Hello! I'm new here. I've been reading quite a while now. From an observer standpoint, I greatly appreciate all the honest and sincere remarks and advice posted. So many other forums are filled with flame that it totally ruins the cred. This is a great resource.

Anyway, a buddy and I are attempting to climb Mt. Washington this coming Saturday 2-3-07. We are going with an EMS guide (we weren't aware of so many other guide services in N. Conway). This is a gift from our wives. Neither of us has climbed Mt. Washington. As a result, we are paying for someone else's expertise and judgment. I have been training pretty hard for this by hiking every night with a 65 lb pack (full of cast iron weights). It's not an overnight, so I don't think I'll need 65 lbs of gear. We are physically fit, but not expert climbers. We have all the gear, and then some, EMS requires and recommends minus the boots, crampons, and ice ax. I have an ax, but it's old, so it's staying home.

My concern after reading this thread is the sweating. I sweat just thinking about it. I bought a Patagonia (I'm a patagoniac, but not a wealthy one) prima-loft pullover which is incredibly warm. I wore it a few times while hiking with my 65 lb pack and I was soaked by the time I got home. Earlier in this thread I read that I should avoid sweating. I now understand that the down/synthetic down layer is for resting. Any suggestions on the sweating issue? I have more fleece to choose from than Biden has political problems. So I've got some choices there.

I'm also concerned about being a newbie, but I trust I'm paying for good leadership, education, training, and judgment. We have no idea which route we are taking. I guess that's left to the guide as well.

We are driving up tomorrow and should arrive in N. Conway tomorrow afternoon/evening. Hopefully in the middle of a snowstorm, but that doesn't look all that promising any more. We intend to ski on Sunday. Can you kind folks recommend a good spot (H2O Valley, Bretton, Wildcat, etc.) given recent weather? Anything else about the town or area that we should know?

Once again, appreciate all the info you've given on this and other threads. There are observers soaking it all in and we are appreciative.