Last Saturday, Brett and team set out from The Bunkhouse at 8:30am for a climb of Mt. Washington. The weather forecast we perfect with sunny skies and 25-35mph winds. In the Valley, the birds were chirping and it felt like spring.
We hit the trail head at 9am and set a ramped pace. We reached the Huntington Ravine cutoff trail at 9:30 and were feeling great! By 10:15 we were at Lion’s head winter route, had a snack, water, crampons on and ice axes out! Onward and upward. The trail had been hard packed snow and icy in spots, which made for great walking. Assuming that the snow was melting out, I expected the “hillary step” to be the same, long, and rocky. When we got to the bottom, it was a short ice step about 30 inches high, a rope handrail wasn’t necessary. Few steps with great hand holds on the trees was all it took. Everyone crushed it with ease. Again, onward and upward!
Tree line was delightful with visibility forever, or so it seemed. There was one small cloud in the sky, I guess the weather men were wrong. We took a long break there and ate some food and enjoyed the sun. As we looked up the trail you could see the snow blowing which told me that we were soon to be in the wind. We added a layer, got our goggles and buffs ready and started out for Lion’s Head. Not long later, we were battling the 20mph winds. The air temperature was close to 40 degrees so the wind chill was still well above zero.
The traverse across the alpine garden, up to split rock and to the summit were fantastic. Great trail conditions allowed the group to arrive at the crowded summit in great style. There were many skiers and snowboarders at the top as well as the snow cat loading up and getting ready to descend with some edu-tour participants. We tagged the summit and then descended. We stopped a few times on the descent to watch the skiers in Tuckerman’s Ravine and on the Snowfields.
This climb was about redemption and overcoming short-comings. Two of the six climbers had reached Lion’s head last year. They spent all year training and climbing stairs…they were determined to summit. They Did! Nice job guys!