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Ascent of Mount Washington on 2012-08-14

Climber: David Fitch

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Motorcycle
Peak:Mount Washington
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:6288 ft / 1916 m

Ascent Trip Report

Having never climbed in the White Mountains, decided to do a solo ridge loop of Mount Washington and neighboring peaks. Followed weather forecasts carefully and when a brief window of opportunity opened with partly sunny days, it was load up the BMW K1200RS and off to climb. Based upon trip reports, I decided that the Caps Ridge Trail to Jefferson, then the Gulfside Trail with the Clay loop to Mount Washington looked like a challenging ascent with great summit views. From there I would decide whether to do the Monroe loop or just head down.

I parked at the Ammonoosuc trailhead and hiked the Jewel trail to the Boundary Line trail and then the Jefferson Notch road to the Caps Ridge trail. The Jewel Trail is a pleasant hike in the woods but had hoped to hitch a ride up Jefferson Notch. Instead I had a 2.6 mile invigorating hike. Caps Ridge has some challenging rock scrambles with some steep ascents and then some mildly steep ridges. I enjoyed the trail and challenge. The clouds came in at the summit so few views but had an interesting visit at the summit with a fellow Peakbagger who was completing his NH 48th with Jefferson Mountain as his last.

I was glad I took the Mount Clay loop. It was much less traveled with most sticking to the AT trail. I had the summit to myself with the clouds lifted and great views of the Great Gulf Wilderness.
Mount Washington was a grueling climb for the last 0.3 mile but with clear skies and no wind, offered great views and was not as crowded as expected.

Took the Crawford Notch trail to Lake of the Clouds hut and decided to complete the Monroe loop before heading down despite the clouds threatening to the West. I was told the Ammonoosuc trail down would go easily so I wasn't as worried about the threat of weather.

The Ammonoosuc trail was far more challenging than reported, with long sections of granite slides and rubble filled trails following a mountain stream down. It was a long and tiring 3 miles, some of the hardest of the day. A Mount Washington ascent up this trail looks like it would be a challenge. It would be a long rock hopping climb and would offer little in the way of flat segments as a respite.
Total time on the climb was 10 hours, traveling about 14.5 miles. I would like to do the Presidential Traverse someday but wonder how long it would take me. I doubt I could do a 11 hour hike as some do. There were a surprising number of uberhikers that I met along the way.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route:Gulfside Trail
    Time Up:1 Hours 3 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Route:Crawford Notch Trail
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by David Fitch
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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