Jan 29 – Mt Washington

Unlike the day before, Sunday brought snow, clouds, and wind. I knew when I woke up that today would be a bit of a battle on the upper mountain. We got a late start with 3 climbers from Boston. About 30 minutes into our climb up Tux trail, one climber began falling behind so I stayed back with him while Brett carried on with the 2 others. He mentioned that it felt like his feet had pins and needles so we loosened his boots a bit, which gave him his second wind and by the end of the day he was ready to summit! Its amazing what little things like a tight boot, or a pack not fitted properly can do. A blister could ruin a climb, or a broken pack strap could knock the energy out of you. Regardless, we cruised up the ski trail to the Fire Road and geared up for the upcoming steep sections. Today we decided to fore go the handrail for protection and we climbed up it, but not before waiting in the traffic jam for 10 minutes. As we approached tree line, we met a few parties on their way down after turning back before Lions Head due to winds and low visibility. The forecast called for decreasing winds as the day went on so I guess our late start was a blessing as we encountered very little wind on the climb from tree line to Lions Head. We took a break at Lions Head and watched as a few more parties turned around at the beginning of the Alpine Garden. We figured we’d give it our best shot and at least get to experience the high winds that Mt. Washington is capable of. The traverse to the Summit Cone was indeed windy, but not nearly as bad as I expected when I woke up that morning. Sustained winds of about 40-45mph. As usual the winds died down passed the traverse. We were set for a summit, until one of the climbers had an old injury from service in Iraq started acting up. He made a very smart move by deciding to come back another day to finish the climb. The other two climbers, also in the military, decided they would also turn back so they could all come back another day together. We’re looking forward to their return so they can stand on top of New England!
*Note: My camera was in my pocket and my sweat created condensation on the lens. When I took it out to take a picture, the water froze.. hence the crummy quality on the photos.

Climbing to Lions Head

The guys at Lions Head

Brett on the windy traverse to the summit cone.

On the traverse to the summit cone.