Monday, December 14, 2009

Mt Washington...

This past weekend was my first attempt at Mountaineering. It was one of the most Difficult, Intense, Scary, and Awesome things I have ever done.
We rolled into North Conway New Hampshire Friday afternoon. By 8:25 Saturday morning we started our attempt of Mt. Washington.The conditions were not in our favor. They had received nearly 3 feet of snow the previous couple of days, and the winds on the summit were forecast at 75-90mph.

This was Lander's first time as well, lucky for us Bob had some experience and our guide was great.We started off moving at a pretty brisk pace. It was obvious Craig, our Guide wanted a shot at the summit. The first mile and a half wasn't too bad. A few people ahead of us had broken trail. We made it to the lean to shelter pretty quickly, but that was easy part. It's hard to describe what the rest of the trip was like. After the shelter the trail gets steep, I mean really effin' steep. Add waist deep snow and it was twice as hard. We arrived to the edge of tree line and it was time for summit gear. I thought I was ready for what came next, but I had know idea.
This is me at Lion's Head. I almost didn't make it that far. On our way to Lion's Head my goggles froze and I could barely see. I took a step slightly off trail and post holed to my hip. I tried to pull out of it but ended up stuck. It took all I had to get up and moving again. We rested for a bit, but I was feeling it now. Plus while trying to eat and drink i made the mistake of setting my gloves down and watched them start to blow off the mountain. Craig managed to catch one of them, but that wasn't going to do me much good. luckily I still had my mittens. We left the cover and hit the scree. This is where it got scary. This was my first experience with serious wind and cold. The scree is an exposed rocky, icy ridge where the wind gets amplified by the ravine. It was gusting around 40mph. We made it across and were set to try the summit. We could now see the guys that started before we did struggling to break trail through waist deep snow. We took an assessment of our situation. It was 1:30, we were over an hour from the summit, the wind on the summit was blowing over 70mph, and we would still have to get back down. We decided it was time to turn back. I have zero regrets with that decision.
On the way back across the scree the winds were gusting over 50mph, it was all I could do to not get blown over. On the way back we stopped at Lion's Head for a quick break, and Craig wondered off and came back with my glove. I couldn't believe it. The trip down wasn't easy, but we made without any problems.

We were all happy with how we did, and are already talking a bout a return trip soon. Hopefully the mountain is a little more cooperative next time.




JenBob said...

the weather was perfect today.

airing out said...

Buddy, you look dead in that photo. burr!