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Thread: First time to Mount Washington

  1. #11
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    I'm going for my first trip on July 31. We have a group of guys from my church. We are taking a short hike on Friday, then a long round trip hike to the summit and back on Saturday. I think that we are taking Tuckerman's ravine. This is my first time ever hiking a mountain. I think that I am physically fit enough to make it and smart enough to turn around if I'm not. What sort of advice would you all give a first timer?

  2. #12
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    Ideally one would go on several hikes of increasing difficulty before attempting a climb like Washington, but.....

    Many, many folks successfully climb to the summit and return safely every year with no previous hiking experience. Some with questionable gear, footwear, water supplies, and overall judgment.

    The weather will be your biggest factor and conditions at the summit can be vastly different than those at the base or even 1/2 way up, and it can change in literally minutes. What could be a comfortable hike in the low 60s can become a shivering slog in the high 30s with 60mph winds and rain. This happens with regularity, so plan for it. At a minimum bring along the following (I assume you'll start in shorts and a t-shirt:
    Windbreaker and wind pants (rain gear is a better choice if you have it)
    Fleece pullover or hooded sweatshirt
    Pants, sweatpants, or lightweight fleece pants
    Winter hat
    Gloves/mittens
    Extra shirt (or 3 if you're wearing cotton)
    Extra socks (or 3 if you're wearing cotton)

    3 quarts of water minimum
    snacks (granola bars, gorp, power bars, etc)
    electrolyte drink (powdered mix for your water or a quart of gatorade)
    a sandwich or 2 for lunch

    Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear. Wearing your brand new hiking boots on this trip is not recommended. Blisters will ruin your day for sure, so wear something tried and true. Wearing clothing made of a wicking fabric is wise, but if you must wear cotton I suggest bringing multiple shirts.

    This is no walk in the park. Be sure to leave enough energy and daylight (start early and don't dawdle too much) to get down safely. The biggest concern will be staying warm and dry if rain and/or fog moves in, especially when you consider your rate of travel will be much slower when things get wet and you can't see more than 50ft. Temps will fall rapidly, and hypothermia is a very real concern in the summer when most people get caught off guard by changing weather conditions. Don't let this be you.

    Good luck and post some pics when you get back.
    Smitty

  3. #13
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    Thanks for the tips. I have a pair of self wicking underwear and a self-wicking tank top. I have a rain poncho, one better than the cheap emergency ones. I'm bringing 2 pairs of wool hicking socks. I have a new pair of hiking boots and I have put about 15 miles on them so far. I'm hoping to put another 10-15 on them before the hike. We are planning on leaving the lodge around 7:00 AM on Saturday morning, so time should not be an issue.

    Would you recommend a cotton-blended hooded sweathshirt or a fleece pullover? I have both, it's just a matter of which one I pack.

  4. #14
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    The hike went great.

    We stayed at Joe Dodge Lodge and the food was great and the folks there were very friendly. We went up to square ledge for a little warm up hike. We couldn't see Mt Washington because of the weather.

    The weather was perfect on Saturday. We went up Tuckermans ravine, and the views were very nice. My legs were burning pretty bad when I got to the top of the ravine, and the final mile took a long time. After about an hour at the top, we headed back down. The top was a bit crowded and that took away from the experience. I struggled a bit with the stairs and the folks who drove up were running right by me.

    We took Lion's Head down, and that was another great trail. The views from the top of the ledge just before we started out descent were unbelievable. The hike down went much easier than up, but my knees were hurting pretty bad when we got back. It seemed to take forever to get from the end of Lions head (where it meets the Tuckerman's Ravine trail) to the lodge.

    This was one of the most amazing things that I have ever did. I can't wait to go again.

    I've attached some pictures. One is the bowl from below. One is a shot of the Lake of the Clouds from above. The other 2 are a couple of shots that I just thought came out nice.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #15
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    Glad you had a good day Gary. The pics are great and you certain got a day with good views. The views from the ledges on Lion Head are definitely amazing. You're right about the last 2 miles down to Pinkham being really long. Seems more like 4 or 5 when you're hiking it. You're not alone - everyone we were around last Saturday was saying the same thing. As for the sore knees - they're the Mt Washington badge of honor. Nothing that a little ice won't fix before the next hike...
    Mark

    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

  6. #16
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    Gary, thanks for the update and pictures. The views up there are wonderful and you got some good ones. Beware - hiking up Mt Washington is addictive.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  7. #17
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    Very nice TR and photos Gary. Glad you had a great hike. You should be quite proud of yourself having Mt Washington as your first mountain ever climbed. As you attest to, burning muscles on the way up, and sore knees on the way down is a badge of honor as Mark mentioned above. It's all worth it though. Now that you've done Mt Washington, you might just get the bug to climb more and more of the White Mountains. They are quite addictive.
    Bob

    I never want to see a day
    That's over forty degrees
    I'd rather have it thirty,
    Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

    My Seek the Peak 2014 Photo Set

  8. #18
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    Sorry for not getting back to the thread before your trip Gary....

    To answer your question: Fleece pullover preferred, but the cotton-blend hoodie would be fine if you don't sweat in it too much or it's not raining hard. Keeping it dry would be the goal.

    You certainly picked a good day to do this one. They don't get much better than that. And yes, the last length of trail to Pinkham is a drag, it's not just you.

    Now that you've done this one, go out and tackle a few more. Unless you do Cannon or Wildcat, you'll have a more peaceful and relaxing summit stop on any other peak.

    Smitty

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