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Climbing Mt. Washington in October
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Maflynn
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Oct 19, 2010, 08:10 AM
 
Anyone attempt to do cold weather hiking? I can't say winter hiking since its not winter
I went camping over the columbus day weekend and it was cold, though I was prepared for the cold weather.
My goal was to climb Mt. Washington, but the weather was so treacherous that I and everyone climbing me turned around shortly after entering into the arctic zone. As you can see by the panorama, the summit is snow covered. This picture was taken on Sunday, I was hiking on Saturday and the second picture shows the conditions.

As I was heading up the mountain, it started snowing, the temps were in the low 30s and dropping. What caused us to turn around was the fact the rock faces that we had to climb up or scurry across were icy. Going up was dicey but do able, going down this trail on those steep rock faces would have been down right suicidal.

What increased the difficulty was the fact it rained a lot that friday evening, causing the trail to be flooded in the lower portions of the hike and needing to hike across, up and through the icy water at times (as seen in picture 2). By the time that picture was taken, my boots were soaked and my feet getting cold. It doesn't matter if you wore water proof boots and wool soaks, you basically had plunge into the river a points thus flooding your boots with icy water

I was disappointed in not reaching the summit, but given the cloud cover, the conditions (summit temps were 20 with a -3 wind chill) I'm happy to avoid such dangerous conditions.




~Mike
     
sek929
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Oct 19, 2010, 09:44 AM
 
Nice! I've only done Mt Washington in the warmer months, since during the winter it can experience some of the most fierce weather on earth. I believe the highest recorded wind speed was at the summit of Mt Washington.
     
Oisín
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Oct 19, 2010, 10:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Nice! I've only done Mt Washington in the warmer months, since during the winter it can experience some of the most fierce weather on earth. I believe the highest recorded wind speed was at the summit of Mt Washington.
It used to be, but not anymore.
     
-Q-
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Oct 19, 2010, 10:06 AM
 
Very cool.

I've never lived in an area that has easy access to good high altitude hiking (Stone Mountain certainly doesn't count and I've not made the drive up to N. Georgia) but by the photos, it looks awesome. May have to look into trying a day trip.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 19, 2010, 10:19 AM
 
Stone Mountain is pretty fun, Q.

I've really wanted to visit Mt. Washington and that area of the world. Maybe a trip next summer.
     
-Q-
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Oct 19, 2010, 11:18 AM
 
It's definitely a fun area, but the actual hike up the mountain is pretty limited. Pretty much a single path up and down, so no real opportunities for exploring. The area surrounding the mountain does have some great hiking, tho'. Great for an afternoon trip.
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Oct 19, 2010, 01:04 PM
 
It was definitely an interesting climb. Like much of new england, the weather can and does change very rapidly. The forecast for that weekend was stellar, unseasonably warm and dry. I arrived Friday in a rain storm, which got worse as the night wore on. Saturday was cold and as shown, socked in with cloud cover so the prospect of making the summit was unlikely. Still it was a nice time.

I've climbed Mt. Washington many times over the years and done it in the spring, summer and now the fall. I'll not even attempt to do this in the winter. I have some other mountains on my short list come july of 2011.
~Mike
     
WhaMe
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Oct 19, 2010, 01:24 PM
 
Hiking Mt. Washington is definitely on my to-do list.

Here is another fun way to climb Mt. Washington.

Travis Pastrana sets record for Mt. Washington hillclimb

2nd video-full run
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 19, 2010, 01:48 PM
 
Nice pix! glad you came back with your toes intact.

Too bad G4ME doesn't still post, he used to do some winter hiking and post nice mountain pix too.
     
Railroader
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Oct 19, 2010, 03:56 PM
 
My in-laws who are avid hikers and took jobs with Darmouth U. just to be in an area surrounded by such hiking. They've climbed Mt. Washington a few times in the winter. My sister-in-law says she starts crying about halfway up and just keeps pushing and crying all the way to the top. They. Are. Crazy. Period.
     
[email protected]
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Oct 19, 2010, 06:10 PM
 
You were in the area and you didn't say hello! I thought we were friends!


BTW, the number of deaths and incidents in the White Mountains have been unusually high this year. I'm glad you made it up and down safely.
What, me worry?
     
Paco500
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Oct 19, 2010, 06:17 PM
 
Back in college I summited Mt. Washington on New Year's day. On the way back down, a light snow turned in to whiteout conditions in what seemed like minutes. I was young enough for it to be exciting and not scare the hell out of me.

I used to do a lot of winter camping in the presidentials in college, including spending a few nights in a snow cave. I miss my feeling of invulnerability,
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Oct 19, 2010, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
You were in the area and you didn't say hello! I thought we were friends!
I rang your doorbell but nobody answered :?

BTW, the number of deaths and incidents in the White Mountains have been unusually high this year. I'm glad you made it up and down safely.
That was on my mind, when making the climb. I did not want to do anything stupid, I have a wonderful wife and two great kids, which help motivate me on coming back (toes and all )

Actually because I had to trek through some sections that were flooded and my feet did get wet, they were getting cold by the time I got to the artic zone, so that also helped my decision. I love running and losing a toe or two would certainly put a crimp in my running.
~Mike
     
   
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