Member Trip report
Mt. Washington Winter Hike
Trip Report/Photos from Gandalf
Jon and I summited Mt. Washington yesterday on what will probably be the best day for hiking up Mt. Washington on a weekend this winter! Jon has tried twice before and got turned around by either hurricane force winds or life threatening whiteout conditions. This mountain typically has the world’s worst weather but not today! Much of the success on the day was due to tame summit conditions. Choosing the right weather window made all the difference.
Driving to the trailhead at 6AM in the morning gave us a shock as our truck read it was -21 degrees outside. Cold start at -15 with temps at 5 on the summit with a wind chill of -8. We hiked up the Jewell Trail and came down the Cog Railway Service Road, a route more people are using for the descent in winter.
We used snowshoes on the Jewell Trail since the trail was barely broken and we could tell our snowshoeing was doing some good on the trail. Once we got above treeline the sun and lack of wind make for a very enjoyable experience. We switched to spikes above treeline and kept them on the remainder of the day however we should have probably put our snowshoes back on when descending the Cog Railway Service Road.
The rime ice formations on the cairns and railings on the summit was magical! We encountered a few hikers on the summit and more on the way up/down. Even saw over a dozen skiers up near the summit and some skiing down the Cog Railway Service Road. Ski conditions did not look all the great near the summit but got better further down. One hundred ten mile views into VT, Adirondacks and Maine! What an epic winter climb!!!
We started at 7:30am and were done around 2:15, 6:45 total time. Total mileage was 8 miles with 4,000 feet elevation gain. It’s a fast descent going down the Cog Railway Service Road, a shorter route down at 3 miles. The Cog Service road down was our first time ever going down that way. We were blown away how fast we did the hike thanks to the Cog Railway Service Road. Once down about 1/2 mile, and actually on the service road, it was in awesome shape, however snowshoes are best in some sections with wind drift snow. Because the Cog Railway is running, at around 4,000 feet there is the Waumbek Station for refuge with three shelters with wind block/propane heaters, hot chocolate and a firepit!
Amazing day in the Presidentials! We truly hope everyone gets a chance to experience climbing Mt. Washington as we did today!!!
There are 80 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)
Great report and pictures! Congratulations Jon! Since I was there during your two prior attempts (and well remember those "hurricane-force winds" and "life-threatening whiteout conditions"), I’m happy you left me (your bad luck charm) at home. While you were summiting, I had a nice brisk hike through my subdivision and look forward to seeing Mt Washington again come summer.
Great photos.The ice in #34 looks like the profile of a baboon facing right.