This past Saturday I had the pleasure of summiting Washington with 4 hardy climbers in very pleasant Spring weather while guiding for Northeast Mountaineering. This really is a cool time to climb Mount Washington as you start out in summer-like conditions but soon discover above treeline it is still winter. There is a lot of snow still up there and aspiring hikers should be aware that crampons and ice axe are still needed along with proper clothing.
We passed a group heading up the mountain while we were descending around 2 pm and they were crawling up the snowfields in sneakers with bare hands grasping at the snow while clad in sweatpants and flannel shirts. I considered chatting with them about their level of preparation for what lay ahead but allowed the “Tuckerman Spring Effect” to hold my tongue and we continued our descent. I regret not attempting the conversation. They ended up requiring some assistance to get off the mountain along with another party who needed a rescue off the auto road.
Make good choices folks! Three websites every White Mountain Hiker should be familiar with:
Mount Washington Observatory Higher Summits Forecast
Mount Washington Avalanche Center
And if you’re new to above tree-line hiking consider hiring a guide for your first time. It is probably much cheaper than a rescue.
Anyways, our hike was great. Here’s a quick video of the trip and a photo gallery:
Next up I started my rock climbing season yesterday while guiding on Whitehorse and Cathedral Ledge, trip report tomorrow, along with a review of the Ortovox Tour Rider 30 Backpack I skied with for most of the winter. Thanks for reading!
See you in the mountains,
Northeast Alpine Start
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5 thoughts on “Two Parties Rescued off Mount Washington”
Really enjoy your posts.
As always, have to ask what the app is you show as a screen shot.
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Haha, thanks Dave! That’s a screenshot of Avenza. The map is a custom job I made on CalTopo with data from USFS GPS coordinates. Pretty nice huh? I’m putting together a webinar on this very topic and hope to have it ready soon!
Thought it was Avenza, but the custom map explains it.
Look forward to the webinar.
I really think you (this is the generic “you”) should say something when you see people who look THAT unprepared heading into dangerous territory. They will usually brush off your concerns, I think, but maybe once in a while they would listen?
What is the “Tuckerman Spring Effect”?
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Thanks for the comment Moose Hunter. The decision to say something is tough for me as I remember climbing Washington as an under prepared teenager and those experiences were important to my growth as a climber. There is something to be said for “Freedom of the Hills” and we all have a right to go out here and figure it out as best we can. That said if the weather wasn’t as nice as it was I’m confident I would have spoken up. I do a few times every winter up there and have convinced more than one party that turning around would be prudent.
The “Tuckerman Spring Effect” is me referring to the huge increase in traffic the mountain sees this time of year, much of which is on the lower tiers of previous mountain experience. The USFS, AMC, and MW Volunteer Ski Patrol all do an amazing job interacting with and educating the thousands of weekend visitors seeking Spring skiing up there every weekend in April (and into May).