Made a winter ascent this past Saturday, Jan 20: Left from Pinkham, took a stroll up Tuckerman, snapped on some crampons and started up the summer Lion Head route, got to tree-line where extra garb was donned and that’s where things began to change dramatically.

Winds were absolutely crazy! Had to lean heavily into the slope, had to plan each step carefully to avoid being caught mid-step during periods of higher gusts. Foggy skies and lots of blowing snow everywhere. Visibility was good enough for maneuvering around the rocks, and to locate cairns, but wasn’t much better than that. We climbed to a point just below Lion Head ridge, to an area where several groups ahead had briefly gathered before turning around and descending—we did likewise. Continuing on, under these conditions, would have been quite foolhardy.

Going into the hike (with temperatures below zero and winds in excess of 100mph being forecast) a climb up to the top wasn't even realistically considered. We went into this with the attitude that the summit wasn't the “be all and end all” of the trip. The journey and experience was what really mattered, and the experience was absolutely invigorating. I definitely hope to do again sometime.

Mark