Mount Washington Ascent 4/6/13

This past Saturday I got to summit Mount Washington with three guys from NYC and a gal from Boston. The mountain was quite busy with early Spring skier’s and folks attempting to summit so we looked for way to maximize our fun without getting bogged down in the larger groups on the mountain, and we found it!

Hitting the trail
Hitting the trail

The bottom portion of the Tuckerman Ravine trail was super busy with early Spring skiers  many hiking up wearing downhill ski boots (ouch). We were happy to see the crowds thin out as we left the Tuck’s trail and started our ascent of the Winter Lion’s Head trail. As we neared treeline a couple groups that were ahead of us turned around. 60+ mph winds and -30 wind-chills were defeating anyone without goggles & facemask.

A bit nasty at tree-line, a few groups ahead of us turned around here...
A bit nasty at tree-line, a few groups ahead of us turned around here…

The largest group ahead of us had seemed to lose the trail, or were following some random tracks 60 yards right of the trail, and were making there way through deeper snow on the edge of Raymond Cataract. We stuck to the packed trail and soon passed them.

Wildcat in the background
Wildcat in the background
Started to clear below Lion's Head
Started to clear below Lion’s Head
Molly poses with the top of Tuckerman Ravine behind her
Molly poses with the top of Tuckerman Ravine behind her
Looking strong...
Looking strong…

While all the other groups that persisted headed up to Split Rock, and a strong NW wind, I decided to break off and set a gentle traverse up the consolidated snow-fields to the right of the main trail. This route left us more protected from the winds right up to the lower parking lot, and with a few switchbacks we were able to maintain a solid pace…

Leaving the trail for a more direct (and more sheltered from the wind) line up to the summit
Leaving the trail for a more direct (and more sheltered from the wind) line up to the summit
Success!
Success!

We descended a direct line back down the snowfields in cushy walking conditions (calf deep powder).

Romping down the summit snowfields in fresh powder...
Romping down the summit snowfields in fresh powder…

Realizing that there would be some bottle-necking on the Winter Lion’s Head trail, and considering Lobster Claw gully had LOW avalanche danger and great booting conditions we opted for that as a descent.

A quick descent down Lobster Claw Gully
A quick descent down Lobster Claw Gully
One last shot below Tuck's
One last shot below Tuck’s

A great day with a great group, hope to see all of you on one of our Observatory Overnight trips next winter!

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