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Ascent of Mount Washington on 2010-08-16

Climber: Eric Noel

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, August 16, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Washington
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:6255 ft / 1906 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had heard that the routefinding was tricky on this but I had also heard that there was a good bootpath. Hmmm. Those are somewhat incompatible statements. Anyway, so I gave up ever getting someone who had done the peak before to join me for a repeat but I did wait until after the snow would be mostly gone to take full advantage of the bootpath. I picked this as a nice short hike for a ridiculously hot day. Stupid sun. I'll have the last laugh when your ass goes all white dwarf in 6.5 billion years.

The drive was easy and the TH was easily found since another party of 11 was gearing up as I arrived. Find the TH just at the HP of the road where a large turnoff can be found and a boulder marks the start of the route. Finding the start of the route is mandatory as this would otherwise be heinous especially after snowmelt. The mountain is steep as my GPS claimed a start of 3080' and a straight line distance of only 94/100ths of a mile. The actual distance of the bootpath is greater by some unknown amount but this is one steep path. The map is also less helpful than it could be due to the silly 80 foot contours. For the most part, the climber's path really is fairly easy to follow. Some braiding but it seems fairly direct. Just keep keen because if you get off route there is lots of nasty terrain lurking. The path is actually gentler as it goes through reasonable forest for a while until breaking out into a flat meadow at 4000'. From here it steepens up bit but just continue on. Once reaching a waterfall at maybe 4800' I followed the large group and their route to the left of the falls. There also looks to be another route further right. You punch out into another flattish basin at about 5000' and now you can start to see the route. In the basin there was a trail fork and I took the Middle (right?) fork on the ascent and the left fork on the descent. I think the left fork option seemed less steep and exposed for the descent. Anyway, if taking the middle fork you zig zap up some gullies and then do a traverse from R to L to gain a ramp of sorts at 5600'. Watch for this junction on the descent as it is easy to miss where you need to turnoff under the cliffs to get back to the lower basin. The ramp was ascended via a bit of snow and some scree until reaching a ridgeline of sorts that is wide. Turn R and it will be obvious for a bit until the ridge narrows. From here I stuck with the best path which traverses R on a somewhat exposed ledge. This eventually wraps around to just below the summit block. There are several routes up the summit block and they are not hard. I rate the whole thing as no worse than easy class 3. The crux of this peak is the steep climber's path. Also you really do need to stay on route as there are lurking cliffs. There is some exposure in certain places although generally the worst of it is encountered while doing class 1. Nice mtn and nice views but too damn hot.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3215 ft / 980 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Route 1 Trail
    Trailhead:FS 2419  3080 ft / 938 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3 Trail
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Fricking Hotter than Hot



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