Length: 1 Day Maximum Guide Ratio: 1:4 Difficulty 4
This is the big one. The highest mountain in the Northeast! Mt. Washington towers over its neighbors at an elevation of 6,288ft. It is also known for erratic weather and extremely strong winds. A climb of Mt. Washington in the winter is a serious undertaking and will incorporate all of your mountaineering knowledge. We will start out from the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center and ascend one of a few routes to the summit depending on route and snow conditions. Participants should be in good physical shape with prior hiking experience.
1 person: $200/person
2 people: $150/person
3 people: $130/person
4 people: $120/person
5+ people: Call for rates
* For Private Climbs there is an additional 40% fee.
Climbing Mt. Washington starts long before the day of your climb. You should start training well in advance so that your climb is as enjoyable as possible. On the day of the climb we will meet at The Bunkhouse at Northeast Mountaineering at 7am sharp. You will check in at the desk and fill out health forms and liability agreements. Upon completion, we will equip you with the necessary rental gear for a successful climb. When the group is ready, we will drive 15 minutes north to Pinkham Notch Visitors Center where we will find the trailhead.
We will take the Tuckerman’s Ravine trail to the Lion’s head trail. In the winter we use the Lion’s Head winter route to avoid avalanche hazard. From tree line we continue up Lion’s head trail to Lion’s head, a prominent rock formation. We continue across the alpine garden where we connect with the upper Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail to the summit. We will spend plenty of time, weather permitting, at the summit for pictures and to relish in the glory of standing on top of Mt. Washington, at the highest point in the Northeast USA. We will descend the same route as the ascent.
You can expect to meet back at The Bunkhouse to conclude the climb around 6:30pm. After you return your rental gear you are welcome to head to a local pub to enjoy a well-deserved burger and beer!
Depending on your objective, some gear can be substituted for the items listed below. If you are planning on reaching a summit, you will most likely need everything listed, however if you are planning a one day skills course, you may be able to get away with lesser equipment. If you are lacking a specific item, contact us.. we may have extra!
Choose Synthetic Materials, Wool, or Fleece — cotton will absorb sweat and freeze increasing the chances of hypothermia.
Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions!
|[ ] Pack with Waist Strap: A 3000 cu. in. pack is the recommended size for one day climbs. Your pack MUST have a waist strap. A backpack will not suffice.||Camp M4|
|[ ] *Sleeping Bag: A bag rated -20° to 0° F will keep you warm. You may use either goose down or synthetic. Sleeping pads are not provided. 2 pads are recommended for winter camping for extra insulation from the snow.||Down or Synthetic|
|[ ] Crampons: 10-12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering.||Camp Stalker Universal|
|[ ] Ice Axe:The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5’8″, use a 65 cm. axe; 5’8″ to 6’2″, use a 70 cm. axe; and taller, use a 75 cm. axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.||Camp Neve|
|[ ] Climbing Harness: A comfortable, adjustable climbing harness.||Camp Group II|
|[ ] Avalanche Transceiver:A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well.||Pieps Freeride|
|[ ] Trekking Poles: Optional but recommended. Lightweight and collapsible.||Camp Backcountry Carbon|
|[ ] *Snowshoes: With attached claw or crampon for better traction.||MSR Ascent|
|[ ] Helmet: A lightweight climbing helmet.||Camp Rock Star|
|[ ] Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. It should be warm and thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.||Camp Race Hat|
|[ ] Balaclava/Neck Gaiter: Optional but recommended||Mountain Hardwear Powerstretch|
|[ ] Ball Hat/Sun Hat: Optional. A lightweight ball cap or sun hat.|
|[ ] Sun Glasses: A pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type sunglasses.||Julbo Dolgan|
|[ ] Goggles: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. Additionally, contact lens wearers may find a clear-lensed goggle very useful on windy nights.||Smith Scope Pro|
|[ ] Headlamp:||Petzl Tikka XP2|
|[ ] Lightweight glove: One pair of fleece gloves.||Camp G Lite Wind|
|[ ] Medium Weight Glove: Wind/water resistant insulated mountain gloves.||Camp G Tech Dry|
|[ ] Heavy Insulated Glove/Mitten: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.||Marmot Expedition Mitt|
|[ ] Base Layer Top and Bottom: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top will be used as your base layer. Zip-neck styles will allow for better temperature regulation.||Patagonia Capilene 3|
|[ ] Light Insulating Layer/Soft Shell Top: A fleece or other insulation layer.||Patagonia R1 Hoody|
|[ ] Hard Shell Jacket with Hood: Wind/rain Proof. Gore-Tex recommended.||First Ascent Storm Shell|
|[ ] Insulated Parka: This item becomes of highest importance when we are faced with poor weather. This should be an expeditionary-type heavy parka that extends well below the waist and above the knees. Goose down is recommended versus synthetic fill. It does not have to be waterproof, but that is a nice feature. The parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day and as an emergency garment if needed. When sizing a parka, allow for several layers to be worn underneath; buy it large. The parka must have an insulated hood.||Camp ED Protection Jacket|
|[ ] Climbing Pants: Synthetic climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them alone on hot days, or in combination with the base layer on cold days. The thickness (insulation quality) should be based on how well you do in the cold.||First Ascent Guide Lite|
|[ ] Hard Shell Pants: A pant made of breathable rain and wind-proof material will be needed. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons in cold, inclement weather.||First Ascent Rainier Storm Shell|
|[ ] Mountaineering Boots: Insulated plastic boots are the preferred choice for ascents on Mt. Rainier. They provide the best insulation as well as a more rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Leather mountaineering boots that have completely rigid soles are also adequate, but they will need to be insulated and may still result in cold feet on summit day. Lightweight hiking boots without insulation are not acceptable as they don’t work well with crampons, or in very cold or wet weather.||Scarpa Inverno|
|[ ] Gaiters: A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampons on loose clothing.||Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodiles|
|[ ] Heavyweight Socks: Either wool or synthetic. Some people find liner socks useful for reducing friction.||Smartwool Mountaineer|
|[ ] Sunscreen|
|[ ] Lip Screen|
|[ ] 2 Nalgene Water Bottles|
|[ ] *Zip Lock for trash|
|[ ] Camera|
|[ ]*Toiletries and Toilet Paper|
|[ ] *Bowl/Mug Spoon/Spork|
|[ ] Shovel|
|[ ] *Camp Booties|
|[ ] *4 season tent|
|[ ] Meals and Snacks: You provide the food, we will cook it or teach you how!|
|First Aid Kit|
*Marks an item that is only needed for overnight trips.
On the One Day Summit Climb you will need one lunch and several snacks. For multi-day trips you will also need breakfast and dinner for each day on the mountain.
Lunch / Snacks
Your “lunches” are taken in the field throughout the day during short 10 to 15 minute breaks. We suggest crackers, pizza, candy bars, jerky, chips, cookies, trail mix, fruits, Gu, energy bars, and hard candies. Drink mixes such as Gatorade and Kool-Aid help flavor your water. Add peanut butter, cream cheese, hard cheese, or pepperoni for additional calories and taste. If you enjoy bread items, bagels work well. Include some salty snacks to replenish lost salts.
Single-serving instant oatmeal or Cream-of-Wheat makes a good main course fare. A variety of granola bars, pastries, fruit and a hot drink mix of coffee, tea, cocoa or cider are suggested.
Freeze-dried entrees are very convenient; it is best to be familiar with their taste in advance. Instant soups and Cup-o’-Noodles are great alternatives. To supplement, you might consider bringing chicken, pizza, sandwiches, pasta salads or stir-fry; something that doesn’t need to be cooked. A overnight favorite — bring coffee, tea, cocoa or cider to warm you up before bedtime.
Don’t worry too much about the nutritional aspect of meals; concern yourself more with a high calorie intake.
Don’t go over the top
When planning, don’t bring any items that require extensive preparation or cooking. We are able to provide you with boiling water, but do not have the ability to actually cook food items.
Please read through the following frequently asked questions and answers. These will help you prepare for your trip and get a better understanding of what to expect. Questions pertaining to Mountaineering immediately follow and Ice Climbing questions are further down. Thanks!
How long is a Mt. Washington Climb?
This depends on the group but anywhere from 8-10 hours.
What is the mileage of the Mt. Washington Climb?
The Lions Head Winter Route is approximately 8.8 miles round trip.
Where and when do we meet?
For Mt. Washington climbs, we will meet at 7AM sharp at the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, which is north of North Conway on Rt. 16. Wildcat Ski Area is very close to Pinkham. For other climbs please contact us for your location and time.
What should I wear?
When considering clothing, you have to think in layers. Baselayer, insulating layer (fleece or down jacket), and a down parka. Check out the Guides Pick Section of our website for more details. The boots and parka are your two key pieces of gear. Thermals and ski pants also work well for the lower body. Avoid cotton at all costs. Instead wear wool, synthetic materials, and goose down. When considering your backpack, make sure it is an appropriate size and it must have a waist strap. School bags are not appropriate for our climbs.
What are the conditions like above treeline?
The conditions range from calm and sunny to raging wind and whiteout and every mix in between. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Mt. Washington is known for the worst weather in the world. Temperatures are regularly -10 to -50 in the winter. A good jacket is critical.
Do I need snowshoes or crampons?
Typically the routes we use are used daily and thus get packed down, making snowshoes useless. Crampons are needed once past the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
What are “Mountaineering Boots?”
These are boots that are designed specifically for snow and very cold weather. They are often composed of an internal insulating boot and an exterior plastic or leather boot. Hiking boots and winter snow boots are not suitable for Mt. Washington or the high peaks of New England in the winter.
How can I pay for gear rentals?
You are welcome to send cash or a check before your climb, or you are welcome to pay on the day of your climb. We accept cash and check only. Please bring extra cash in the event that you rent more than you originally planned. Rentals must be paid for beforehand or on the day of the climb.
What happen if I damage my rental gear?
We offer rental gear insurance for $10. This covers any damage or loss that may occur to your rental gear. Without the insurance, you are responsible for the lost or damaged item(s).
Am I supposed to tip my guide(s)?
Tips are never expected, however if you think your guide did a great job, tips are welcomed and appreciated. A normal tip is the same as a waiter at a restaurant.
Can I climb something besides Mt. Washington?
Absolutely! We’ll do our best to cater to anything you have in mind. Send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Where should I stay?
We recommend the Old Red Inn in North Conway. They have wonderful cottages and Inn rooms for a very affordable rate. Mention you are with Northeast Mountaineering when booking for a discounted rate. We recommend that you stay in the area the night before your climb.
Do I need any experience?
Each climb that we offer has a range of experience levels as a prerequisite. Refer to the specific page of your proposed climb to see what experience is needed. Mt. Washington requires none at all. We ask that you are reasonably fit and can hike for entire day.
Is there a deposit to secure my spot on a climb?
Yes, we ask for $50/person to secure your spot. You will also need to send it a health form and liability waiver to participate.
Will there be people that I do not know on my climb?
Unless you book a private climb, you will most likely be climbing with others. Don’t worry though…climbing creates bonds and friendships.
How do I submit photos for the photo contest?
Email us your photos to email@example.com. Winners will be announced in mid May. Include your full name, what program or climb it was taken on, your phone number and email address, and a quick caption describing the photo.
What is the winter climbing season on Mt. Washington?
It usually runs from November to May.
Do you have a turn-around time?
We adhere to a strict turn-around time to maintain safety on the mountain. Depending on the time of year and when sunset is, our turnaround time is between 2PM and 3PM no matter where we are on the mountain. Making it to the summit in fading daylight is inviting bad circumstances to arise. Getting up and down safely is our first priority.
Do we climb in bad weather?
We will climb rain, snow, sleet, or shine. Unless we are forecasted to get the storm of the year, we will be climbing. Your best friend, besides your guide, will be appropriate clothing.
What is your cancellation policy?
Your $50 deposit is non-refundable, however the remaining balance will be returned or waived if you cancel 14 days before your scheduled climb date. Within 14 days, the total balance will be due.
What happens if I arrive late?
Unfortunately we can only wait for you for so long. In consideration for our other climbers, we will leave without you if you do not show up on time. Its only fair for those who arrived as scheduled. Please arrive on time and ready to go. If you still need to change, pack etc. when you arrive, that decreases our chance of making the summit before the turnaround time.
A non-refundable deposit of $50 per person secures your reservation. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due on the day of the climb.
There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 7 days before your program. Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.
Change of Date
Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 7 days prior to your departure date for a $25 fee per person. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 3 days prior to your departure date for a $50 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed less than 2 days before departure.
Safety is NEM’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them. NEM guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that improve your chance of reaching the summit without compromising the necessary margin of safety.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
NEMs program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. NEM has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, NEM cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
NEM reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip at any time if NEM determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.
Northeast Mountaineering cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities or the abilities of others may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party will have to turn around without reaching the summit. Your program fee entitles you to one summit attempt on your specified dates.