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Thread: What is good enough shape to climb Mount Washington?

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    Default What is good enough shape to climb Mount Washington?

    I want to climb Mount Washington but it's much more elevation gain that I've climbed before and I have doubts I should try it yet. But I also don't know how to know when I am in good enough condition to try.

    Is there a guideline for prior experience, like if you can climb X feet of elevation gain or the length of some trail you can probably make it the extra height or distance up Mount Washington?

    If the internet is to be believed the Ammonoosuc ravine trail is not as steep as the climb up to East Osceola. But it is almost as steep for twice the distance.
    John

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    Default Hikes

    Have you hiked up to East Osceola? I find that most of the trails to the summit of MW are a good bit more difficult than most of the other trails in the White Mountains. The difference is the above treeline rock-hopping and scrambling. In bad weather this can be a nightmare, in good weather it can be like crossing a desert.

    Not knowing what shape you're in, it is hard to tell how well you will do. Tuckerman Ravine Trail is the most common trail to the summit and tens of thousands of folks in all kinds of shape and size make the climb each year. It is 4.5 miles and 4250' of elevation gain, have you done anything like that?

    The most important thing to remember when attempting it is that the summit is only 1/2 way, you still have to get back down. The Auto Road and the Cog are not viable options and shouldn't be relied upon to bail you out. Know your limitations and if you think you've gone too far, you probably have. Turn around. The mountain will always be there.

    KDT

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    the first time i started up i got almost half way up and my legs cramped up and i had to go down ,if i kept going i may have needed help to get off and i did not want that
    last year i did make it to the top but i have a hard time breathing so i need to go slow .my legs were ok and im doing a lot of walking up hill and stairs to get ready for the july trip up

    so if you work up your legs and take your time and you will do it
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    If you can do a hike with something like 3000-3500 feet of elevation gain comfortably, then you can almost certainly make it up (and down) Washington--but expect some sore leg muscles the next day, since the particular type of motion involved in hopping around on the talus is hard to duplicate anywhere other than above treeline in the Presies. Going up Lafayette and/or Lincoln would be a good warmup, maybe the Falling Waters / Old Bridle Path circuit. (Not Old Bridal Path, by the way--this strangely irritates me beyond any reasonable measure!)

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    I think that the Ammo trail is a great way to get Washington for your first time! You have the Lakes of the Clouds hut as a milestone, so if you make it there, that's great! Buy a cookie, enjoy the views... do you feel like doing more uphill? 0.3 miles more or 1.5 miles more? If 0.3, then you get Monroe (which, by the way, has fantastic VIEWS of Mt Washington). If you still have spunk, then you go for Mt Washington. This gives you intermediate goals so that if you can't do all the elevation that's needed for the summit, you've still had plenty of positive reinforcement and will want to come back and try again!

    The first time I summited Mount Washington, it hadn't even been in the plans. We were *only* doing Monroe, but the day was so clear and perfect, that we went for it (with appropriate calls to our family so that they knew the updated plans).

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    It's not always practical to train for a hike by essentially mirroring the distance / elevation gain on another mountain. Yes, if you can climb 5,000 vertical feet you should be able to climb Mount Washington, but that's not going to help you train since you probably don't have a 5,000 foot mountain in your backyard. Nobody trains for climbing Mount Everest by climbing Mount Everest. You can actually climb really big mountains by training in a gym with weights and walking on flat ground. People from Iowa go to the Himalayas too.

    For running my rule is that I can race twice the distance I've trained at. For a marathon that means my longest runs in the training cycle are only 13.1 miles.

    For hiking that means if you regularly and comfortably hike 2,000 vertical feet and four miles you should be able to double that for your "A" hike up Mount Washington. Your "A" hikes are your big goals for the year. Maybe MWN for the first time. These are what you train and taper for so you peak just in time for the hike.
    Bill
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    I hiked up Tuckerman Ravine and down Lions Head when I did it. Consider your knees, as this is where most of my pain was. Once the knees start to ache, it's not a case of stamina or the willingness to continue, but becomes the inability to. I would have paid anything for a 4 wheeler to come by on that last mile on the way down and pick me up. I had to step sideways in places because the stepping from one rock to another in a downward motion was excrutiating. And trust me, it always feels so much worse than you think it would! But I made it, just something to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
    I hiked up Tuckerman Ravine and down Lions Head when I did it. Consider your knees, as this is where most of my pain was. Once the knees start to ache, it's not a case of stamina or the willingness to continue, but becomes the inability to. I would have paid anything for a 4 wheeler to come by on that last mile on the way down and pick me up. I had to step sideways in places because the stepping from one rock to another in a downward motion was excrutiating. And trust me, it always feels so much worse than you think it would! But I made it, just something to consider.
    I find that treking poles really help on the way down.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    I find that treking poles really help on the way down.
    I too find the poles to be essential to help save the knees.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vox Sciurorum View Post
    If the internet is to be believed the Ammonoosuc ravine trail is not as steep as the climb up to East Osceola. But it is almost as steep for twice the distance.
    per nat geo

    ammonooscu is 3.1 miles & 2500' to lake of clouds then probably a long mile or close to two on the from the hut to summit along the app trail with maybee 1000'??

    tuckermans is 4.2 miles & 4250' from pinkman to summit


    so yes doing the math ammonooscu is longer but not as steep grade then tucks ( anybody have the info on Osceola).



    For preparations & all that I'd say eat a lot of carbs the night before, get good rest, get up early eat some protein and get a very early start then see what happens. Just bring plenty of water /snacks + listen to your body & pay attention to the weather as the mountain will be there tomorrow.......
    'when it starts to hurt your nearly halfway and probably should get out those ropes & put your crampons on"

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