I thought I would skip ahead a few sections to include this part at this time of year. After all, it makes more sense to read this now, then in say, July. There have been several threads on lost, missing, or fatalities experienced in the Whites this year. I just wanted to provide this a historical look back at our beloved Whites. It is not intended as an opportunity to re-hash any recent threads. Should any Mod decide to lock this so it doesn’t get controversial, so it can only be read, that’s OK by me, I’m certainly not offended. After all, I’m from NH too, anyone is free to do what they want as long as its for the good of themselves and others too.

P 468-“Although winter climbs of Mt Washington have become frequent, the mountain at this season must be treated as the equivalent of an Alpine peak. That is, its ascent involves difficulties and dangers such as are ordinarily found only upon snow-covered mountains of twice its altitude. Hence it should be attempted only by climbers of experience, possessing special knowledge and skill, and capable of high-endurance. There have been six winter fatalities upon the mountain, and many narrow escapes. Good luck cannot be wholly relied upon to save ill-prepared and ill-conducted parties from serious mishap.”

P 468-General Cautions-“Winter climbing requires far more stamina than climbing in summer, because of the arduous going underfoot, the impossibility of comfortable prolonged rests, and the terrific drain on vitality of the cold itself…have plenty of warm woolen clothing, but do not wear too much while climbing…Some special protection is needed against the wind and for this the Eskimo-style parka of light wind-proof cloth is incomparable. Never set out to climb the mountain alone; the safe party is not less than three. Parties should unconditionally keep together. They should not be too large, or too diverse in natural speed and climbing ability; faster members will tend not to wait sufficiently for slower ones, or will become chilled if they do so…Be prepared to turn back, especially when emerging above timberline, if conditions prove bad. There is no disgrace about this; it would be done on any Alpine climb.” Footnote reads :”If the Observatory is operating, detailed reports are always available at Pinkham Notch Camp and usually at the Base Station of the cog railway. During the winter of 1935-36, the US Weather Bureau shared with the Blue Hill Observatory the expense of the Mt Washington station. It is hoped that the Government may eventually establish a permanent observatory here.”

P 469-Winter Conditions- “Fall snow is usually light and does not retain and consolidate to put a heavy covering over the mountains…In April and May, while the snow is disappearing on the lower trails, that above timberline melts and reforms into a surface of granular texture, the so-called “corn snow” of the skier. This is the season for high-level skiing…Climbers must expect to find two-thirds of the days from Thanksgiving to Easter unsuited to an ascent and should make plans accordingly; rigid programs are totally out of place.”

P 470-Equipment- “Snowshoes are still the only practical means of travel on steep, narrow trails. Whether of the bearpaw or the beavertail model, they should be relatively small, for mountain climbing, and should project only 3 or 4 in. beyond the cross-piece in front, with no prominent upturn, as otherwise it will be difficult or impossible to drive the toes in when kicking steps up steep slopes. Indispensable are small “snowshoe creepers,” laced to the webbing under the ball of the foot. With skis, sealskins or their equivalent will facilitate climbing on the trails. A towing line is helpful where skis are taken along over the summit. On the hard snow and ice above timberline crampons, the modern Alpine development of ice-creepers are required. Light ones have 4 or 6 spikes, heavy ones 10,12, or more…A storm suit, or its equivalent, consisting of a light wind-proof hooded parka and trousers of the same material, together with gauntlets into which interchangeable woolen liners may be slipped, will be found desirable. A woolen helmet with drawstring so that all but the eyes may be covered is valuable in case of storm.”

P 471-Trail-Finding- “Blazes are sometimes covered by snow, sometimes indistinct or lacking…Blowdowns may obscure a section of trail entirely. In the absence of blazes it is necessary to go by the signs of cut branches, showing where the trail has been cleared. Most of all there is needed a certain woods instinct of where a trail ought to go, which will enable it to be picked up again after a difficulty.”

P 472-continues-“ To circle the cone in the idea of striking the Carraige Road is of doubtful value, as it is totally obscured in some places. The cog railway is indeed unmistakable, but it lies upon the windward side of the mountain, which at such times is usually to be avoided. The worst possible course is to ‘ just keep going up,’ in the idea that the summit must finally be reached.”

P 472-Access and Climbing Bases-“The caretaker of the cog railway lives throughout the winter at the Base Station but he has no provision for climbers. Never plan to camp out the night before making the climb. A very difficult art in itself, winter camping makes great demands upon the vitality, which should be saved and built up for the next day’s effort. A good night’s sleep, a warm breakfast, and an early start are essential preliminaries for the climb; very few winter campers are likely to secure any of them.”

P 472-Shelters- “ Camden Cottage- upon the summit itself is suitable for an overnight stay. It is snug and easily heated by a large stove. There are nine bunks with mattresses. If the Observatory in the stage office is occupied blankets may be rented there. A supply of chunk wood is provided, either inside or outside, with an axe and a buck-saw. Cooking and eating utensils are meager, and there is no light…The other shelters on the mountain are suitable only for emergency use. The Halfway House on the Carriage Road can be entered through the rear door but has no equipment except a kitchen range, a poor heater. Wood supply generally on the SE side of the building…The so-called ‘Halfway Shelter’ on the cog railway at 4,600 feet altitude or timberline, is a wooden building, only 10 feet square, devoid of all equipment and furnishings whatsoever. The windows, frequently broken by vandals have been boarded up. The door is often insecurely fastened, so that the interior becomes partly filled with snow. It is completely exposed to the violent NW winds…At the Lakes of the Clouds Hut one room is left open for emergencies. There are four bunks and some blankets, and a kerosene stove; small supplies of food and kerosene are left in the fall. Owing to careless closing of the door, snow in large quantities often whirls into the room; please close the door properly. The building is in a very cold and windy location.”