Ascent of Mount Washington on 2014-09-28

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Edward Earl
Date:Sunday, September 28, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Washington
    Elevation:7794 ft / 2375 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our successful ascent of 3FJ, we parted ways with Sam, who had a flight to catch in Portland back to New Jersey. Edward and I made the loooong drive over to the Mt Washington TH from the 3FJ TH, 4 miles or so. We found a nice place to set up camp off the dirt roads near the PCT TH. After a hearty dinner and some light reading, we hit the sack, ready to wake up early for our ascent of Washington.

We parked off the road to the youth camp in order to save some flat/dull mileage along the PCT from the official TH. Grab a wilderness permit from the official TH if you do this as they are required (no quota) for day hikes. We found the turn off for the climber's trail quite easily. It is very noticeable branching off to the left and marked with a large cairn. Edward's beta indicated that we should take the right fork that appears after 150 ft or so. I thought we should keep left on the more used trail, but Edward's recollection of the beta was to the right. The trail to the right is nice and easy to follow. We ended up angling towards the west face as we broke out of the trees above a boulder field. We knew that this was not correct, so we broke out the beta. As it turns out, we should have taken the left fork. No big deal though. We were close enough to the ridge that 10 minutes of off-trail hiking through the woods brought us to the ridge anyway. It was very windy on the ridge, so by taking the wrong route, we actually saved ourselves some discomfort of hiking in the wind. We made our way up the well-worn use trail to the slight descent to the right (west) and then up the gully to the saddle.

At this point, we had entered the cloud and visibility was cut to less than 100 ft. As we tried to ascertain the route up from the saddle, I am 99% positive that we got off route to the left. I led the first pitch, though my communication with Edward was completely cut off. I ended up getting into a gully a bit too far to the left and encountered significant rope drag. I yelled to Edward for slack - no response. I ended up pulling enough slack to make a few moves and then backing off. I then headed right over a small arete and into the correct gully. At this point I was directly over Edward. I could now communicate with him better. We made plans for my continuing lead. I would get to the anchor, set up and then begin hauling the rope. When it went taught, that would be Edward tied in. I also had him move to climber's right to get out of the fall zone for the inevitable rock fall that my climb would generate. I made short work of the correct route at this point, though getting to the correct route from my misadventure required a few moves higher than 5.0, probably 5.4 or so. I reached the anchors in good order and realized that I had completely ran out the entire pitch without placing any pro as there were zero opportunities to place anything that would have held a fall. I toproped Edward up to the belay stance and we immediately re-set for the next move up. Edward scouted the way ahead while I coiled the rope and caught up to him.

We ended up climbing a nice solid pitch to the left of where you rappel down from the next anchor. It was more difficult climbing (5.4-5.5), but solid and I was able to place protection for the crux move. This was short and I was then on to a bit of easy scrambling for a bit until I hit a 10 ft chimney which I climbed and set a quick anchor to belay Edward up. We then coiled the rope again and climbed unroped to the summit, spotting the rap anchors we would use later for our descent. The summit was windy, but not unbearable. We took some photos at both piles of rock that looked like high points and then signed into the register. We decided to eat below the summit, out of the wind, in the hopes of catching views of 3FJ or Jefferson through the clouds. Naturally, we had no views of either peak. We walked down to the upper belay station where I inspected it and decided to add one of my own pieces of webbing to the 2 that were there as one looked pretty shitty. So, if you are up there anytime soon, the black webbing is mine and was placed on this descent.

Two quick rappels put us back on the saddle and we lucked out by not having to get a rope unstuck. The hike down the ridge was uneventful as the clouds cleared and we had spectacular views of 3FJ and Jefferson - go figure. We met another party pretty low on the ridge on their ascent. They were happy to hear that they would have the peak to themselves. The rest of the hike out was uneventful and we took a split towards the youth camp from the PCT to reach our car in a more efficient manner.

No stats as I forgot my GPS...
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3114 ft / 949 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3114 ft / 949 m
    Route:North Ridge
    Start Trailhead:4680 ft / 1426 m
Descent Statistics

This page has been served 1007 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2021 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service