Training to Hike Mount Washington

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  1. #1

    Training to Hike Mount Washington

    I would like to hike Mount Washington this summer. I've hiked a couple of times in the past (Killington from Snowshed, Mount Beacon in NY, Belleayre from the mid mountain lodge), but I'm not a hiker. I assume that I have to train hiking smaller mountains and learn how to use a compass, etc.



    I'm in good physical shape, so I don't think that's an issue. Any suggestions as to which mountains to hike to train to hike Mount Washington? I live close to NYC, so please don't send me to hike a mountain in Maine! I would like to progress from the less challenging mountains to mountains that are challenging before I move to Mount Washington. Any tips?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by skiersleft View Post
    I would like to hike Mount Washington this summer. I've hiked a couple of times in the past (Killington from Snowshed, Mount Beacon in NY, Belleayre from the mid mountain lodge), but I'm not a hiker. I assume that I have to train hiking smaller mountains and learn how to use a compass, etc.

    I'm in good physical shape, so I don't think that's an issue. Any suggestions as to which mountains to hike to train to hike Mount Washington? I live close to NYC, so please don't send me to hike a mountain in Maine! I would like to progress from the less challenging mountains to mountains that are challenging before I move to Mount Washington. Any tips?
    Can;t you drive to the top? If so, hike the road. If its good for cars, it must be OK for hikers.
    Wait Till Next Year!!!


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SkiDork View Post
    Can;t you drive to the top? If so, hike the road. If its good for cars, it must be OK for hikers.
    I think you can, and I heard there's also a railroad. But I want to hike to the top taking natural hiking trails, not a road.

  4. #4
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    DON'T hike the Auto Road. Other than being the longest route up, it is dangerous because of the traffic.

    The biggest thing that you need to prepare for is the weather and its sudden changes. MW has the worst weather in the world...no joke. Pick a day that has no precip even close, but be prepared for sudden changes and, most importantly, be prepared to call it quits and turn around. Pushing ahead in bad weather is the mistake a lot of folks make. The mountain will be there another day!

    Plan on about a 5,000 vertical climb day or so. There are many routes of course, with the Tux route being the most popular. I did it via the Jewell Trail and Ammo Trail down and it made for a nice loop. It wasn't the hardest or the longest hike I've done, but it was the only one where I had to retreat from the treeline down in order to avoid a sudden thunderstorm (we waited 45 minutes for it to clear).

    A hat and gloves/mitts, even in summer, are pretty much a must and having plenty of water and a headlamp are necessary as well.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    DON'T hike the Auto Road. Other than being the longest route up, it is dangerous because of the traffic.

    The biggest thing that you need to prepare for is the weather and its sudden changes. MW has the worst weather in the world...no joke. Pick a day that has no precip even close, but be prepared for sudden changes and, most importantly, be prepared to call it quits and turn around. Pushing ahead in bad weather is the mistake a lot of folks make. The mountain will be there another day!

    Plan on about a 5,000 vertical climb day or so. There are many routes of course, with the Tux route being the most popular. I did it via the Jewell Trail and Ammo Trail down and it made for a nice loop. It wasn't the hardest or the longest hike I've done, but it was the only one where I had to retreat from the treeline down in order to avoid a sudden thunderstorm (we waited 45 minutes for it to clear).

    A hat and gloves/mitts, even in summer, are pretty much a must and having plenty of water and a headlamp are necessary as well.
    Thanks! Any idea of mountains closer to home that make for a good hike and training towards hiking Mount Washington?

  6. #6
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiersleft View Post
    Thanks! Any idea of mountains closer to home that make for a good hike and training towards hiking Mount Washington?
    The 'Dacks are very rugged and steep. They will get you into shape. I imagine that the Catskills might offer some good mountains to work your way up to as well. Plan on a hike of Washington to be anywhere from 9-12 miles (or more) in one day with, again, 4,500-5,000 or so vertical of climbing if you are daytripping.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  7. #7
    Thanks. This is very helpful!

  8. #8
    I did a 3-day hike there back in 2000-ish. We started in Pinkham and went up to towards Tuckermans. There is a camping area just below, forget what it's called. A bunch of shelters there. Overnight, next day we went up and over Mt Washington, I think we went to Mt Clay and then to Mt Adams, and ended up hiking down an emergency trail somewhere and camping below. Third day was back to the car. We were completely beat up, it's way more difficult than we thought it would be. The walking, particularly on the presidential range, isn't really hiking, it's more like hopping from rock to rock to rock. While its sounds easy, it really wears on your knees and quads after a while. Much more so than just walking on a dirt trail with some roots.

    Some pics:


    Yours truly, yeah taht was 12 years ago!!




    This is that escape trail we ended up going down




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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I did a 3-day hike there back in 2000-ish. We started in Pinkham and went up to towards Tuckermans. There is a camping area just below, forget what it's called. A bunch of shelters there. Overnight, next day we went up and over Mt Washington, I think we went to Mt Clay and then to Mt Adams, and ended up hiking down an emergency trail somewhere and camping below. Third day was back to the car. We were completely beat up, it's way more difficult than we thought it would be. The walking, particularly on the presidential range, isn't really hiking, it's more like hopping from rock to rock to rock. While its sounds easy, it really wears on your knees and quads after a while. Much more so than just walking on a dirt trail with some roots.

    Some pics:


    Yours truly, yeah taht was 12 years ago!!




    This is that escape trail we ended up going down




    Cool pics, Nick! Thanks!

    What you say echoes what I've read elsewhere. It's a very strenuous hike and it's not really walking. That's why I want to train. I'm also concerned about the weather. So I want to hike safer pics in borderline weather (fog, for example) so that I get a sense of what I will encounter.

    A lot of people do it every year, and if you take adequate precautions it seems to be pretty safe. But over 130 people have died in the last 150 years in Mount Washington, so it makes sense to be cautious, especially if it's your first time and you're not an experienced hiker like me. That's why I want to hike several other peaks before I attempt this.

    I think the plan is to hike several peaks in the Catskills, then move up to the Adirondacks, a couple in VT and then go for Mount Washington later this summer.

  10. #10
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Good plan. Although the only thing that comes somewhat close to White Mountain hiking in Vermont, and only in terms of vert and distance, is Mount Mansfield. Overall though the Greens are much tamer than the Whites IMHO.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


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