack for a novice. This approach hike and the camping in the Great Gulf can be a great experience on its own without summitting, but having a solitary camping experience AND having an easy trail to the summit is not possible on Mount Washington. If summitting is your main goal, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll back up an earlier post - pitch your tent at hermit lake and hike to the summit from there. It will be more of a communal camping experience, but the hike from there to the summit is more suited to your experience level. Lastly - research on this forum and the internet in general regarding the weather conditions you may encounter here - even in the summer Mount Washington weather can be deadly. Take the proper precautions regarding clothing, etc...
    Good Luck
    Tim

  3. #13
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    The headwall in the picture posted looks like tuckerman ravine to me - this is what you would be hiking up if you stayed at hermit lake. Not an easy hike, but very doable for first timers who are fit and pace themselves. You can leave some of your heavy gear at hermit lake shelter and summit with a lighter load, just taking your storm gear and extra clothing and food.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by climbabout View Post
    Pawtown - I'll chime in - I believe the closest legal, flat campsite where you can pitch a tent on your own is up the great gulf trail below spaulding lake. I camped there many years ago - I assume the designated legal camping areas have not changed. However, give the AMC in pinkham notch a call and they can confirm this. Tim
    Great Gulf regulations are no camping allowed within 200ft of any trail except at designated campsites (of which there are several marked by tentsite symbols between the Bluff and the Sphinx Trail). No wood or charcoal fires either in GGW.Camping is prohibited within .25m of the Great Gulf Trail south of its junction with the Sphinx Trail, including Spaulding Lake and its vicinity.

    Please protect this area! I spent many years helping keep the trails clear and brushing out bootleg sites along Spaulding Lake. It takes a long time for them to recover but some areas are doing just that.
    "LIVE FREE OR DIE...DEATH IS NOT THE WORST OF ALL EVILS." Gen. John Stark. "by reason of much foule weather and Extreme Bad Woods to travel in..." From the letter of my Great Uncle, Samuel Willard (accompanied by my grandfather Henry), to Governor Dummer on August 16, 1725, explaining the reason for his return, being instructed to "range all the country", of the Wawobadenik (White Mountains) July 19-August 16, 1725. I am a 13th generation New Englander and proud of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCat View Post
    Great Gulf regulations are no camping allowed within 200ft of any trail except at designated campsites (of which there are several marked by tentsite symbols between the Bluff and the Sphinx Trail). No wood or charcoal fires either in GGW.Camping is prohibited within .25m of the Great Gulf Trail south of its junction with the Sphinx Trail, including Spaulding Lake and its vicinity.

    Please protect this area! I spent many years helping keep the trails clear and brushing out bootleg sites along Spaulding Lake. It takes a long time for them to recover but some areas are doing just that.
    These designated tentsites that fischercat speaks of are the ones I was referring to that I used several years ago.
    Tim

  6. #16
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    so it seems like everyone is saying the great gulf trail is the one i would wanna do considering camping in the woods and getting up to the summit? u said it climbs really steep at a certain point but is it do able for us? anyways i think great gulf looks like a hit. im going to talk with my friends and try to figure if maybe they wanna take a direct aprroach to climbing the mountain rather than going on this epic journey it seems like great gulf will be lol.

  7. #17
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    There is a detailed trip report about the Great Gulf Route at http://www.hikenewengland.com/Washington010623.html

    and there are many others on the 'net. Google is your friend!

    It is REALLY important to have a detailed map, as many trail crossings and intersections/junctions will be encountered.

    You should ( really, REALLY SHOULD) register at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, providing the usual details-- party size, names, ages, expected route, start time and expected out time. PNVC has the earliest morning weather summaries from the summit Obs, and there is usually someone there REALLY EARLY for advice/questions. Breakfast is early, if you want to fill up. Maps, guide-books are available, too.

    While you are planning a route UP, you also want to plan a couple of options for DOWN. Weather changes are so fast, notoriously fast, and especially when you are approaching the summit from the East. If you need to turn around, or to get down with the least hassle, its best to be prepared with a plan for that very thing. Please don't poo-poo the idea. It can save lives/injuries/being really lost. Great Gulf is NOT a good place to be lost. Honest. Its also a tough place for search teams.

    Cell phone coverage out of the Great Gulf Wilderness is NOT something you can count on. Its a dead zone, because there is NO line of sight until you are practically UP TOP.

    It probably isnt the recommended "first", pretty much because you won't have help if you get stuck or something unexpected screws things up. If you do decide that you'd choose to camp at Hermit Lake and take the Tucks/Lions Head route, call AMC soon to reserve a tent site.

    good planning and good hiking to you!

    Breeze
    Last edited by Breeze; 06-04-2009 at 03:26 PM. Reason: url edit for clarity

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    would u say that great gulf trail is less steep then others but is much longer? cuz thats the idea im getting...does anyone have any pictures of the great gulf's headwall? 22 miles long is the trail distance im getting thats a troop

  9. #19
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    I do not know your conditioning or experience. But, everything I have seen or heard over the years says for a first time on Mt Washington and wanting to overnight camp - camp at Hermit Lake shelters - leave your heavy stuff there - go up to the summit either on the Headwall or Lion Head trail. Then you have either trail to come down to get your gear - then back down to PNVC.

    Other options folks are mentioning are a lot longer and way less traveled. If you need help or advice, there might not be any on those other routes. The headwalls are all steep. Lion Head is steep. But, with the right pace and conditioning they are certainly doable - especially if you are starting 2 hours in at Hermit Lake. That makes summit day a lot easier.

    Length of hike in 2 days (22 miles is a lot with this kind of elevation gain) - amount of time exposed above treeline (up and down) - and weather conditions - all play a part in the decision of which trail(s) to take - and whether you summit or not. You do not want to be above treeline if a storm comes through. On any trail on the east side you will not have good visibility to approaching storms. They will be on the other side of the ridge. You need to check the weather forecast details and play on the conservative side. You might hit perfect weather conditions and luck out. Or you could get caught in snow above treeline - any month of the year. Folks here will always say to be careful.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  10. #20
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    I would just move past the desire to "free" camp on Mount Washington. Yes, there are legal areas on the west side of the mountain but there is no flat ground or clearings.

    The Great Gulf is a much longer hike, but very steep at the end. But there are good campsites in there and it is a lightly traveled area.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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