I saw another MP user suggest climbing Washington Column in February/March would allow a party to be alone on the route. As this is appealing to me, I am curious if many others have done it and what the down side is to it. The weather (high in the 50s lows in the upper 20s lower 30s) doesnt seem like a big issue for me. Ive made a couple trips to Zion for multi day climbs in late January which has similar temps and it was never an issue.
What am I missing? Big storms with no warnings? Not as empty as expected? Access issues to park?
As long as their is no rain or snow in the forecast I like those temps to climb in... are you rapping off or walking N.D gully? Is N.D free of ice/snow is it slick because its wet i would be worried about..
I feel like it depends on how far in advance you have to plan. If you can watch the forecast and go to the Valley whenever, you'll almost definitely get a solid stretch of good weather sometime in February/March. But if you have work/life constraints and you're trying to commit more than a week or so in advance, then you're kinda rolling the dice on the weather. We climbed the S Face of the Column in February 2015-ish and it was pretty darn nice climbing in T-shirts. I wouldn't count on having the formation to yourself, but it is less crowded than in peak season.
Downside: risk of winter storms or even enough precip to make it unclimbable. If you're close/have flexibility, go get it. This year was dry in Dec/Jan, then pretty wet most of Feb/March.
Also, if you're up on a wall in winter, you should have enough experience to deal with a winter storm. If something goes wrong (stuck rope, dropped rack, injured), can you survive? A friend of a friend froze to death dangling from the end of his rope, 40' off the ground on El Cap in a winter storm - he wasn't a noob, trying to escape on rap, hypothermia got him.