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john_hilgeman
02-22-2005, 02:58 PM
I'm new to the area and planning to do Mt. Washington before the winter slows down. I am just wondering what gear is necessary - ie. do I need my helmet, rope, screws or pro? I am planning to follow the lions head winter route. Are there avalanche shoots along this route? It would be great if someone who has done it could give me a general description of what to expect. I've done a number of other peaks this winter, including adam's, but I have heard so many warnings about washington that I want to be sure i am prepared. Also, any suggestions for a good map that shows the route? Thanks!

BrentD22
02-22-2005, 03:33 PM
You should purchase the White Mountain Guide from the AMC. It will give you a lot of information for hiking and backpacking in the white mountains. It has every trail, legths, descriptions, and maps to boot! Go to outdoors.org to purchase online. You can also purchase it in most book stores, ems, rei's, ect. Another good book you may want to look at purchasing is "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills". It has info, climbing tecneques, and it's just a good read, very educational. Good luck and prepare properly. Mt. Washington and it's surrounding peaks have the worst weather on earth!

giggy
02-22-2005, 03:51 PM
I have done it a few times - the AMC guide will give you almost nothing on the winter route.

for that route - you will not need screws, rope, etc.. since you have it - I am going to assume you tech climb as well - if so, this will be a breeze for you technical wise. What you will need is warm and windproof clothing. plan for subzero temps and -50 wind chills - probably won't be that bad - but you should plan for it. make sure no exposed skin.

mountaineering axe, spikes, will do - you shouldn't need snowshoes as tuckerman ravine trail ia always well packed due to the snowcat running up it. but that is your call - I have never used them on this trail or above treeline at anytime on washington - again your call on that.

fisrt couple miles - easy graded apprach via tuckerman trail - lion head winter route is very steep for a hiking trail - but if you ice climb, it won't seem steep at all!! probably has sectionss of 60-65 degree steepness - not exposed at all really.

I would be happy to talk to you via phone - hell - I might even go with you - Private message me for a phone number - I can give you much more detail on the route/mountain via conversation. I have a decent amount of time logged in the presidentials in the winter.

have fun.

DougPaul
02-22-2005, 04:00 PM
I'm new to the area and planning to do Mt. Washington before the winter slows down. I am just wondering what gear is necessary - ie. do I need my helmet, rope, screws or pro? I am planning to follow the lions head winter route. Are there avalanche shoots along this route? It would be great if someone who has done it could give me a general description of what to expect. I've done a number of other peaks this winter, including adam's, but I have heard so many warnings about washington that I want to be sure i am prepared. Also, any suggestions for a good map that shows the route? Thanks!

Ice axe and crampons are all you need to do Lion's head. It is an easy snow climb or a hike over (non-technical) ice and rock). (If you are a real klutz, then it might be worth having someone belay you. That said, I've never seen it done.)

Lion's Head has avalanched in some very heavy snow years. Not usually a problem. Check http://www.mountwashington.org/avalanche/index.html. (Mostly about the ravines, but occasionally mentions Lion's Head.)

The winter route is marked and the trail is marked by cairns above T-line.

There are somewhat easier (but more exposed to the weather) routes up from Marshfield Base (Cog Railway base).

Re Washington vs Mt Adams:
More exposed. The weather may be somewhat worse and shelter is farther away. If you wander in the wrong direction from either peak you can get into technical terrain. Mt Washington has a non-simple shape making slope-based navigation difficult. The weather and navigating in poor visibility are the main hazards on this mountain.

Agree with Brent22--get the guidebook. Adequately explained there.

Giggy:
60-65 degrees--no way.
Just measured it off the topo--steepest is 35 degress.


Doug

WildPeaks
02-22-2005, 04:16 PM
Always check the weather & conditions. And if it's nasty when you get to treeline, turn arround!

Jim lombard
02-22-2005, 04:44 PM
By DougPaul

(If you are a real klutz, then it might be worth having someone belay you. That said, I've never seen it done.)

I've never seen it done either, aren't there enough traffic jams on this trail! :D On a fine Saturday in January we had to wait in line going up and coming down this trail......it moved at about the same speed as a long line at a fast food joint.

David Metsky
02-22-2005, 04:51 PM
Here's a trip report (http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/whites/wash/index.html) from several years ago. It shows what I brought with me, and a fairly good representation of a nice weather day up the Rockpile. In bad weather things will look quite different.

-dave-

giggy
02-22-2005, 05:54 PM
35 degrees - ok - sounds good. I am really bad with angles on terrain. I read somewhere it had sections (I am thinking of the lower to middle sections where the bottlenecks occur) but your right - can't be that steep.

thanks for the correction.

DougPaul
02-22-2005, 07:50 PM
35 degrees - ok - sounds good. I am really bad with angles on terrain. I read somewhere it had sections (I am thinking of the lower to middle sections where the bottlenecks occur) but your right - can't be that steep.

thanks for the correction.

Sure--most people over-estimate slope angles, particularly if looking down. Until one's eye becomes calibrated, the only safe thing to do is measure it.

* If I stand vertically on a 65deg slope my outstreached hand will just touch it.
* Snow will frequently sluff off 65deg slopes rather than stick.
* IIRC, the steepest ski routes in Tuckerman are about 55deg.

And, of course, climbing 65 deg snow (more likely ice) is technical climbing.

The 35 degree number comes from the map, so it is an average over a distance. Short sections could be steeper. It has been quite a few years since I did Lion's Head, but I don't recall any sections anywhere near 65 degrees. (I'll bet that many hikers would have difficulty doing 65 degrees for even a short section--if it was a perminant trail, there would probably be a ladder.) The winter route is also changed from time to time.

Doug

HikerBob
02-22-2005, 08:02 PM
I started up the Lions Head winter route last February 28th (Dang! That was a quick year!) and turned around at this point...

http://www.bobspics.com/hike04/04-02-28/IMAGES/018.jpg

http://www.bobspics.com/hike04/04-02-28/IMAGES/019.jpg

I have a back problem so can't twist and turn as well as most and I always err on the cautious side. If it had been completely snow/ice covered I'd have had no trouble but the crumbling ice and bare rock made it a little too risky for me.

Bob

Frodo
02-22-2005, 08:19 PM
Just a slight correction. The lower part of the Winter Lion Head IS steeper than 35 degrees. I have done this route numerous times (though I prefer all other routes rather than this one up Washington due to climber traffic :eek: ), and have measured it with my inclinometer to be in the mid 50 degree range. It is a rather short section, so I belive it would be difficuilt to measure on a topo. Speaking of that, how did you measure the 35 degrees on a topo? Obviously you need 2 legs of the triangle to measure an angle (unless you already know one of the angles), and one being the vertical elevation, but how did you estimate the horizontal leg?

DougPaul
02-22-2005, 08:45 PM
Just a slight correction. The lower part of the Winter Lion Head IS steeper than 35 degrees. I have done this route numerous times (though I prefer all other routes rather than this one up Washington due to climber traffic :eek: ), and have measured it with my inclinometer to be in the mid 50 degree range. It is a rather short section, so I belive it would be difficuilt to measure on a topo. Speaking of that, how did you measure the 35 degrees on a topo? Obviously you need 2 legs of the triangle to measure an angle (unless you already know one of the angles), and one being the vertical elevation, but how did you estimate the horizontal leg?

You have 2 points on a topo--a distance between them (horiz) and a difference in elevation (vert).

But I cheated and traced the route on a digital topo and made an elevation plot of the route. I selected the steepest section and the program told me the percent grade. Finally punched a few buttons on my calculator to convert the percent into an angle.

HikerBob's first picture shows the hiker leaning forward. Steeper than 35 deg, but less than 65 deg. Can't judge the second picture due to the straight on view.

Doug