Ascent of Mount Washington on 2009-05-24

Climber: Jim Van Lenten

Others in Party:Mark Van Lenten
John Van Lenten
Jonathan Van Lenten
Date:Sunday, May 24, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Washington
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:6288 ft / 1916 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started from Pinkham Notch at about 0800, after eating a hardy breakfast buffet at the lodge. Temps were in the high 50's, with the threat of rain. We took the Tuckerman's Ravine trail to the Hermit Lake shelters, and at this point it started to drizzle with temps in the mid 50's. We had already decided to take the Lion's Head trail from here when the rangers informed us that Tuckerman's trail was closed from this point up due to the threat of ice drops. Lion's Head trail is a steep, rocky trail. It's more like hopping from rock to rock than hiking up a trail. The rain became steady and the winds picked up, with strong gusts that would almost knock you over if you didn't brace yourself. The temps began dropping into the 40's. Lion's Head and Tuckerman's trails meet at the top of the Tuckerman's Ravine headwall, for the final push to the summit. At this point, visibility was about 20 feet, being just enough to see the next cairn. The trail finally hit the auto-road (watch out for cars in the poor visibility), cross the parking lot, up a long flight of stairs to the summit marker! At the marker, visibility was about 5 feet, temp was 45 degrees and the wind was very strong (I would guess 50-60 mph). We went inside the "tourist hut" to dry off and get something to eat. The summit was still engulfed in clouds when we started our descent. At the trail junction at the top of the headwall, we took the Tuckerman's trail until it met up with the Boott Spur trail, which we took all the way down until it rejoined the Tuckerman trail near the start point. We had some great views of the Lion's Head and Tuckerman's Ravine from this trail, which goes down the opposite side of the ravine from that we went up on. The total distance was about 11.4 miles and we were back in the car by about 1900. It was a great trip, but as all the other reports say, make sure you are prepared for the weather/temp changes!!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4260 ft / 1298 m
    Elevation Loss:4260 ft / 1298 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Very Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4260 ft / 1298 m
    Route:Lion's Head Trail
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Lodge  2028 ft / 618 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4260 ft / 1298 m
    Route:Boott Spur Trail
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Lodge  2028 ft / 618 m

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