We are happy to announce that our AID CLIMB in memory of our friend Jake Hoffman, was a success! All 11 climbers made it to the summit and we had an awesome day! For those of you who didn’t know Jake Hoffman, he was the life of the party and a true friend. You liked him the instant you met him and he had a smile that no one will ever forget. Jake tragically lost his life in an apartment fire in January. The cause of the fire is still unknown. We organized a climb of Mt. Washington to raise funds for the victims, his family, and more importantly to remember and honor Jake.
We met at the Bunkhouse at Northeast Mountaineering and got everyone all geared up, grabbed our AIDCLIMB T-shirts for the climb ahead. At this time of year, its a bit hard to imagine that the summit is receiving snow and wintry weather when you are standing in the sun and it is 60 degrees in the valley. We hit the trail (after a group trip to Dunkin Donuts of course). The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is all rock and mud on the lower portions as the last of the snow from the Ravines and Summit area melt out. It was nice to climb on a Monday because there was almost no one else on the trail. I think we saw about 3 people all day in fact. Our large group must have been quite the sight for those who were trying to find solitude on a weekday hike! We rolled into our first break in good time and in great spirits. After a break, it’s usually a bit hard to get going again, but I could hardly keep up with these folks! They left me in the dust still holding my cookie. Once I was able to catch up, we continued on to the junction of the Lions Head summer route. Here the climbing begins to get steeper, more interesting and we were awarded with views. We dodged the patches of ice to the best of our ability and before we knew it, we were at treeline. There are small patches of snow to traverse across but for the most part, it is all rock. We got a very slight breeze above treeline but for the most part the going was smooth. When we reached the plateau below Lions Head we were able to watch some folks skiing Left Gully in Tuckermans. Of course the wind was whipping us at 30mph at the edge of the bowl. We cruised up to Lions Head for another long break, allowing a few to catch up and also get a rest in. Our sights were set on the summit which was in the clear, so we crested Lions Head and did battle with the 40mph winds that lash the Alpine Garden consistently. The walk across the garden is a mix of some parts rock and a large portion of frozen river. We held off on the microspikes and hopped from rock to rock to avoid the ice. I had heard from our other guide Jamie, who had been to the summit two day earlier, that the traverse to split rock was bulletproof. We heeded his advice and we put on the microspikes for this section. They proved to be very useful on this section of the trail as the snow was indeed pretty solid. We took one final break at Split rock before picking our way through the boulders of the summit cone. I find this section of the climb much more enjoyable in the winter months when the snow partially fills in the gaps between rocks. When that snow melts, you need to keep a sharp eye on every foot placement and the going gets tedious. We waited for the entire group to be together again before taking the last few steps to the top. Jake’s Mom (Anne), his Dad (Dave), and his Sister (Nichole) led the way making an emotional and powerful statement in memory of their son and brother Jake. The rest of the group joined them on the summit where we took some summit photos before heading into the observatory. Since it was so cold, the auto road was not open to the summit and the cog only runs on weekends this time of year, so there were only a handful of other people on the summit. On the downside, the cafeteria was closed and we could only get candy bars and hot drinks. We toasted to Jake, and enjoyed the warmth of the observatory. We spent an hour on the summit and reluctantly began the hike down. The descent was mostly uneventful, which in the mountains is a good thing! We used microspikes on the traverse from split rock to the garden and again going down the upper part of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The descent gave us all time to reflect on the climb and the reason we all came to test ourselves against the mountain….Jake. We’ll always remember our friend, brother, son, and roommate. We’re excited to do this climb again in 2014, hopefully growing the event every year.
To make a donation you can visit our fundraising page (click here). All donations are appreciated, no matter the amount. If you would like more info on the climb next year, please subscribe to our email list, “like” us on Facebook, and subscribe to our blog to stay in touch regarding our climb in 2014.
Also, if you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart that you would like to raise funds for, NEM and AID CLIMB can help. Contact us today! www.aidclimb.com.