Boulderer wanting to climb Mt Washington


Original Post
Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 75

so. i have only climbed boulders, soloed a few small cliffs, but thats it. i am visiting family in new hampshire next week, saw an event on facebook about climbing mount washington, same state. got me thinking, i'd seriously like to do that. but im i assume massively unprepared and unexperienced. what i want to know is, is there any things i should try before that peak, what kind of gear would i need(that i can think of would help is i have a BD access lt hybrid hoody, and a nice warm old patagonia jacket. i wanna go minimal regardless, and fast if i can), what kind of strains i should expect? i want to keep bouldering my main focus, but i'd be damned if the mountains dont call me

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

Probably want an extra beanie in the wintertime.

scott fuzz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 125

Scuff up a pair of old ski goggles till you can barely see out of them. Then walk straight up and down the main slope at your local ski area for seven hours, then you'll be ready-

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,712
Joseph Dul wrote:so. i have only climbed boulders, soloed a few small cliffs, but thats it. i am visiting family in new hampshire next week, saw an event on facebook about climbing mount washington, same state. got me thinking, i'd seriously like to do that. but im i assume massively unprepared and unexperienced. what i want to know is, is there any things i should try before that peak, what kind of gear would i need(that i can think of would help is i have a BD access lt hybrid hoody, and a nice warm old patagonia jacket. i wanna go minimal regardless, and fast if i can), what kind of strains i should expect? i want to keep bouldering my main focus, but i'd be damned if the mountains dont call me
Mount Washington in the winter is no joke and even experienced hikers and climbers can get killed up there. Given the right conditions it can be a pleasant hike up in a tshirt and shell pants, if things turn south which they can and do often very rapidly, you're looking at needing to be prepared to camp overnight in Antarctica. No joke. Winds kick up quickly and once they're over about 60-70mph plan on no longer being able to walk, above tree line and totally exposed. Try Laffayatte and others 4000 footers first. Get a bunch of those and get familiar with winter hiking in NH and then consider MW. If you want to get up there with some snow and other people check out the Inferno event that is held every spring.
Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 75
Mark E Dixon wrote:Probably want an extra beanie in the wintertime.
pleeeeeenty of those. this is ll pretty helpful so far, thanks!
Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

IF this is serious, which it might not be.....there's big avalanche danger in the ravines right now, so I'd recommend an alternate route to those.
Ice axe, crampons, extra of everything warm, mountaineering boots, and strong legs

Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 8,903
Stephen D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 20
Morgan Patterson wrote: Mount Washington in the winter is no joke and even experienced hikers and climbers can get killed up there. Given the right conditions it can be a pleasant hike up in a tshirt and shell pants, if things turn south which they can and do often very rapidly, you're looking at needing to be prepared to camp overnight in Antarctica. No joke. Winds kick up quickly and once they're over about 60-70mph plan on no longer being able to walk, above tree line and totally exposed. Try Laffayatte and others 4000 footers first. Get a bunch of those and get familiar with winter hiking in NH and then consider MW. If you want to get up there with some snow and other people check out the Inferno event that is held every spring.
I think that this is pretty good advise. I did Mt Washington in the winter as a teen and it was no big deal (and I'm no serious mountaineer). Somewhat casual day hike, great conditions, etc.

However, I was simply lucky with the conditions. It could have kicked up to white-out conditions in wind so loud that you can't hear your partner, or see the trail, and all of a sudden you're lost. You can't move, you most likely don't have the bivy gear to survive the night - you're in a survival situation. Be careful.

I second Lafayette. I think it's a better hike in every way. You're not walking up next to a coal burning train to a visitor's center where people who can barely walk in their clogs are sipping lattes and buying Mt Washington shirts and bumper stickers. The Lafayette-Lincoln-Little Haystack loop is one of my favorite hikes ever. There used to be a joke among locals that you were supposed to take a rock from Washington every time you hiked it and put it on top of Lafayette, and someday the real tallest mountain would indeed be the geographically tallest mountain.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

Seriously, Mt Washington in winter is great, but demanding. You need to be prepared for full on winter conditions and not the best place to get started on "big" mountains.
There was a thread a while back about somebody's brother who wanted to do a winter ascent. Amidst the usual MP carnage there were some thoughtful replies. Maybe someone else recalls the title so you could review it.

You know, I jumped to the conclusion you wanted to climb MW next week. Summer is a different story and assuming good weather, it can be just a hike.

Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 75
Mark E Dixon wrote:You know, I jumped to the conclusion you wanted to climb MW next week. Summer is a different story and assuming good weather, it can be just a hike.
oh god no. not next week. i want to be very very prepared.
Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

OK, not next week? If you do it in summer, it's a day hike that needs no special training or equipment. I did it several times when I was in grade school (parents were really into hiking). Once we got caught in fog and wind near the top, but even that wasn't frightening, just slowed us down. It's longer and steeper than most day hikes, but not particularly hazardous.

Winter, as many people pointed out, is a totally different story.

Dash rip rock · · Keene NH · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 10

There is only one thing you need for the accent, "the ability to judge the conditions, relative to your equipment and strength."... experienced People have died in August, and newbies have summited in January. The mountain has no partiality to bad decisions. It seems like only yesterday that the number of people who died on Everest surpassed the number op people who died on Mt. Washington. The climb can be a blast any time of the year, except when it is not. Don't be afraid, or so determined, that you fail to say, "let's turn around and come back another day".

yosem1te · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 15

If you're talking about a winter ascent, while the route lacks any technical climbing, the conditions are not to be underestimated. I climbed it last winter, and as others have said, conditions make all the difference. When I climbed, the temperature with wind chill was around -40, and the winds were hitting 90 miles an hour and blasting snow so hard I could barely see. I would suggest going with someone who knows the mountain if you are unfamiliar with these kinds of conditions, to ensure you don't get blindsided. As for equipment, Eastern Mountain Sports gives a guide to its Mt. Washington clients that includes all the gear they believe you need. Hopefully it's helpful to you, check it out here. The important thing to remember is that Mt. Washington is a serious mountain. Treat it with respect, and be careful. Climb safe!

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Your biggest problem will be not stopping for the tremendous amount of boulders on Mt Wash !

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

The EMS list is an interesting read. I do a few things differently. I drink at least 2 lieters of water on the road to climb. I only bring 20 Oz with me. And yes I do use a recycled plastic water bottle.

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,712
Nick Goldsmith wrote:The EMS list is an interesting read. I do a few things differently. I drink at least 2 lieters of water on the road to climb. I only bring 20 Oz with me. And yes I do use a recycled plastic water bottle.
Hopefully not a #1 bottle...
Aaron Guillotte · · Boston · Joined May 2016 · Points: 15

There are a few options, but I like to use mountain-forecast.com/peaks... to check on the weather. They are fairly accurate, though as many noted, weather can change in a hurry there, and I like the fact that they give you the forecast at a couple different elevations (usually near base and near peak). This is important because I've had many days that were 60-70's at the base, and the summit some 20-30 degrees colder because of the winds.

Folks who take the train up the mountain in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops in the summer are sometimes quite shocked at how cold the summit is.

Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 75
john strand wrote:Your biggest problem will be not stopping for the tremendous amount of boulders on Mt Wash !
SAY WHAT NOW? hell, maybe next week if i can swing it ill bring my big pad and my boostics along.probably wont be dry enough but eh, i got a while yet
Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,712
Joseph Dul wrote: SAY WHAT NOW? hell, maybe next week if i can swing it ill bring my big pad and my boostics along.probably wont be dry enough but eh, i got a while yet
Um the normal winter routes don't really have many boulders.
Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 75
Morgan Patterson wrote: Um the normal winter routes don't really have many boulders.
ill be on the lookout everywhere i go regardless if climb or not, mostly for when i have more time to focus solely on the rock
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I use whatever 20 Oz bottle is left over from the last Seltzer I drink.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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