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Thread: Mount Washington Hike

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Mount Washington Hike

    I haven’t posted n this forum in a while. A nice hike up Mount Washington seems like a good reason to dip back in.

    I’ve hiked the mountain a few times, the last two in September (2020 and 2021) when the weather has been just perfect.

    I only went one way, because I was worried about some recent knee pain. So I had a ticket on the cog railway for my return trip. You buy a round trip ticket so your seat is guaranteed because the one-way trip is only standby. But worth the insurance at my age.

    So Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in Northeastern America, at 6,288 feet [1,917 metres]. What makes it unique is that it has a high prmominance - the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River, where the “dip” around the mountain goes all the way down by 6,148 (1874m). This is not a foothills kind of place. Straight from valley floor to mountain slope. And the significance of that is that is juts right up into the jet stream, causing it to host “the worst weather in America” including the highest recorded wind speed of 231mph (372kph).

    This year we took the Ammoosonuc trail to Crawford Path to the peak. It’s about 4.5 miles (7.2km) one way. A lot of it is stepping up stones like stairs, but there are some areas where you need to scramble up some rock faces. Good hiking shoes or boots are a must. The trails goes along the river/creek which is so beautiful to enjoy. Tall waterfalls, pools, water flowing aound mossy rocks. Really pretty. The trail is decent by eastern US standards, but a western US hiker would find it rough and difficult. There’s so much water in the east that we can’t maintain a walking path, it’s all jumbled exposed rocks that you have to step on unevenly, with large steps and with balance.

    The weather was clear and calm, about 65F (18C) which is wonderful for hiking and staying cool. We enjoyed the first few hours with our group of 8 breaking into two pods. Didn’t see anyone for several hours. Stopping for snacks and water. As we got to the top of the treeline there were some scattered clouds (expected from the weather) that were nice to keep us cool. Temps dropped a little, but it was still tee-shirt weather.

    The views were fabulous! The upper air was full of moisture, so the far mountains had that beautiful surreal shades of blue thing going on, while a heavy grey sponge hugged the summit, but swirled with what were forecast to be 30-40mph (48-64 kph) winds, and sunshine peeking through in between.

    When we got to Lake-in-the-Clouds, the wind picked up, but it was still a very comfortable 55*F (12C). Hiking took enough energy that I was still in my tee shirt and shorts, welcoming the cooling wind. Most of the crew decided to go on ahead, and there were three of us left who planned to take the railway down, so we took the time we wanted/needed.


    The final 1.6 miles (2.6km) to the peak were in a swirling moist but oddly warm cloud, buffeted by the 30+ mph (48+kph) winds, only those with knit hats could keep them on; baseball caps and straw hats had to be carried. I finally cooled off enough in the last 0.2 miles (0.3km) to put on my sweater and hat, and we forced our tired, old, and out-of-shape limbs to the summit.

    It was a beautiful day. No views from the summit, but those on the way were lovely. We took the train down and emerged from the cloud in only a few minutes, seeing the other trail and lovely valley on the way.

    Back at our rental house, the gang had a huge meal and fun for the evening. My knees never did hurt, but I had fun with the train ride and glad I did that for the first time.

    Mountains are beautiful places.

  2. Top | #2
    Super Moderator crazyfingers's Avatar
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    I hiked up Mt Washington 3 times and down twice.

    This was in the 1970's. Dad, my uncle cousins. Up Tuckerman's Ravine, down Lion Head was one route i recall.

    I didn't hike down the 3rd time because even though it was August, a blizzard arrived and parents with kids were allowed to take the last ride down on the cog railway. I think adults without kids waited out the storm on top. I've forgotten the name of the summit facility. At lease it was a sizable indoor facility.

    Back then my parents dragged me all up and down the presidentials.

    Later I decided I like the coast of Maine and Acadia National park better.

  3. Top | #3
    Elder Contributor
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    I was near there at a hike trail back in '02ish. I was visiting waterfalls in the area, definitely recommend, but forget about Thoreau Falls, that is a flume with good flow, but almost no real ability to capture on camera, being a flume and all. I wanted to hike it, but it was 2:00 PM I think, and I really didn't have much with me but a tremendous amount of stamina, and you don't screw with Mt. Washington. Being an afterthought, I decided to not do it.

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    Super Moderator crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Yup I've hiked the Flume. It was another that as a teenager I regarded as a forced march. Now of course I'm glad I did it.

    Found these. It looks like at least one of my hikes up Washington - 1974. We stayed at the Pinkham Notch lodge. The bottom photo is looking down at Tuckerman's Ravine from above.

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    The numbers you give wouldn't be a deterrent to me but the conditions are another matter--I turn back for anything beyond the easiest of class 3 terrain, especially if at all slippery.

  6. Top | #6
    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    What is the definition of class 3 terrain?

    This is some of what we climbed (photos from the internet)









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