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JungleCat Jul 14th, 2003 11:12 AM

Mount Washington, NH hike stats
I know that the total height above sea level for Mt. Washington is 6,288 feet but I'm looking for the actual elevation gain from the base of the mountain to the summit.

Also, does anyone have any experience and/or suggestions with this hike? Thanks.

gc Jul 14th, 2003 11:23 AM

The Mount Washington Observatory maintains a site to educate visitors to the mountain. Hiking guides can be found at:

Be advised that Mt. Washington is one of, if not the most fatal mountain in the world, due in large part to people not taking it seriously.

elberko Jul 14th, 2003 11:24 AM is good for hiking info:

FlyFish Jul 14th, 2003 11:33 AM

Depends on where you start. From the east, starting at the AMC Pinkham Notch facility you're at 2011 ft, for an elevation gain of 4,277. From the west, the Cog Railway Base is about 2570 ft, for a gain of 3,718. The highest trailhead is on Jefferson Notch Road (also the highest public road in NH) at 3011 ft, and the lowest is probably the base of the auto road, also known as Glen House, which is at about 1600 ft. There are of course lower places to start from, but they would take you over other peaks first so really don't count as trailheads for Mt. Washington.

I've done the Presidentials many, many times - if you can indicate your experience level and the type of hike you're looking for I can recommend specific routes.

JungleCat Jul 14th, 2003 12:12 PM

Thanks everyone.

FlyFish - My group and I are relative beginners to hiking (we usually do mountain biking instead). We've done a few hikes here in NJ but there's nothing close to Mt Washington.

This weekend, we completed a 1,050 ft climb with a steep grade and we had room to spare, physically. We plan to keep doing hikes at one a week until Mt Washington on August 22. We're not looking for anything like "Eco-Challenge" but since it will likely be our last hike for the summer, a challenging ascent with decent footing and nice views would be great.

So far, from our limited knowledge, Tuckerman's Ravine seems to fit the bill but I'd definitely appreciate your suggestions.

FlyFish Jul 14th, 2003 12:50 PM

JungleCat - From what you've said, I think that Tuck's would be good, for a couple of reasons. First, you'll be starting from the AMC base camp, where you can get an accurate read on the summit weather and forecast, and also purchase a map and/or guidebook. Please don't start up without at least a map and compass - the summit can sock in very quickly and the cairns above tree line can be a bit difficult to follow under those circumstances. You'll also be able to speak with some very knowledgeable people there and get last minute recommendations on your proposed route, and also sign the register so people will know where to go looking for you, if necessary (be sure to sign out when you return). Second, the Tuck's trail route is about the easiest way up and, being on the east, is usually sheltered from the wind.

The climb up to the base of the ravine - which is actually a glacial cirque - is very easy on a tractor road. From there, the climb up the headwall is very steep and can be slippery in wet weather. It can also be a bit of a challenge for anyone who's uncomfortable about heights and ledge, but really not that big a deal. From the top of the headwall to the summit is a moderately steep slog over large boulders.

The headwall isn't the easiest way down, so consider doing a small loop by taking Davis Path from the summit, then to Glen Boulder trail, which leads back down to Pinkham. That route will give you very nice views both west (initally) and then east. It is very exposed, however, so don't do it if there is any question on the weather.

Bring extra clothes - I've done that route several times in early September and been snowed on more than once, and don't hesitate to turn back if there is any question about the weather. You should be aware of where and how far Lakes of the Clouds hut is as it will be your best refuge on the upper part of Davis Path if things really get bad. The summit buildings can't be recommended as a refuge unless you are very close so the summit because the weather can really get much worse with increasing altitude.

All of that said, many many people climb the mountain every year without incident and there's no need to worry - just be aware and use common sense.

gc Jul 14th, 2003 01:51 PM

If you run out of gas, or the weather socks in after your Mt. Washington ascent, can you get a one way ticket back down on the train or one of the tour vans?

FlyFish Jul 14th, 2003 02:12 PM

Yes, you can, or at least you could - though neither option is cheap. About 30 years ago I foolishly ascended via the Great Gulf headwall in a pair of new boots and developed serious blisters about halfway up. I took one of the vans down - one of the better decisions I've made (the van that is, not the boots).

I'm not 100% positive about riding the train down (though I'm sure they'd arrange something if necessary), but I have ridden the train UP several times and hiked back down. Nice outing, if you're not up for a real strenuous day.

JungleCat Jul 15th, 2003 09:00 AM

I read a ton of stories from others experiences but your description is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for you help!

zootsi Jul 15th, 2003 11:17 AM

Great thread! If for some reason Mt. Washington is not feasable, consider Mt. Lafayette or Mt. Eisenhower. Both are a few hours shorter than Washington, but are still quite spectacular(above tree line) and challenging.

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