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

  1. #21
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    I was talking with the man who sells one-way down tickets - just for the Cog. He sold 68 tickets one day this summer.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    I was talking with the man who sells one-way down tickets - just for the Cog. He sold 68 tickets one day this summer.
    interesting...
    'when it starts to hurt your nearly halfway and probably should get out those ropes & put your crampons on"

  3. #23
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    Default Slope matters

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Good post - and nice to know you made it back down safely. Hitching a ride down on the Cog or in a van is an iffy thing and not one to count on.

    I have taken friends and family on Mt Washington hikes with a wide variety of results. The common theme though is - it was a lot harder than they expected. That was true even for those who run 5-8 miles a day - or bike a lot - or swim a lot. There is something different about the muscles used for hiking and the never ending irregular steps. Everyone says the only way to prepare for a hike like Mt Washington is to hike and work up to it.

    Your post should be a reminder to folks - don't start with Mt Washington and don't go up further than you can get down on your own.
    I find that slope matters a lot. A few weeks after climbing Mount Washington I climbed up Mount Israel, one of the shorter White Mountains, and had to stop to rest. a few times Then I went up the unimaginatively-named "old bridle path" in Franconia Notch and was fine even though it is 2,400 feet vs. 1,500 feet elevation gain. It must have been a little less steep.

    For people who get tired in steep sections the Jewell Trail up Mount Washington ought to be a lot easier than the others. Coming down I found it mostly smooth and not too steep from base to tree line.
    John

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vox Sciurorum View Post
    I find that slope matters a lot.
    that's an undersatment..... for example take the loop trail just south of the bridle path you mentioned

    To get to the summit there is a split a little ways in on Liberty Springs trail: continue straight to the top and then go right along the ridge and you'll arrive at the 4300' foot Mt. Flume ( actually passing a higher peak) in roughly 5 miles with no worries, almost could do in tennis shoes........but instead take a right at that split you'll arrive at that same summit in a little bit shorter distance (4.8 miles to be exact), but the last 0.7 miles stretch is over 30 degrees in slope that will really make you feel it when you get to the summit
    Last edited by smithtim; 10-16-2010 at 11:33 PM.
    'when it starts to hurt your nearly halfway and probably should get out those ropes & put your crampons on"

  5. #25
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    Default My Two Cents

    I haven't read every response here but there is a lot to consider. If you are questioning whether you can climb Mount Washington and it being your first time you should take considerable precautions and know what you are getting yourself in to.

    I climbed Washington only to have to descend via the Cog Railway. Why? I suffered dehydration/heat stroke just 50 feet from the summit. Yes, I bonked and was uttering nonesense as my climbing partner told me. I could not keep my eyes straight and had to stop after every 10 steps.

    To qualify all this, I was attempting a Presedential Traverse and Washington happened to be on day 2. I had attempted to climb 2 mountains the day prior (one of which I was successful at climbing). I was not able to Summit Madison because I suffered what we thought was dehydration. In the end as my doctor told me it was Heat Stroke. Anyway sat it out Madison while at the Madison Spring Hut and my fellow climbers ascended the rest of the way. The following day after rest I was ready to summit the final 5 mountains. I had assumed I was recovered. Washington was to be the second summit that that day. I climbed Adams with no problem at all and felt great. I bonked as I said 50 feet from the summit of Washington. I had a 37 lb pack. I had only climbed the Osceola's before this attempt so I was unwise to do this. My fitness level was not there. Since my failed attempt I have summited another 12 4,000-5,000 foot mountains. It's easier now and I feel safer now targeting a summit of Washington.

    The things to consider are this:

    1) How heavy is your pack going to be? Keep it light!
    2) Are you aware of how to properlly manage your heat levels (either for summer or winter). Aviod heat stroke!!!! Avoid dehydration!!!!
    3) Are you climbing with a crew of 4? Yes a crew of 4 is ideal and I feel necessary. If someone bonks or gets hurt one can wait with the downed man and the other 2 can hike out.
    4) What is your current fitness level. Climbing/hiking is it's own beast. Runners project well for hiking but other fitness levels may not.
    5) Lastly, what have you done in the days prior? Avoid drinking, rest-up, get good sleep.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cluettr View Post
    The things to consider are this:

    1) How heavy is your pack going to be? Keep it light!
    2) Are you aware of how to properlly manage your heat levels (either for summer or winter). Aviod heat stroke!!!! Avoid dehydration!!!!
    3) Are you climbing with a crew of 4? Yes a crew of 4 is ideal and I feel necessary. If someone bonks or gets hurt one can wait with the downed man and the other 2 can hike out.
    4) What is your current fitness level. Climbing/hiking is it's own beast. Runners project well for hiking but other fitness levels may not.
    5) Lastly, what have you done in the days prior? Avoid drinking, rest-up, get good sleep.
    First off, I am glad you are safe and back home a bit wiser. There are some good lessons for us all to learn from your experiences. Many times we hear the only way of getting in shape to hike up a mountain is to hike up a mountain - and work up to heavier packs and longer hikes. Also, do not hike up further than you can hike down. There might not be a ride down. For example, I have heard for the next 2 days the Auto Road will not be open at all due to paving activities. There are all sorts of reasons why a ride down might not work out. I have hiked Mt Washington with runners who still struggled with the activity. Being overly cautious is a very good thing.

    I am sure others will add to your list. But, I have to add that you make sure there is someone who knows exactly what trails you will be doing and the planned timing of things. That person knowing the trails from personal experience helps also. I find most times I can get a text message to my home-base contact to keep him updated where I am - even if I can not make a voice call. The new Delorme GPS unit that lets you text message off a satellite connection is an interesting new capability.

    It helps when folks share their good and bad experiences here on the forum for us all to learn from. Thanks.
    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. #27
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    Climbing up the rock pile should not be your first summit in the whites. I set a goal for myself to climb mt washington in 2010 and to also start doing the 4000 footers list. I will start out with some background dec 2008 i weighed 356lbs and would have had trouble climbing a 20ft ladder let alone the tallest moutain in the northeast. by spring of 2010 i had slimed down to 280lbs and still weigh about the same. I have hiked 15 of the 48 4k footers and if I can give anyone doubting there ability some advice I would say bag about 10 peaks first and make sure you are hiking about 10 to 15 miles a week. get a couple 10 + mile climbs under your belt do the lincoln lafayette loop do the hancock loop the steepness you will incounter on the hancock loop trail is similar but much shorter than a washington climb. Also pace is very very important. For example the tuckerman ravine trail is rather easy in the begining until you hit the lunchrocks on the floor of the ravine. but from there it is a very steep and exposed climb. If you go as fast as you can to the floor of the ravine you will wipe yourself out by the time you reach the top. taking it easy and going slow in the begining can help you get a groove that can stay with you longer and make less stops to rest. Also when you attemp the rockpile for the first time do it in june/ july when the days are longer it may take you ten + hours to do this hike and you want daylight on your side

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