AMC's Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains
by Robert N. Buchsbaum (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
© Robert N. Buchsbaum/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.
Great trail with a steep rocky section near the end. Best go in dry weather so you don't slip on rocks. Canopy kept out the hot sun well. Rewarding view at the top of the Notch and Mt. Washington
This was the only day on our journey to New Hampshire when it didn't rain. We were fortunate as the weather conditions were agreeable the entire day. Started out around 9:15am at Pinkham Notch and summitted in 4 hours. Happy to have used our telescoping trekking poles which we put in our packs when hands free became the better option. Took Tuckerman Ravine trail to Lion Head for ascent as Tuckerman Ravine was closed due to ice sheets. Took same trip down. We agreed that this "hike" was truly a climb and is definitely a difficult physical challenge. We are a 45 year old married couple who ran the NYC marathon together in November. We compared the feeling of our legs after Mt. Washington to the post marathon feel. It is not for the inexperienced. We packed pants, fleece, hat, gloves, 2 gatorades each, gel packs, and PBJs for eating at the summit. The hike/climb down was a bit over 3 hours and was physically challenging too. You must have stamina to experience this unforgettable trail and summit. It is very rocky terrain nearly the entire way. The reward and satisfaction are immeasurable though.
Actually , My party decided to take the Lions Head trail, given the trail closure signs and the promise for exceptional views. We were not disappointed. The view in the first ascent/clearing after Hermit Lake was exceptional. However, the path from the Alpine garden junction proved arduous, especially as the weather deteriorated. At the point of summit capture, my younger colleagues were very concerned over my well being. I only had my family to think of, and I thought of them as I stumbled over the threshold toward the summit center. Our mistake- not enough caloric intake. I had 2 turkey sandwiches and we left our candy bars at Hermit Lake. I'm lucky to have made it to the summit. I have no regrets. I will likely go again to tackle Huntington Ravine, once I am more seasoned. This was my first hike in 10 years, and it was a formidable challenge. I am both humble and proud to have gained the summit of Mount Washington.
This is possibly the best trail in New Hampshire for winter hiking. We did the roundtrip - up and back - in 7 hours in Crampons. The beginning of the trail is rather straghtforward, well walked and packed, and a relatively low grade. Then all of a sudden you are in the bowl - Wow! Completely ice covered and spectacular. Trail blazing in winter is non-existent in winter, so you need a good GPS or a guide. We went up in some of the best winter weather ever, but the trail is impossible to discern by markers or cairns. The ascent up the side of the bowl is a crampon-only event in winter - very steep and slick. Of course, the big challenge of Mt Washington is the bad and changeable weather, so dont attempt this without full 'sleep-out/survival' gear in winter, because a nice day can close in and become a storm within 30 minutes. If you get stranded it is a relatively short walk to the west to the AMC hut at Lake of the Clouds.
There is no better walk in NH, enjoy?
This is an amazing trail which affords many great views of the ravine as you ascent Mount Washington. Personally, I branch off of Tuckerman Ravine trail and opt for Lion Head on the ascent, and then return via Tuckerman Ravine for the trip down.
Extremely rewarding hike, but be forewarned... not for the inexperienced. I am not an expert, but on the first trip, we were held back by a less experienced hiker and were unable to reach the summit due to time and a developing storm. The person who held us back was a fit, athletic person... however the trail is relentless in its ascent and endurance is far more necessary than strength. The trail is extremely rocky and can be very slick in wet conditions, which can happen at anytime due to Washington's notorious weather.
Overall, I love this mountain and I love this route, but it is a difficult trail which should not be taken lightly.
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