Mount Washington: A year in the making

My brother and I were both mesmerized by this mountain when we saw it last year. Towering over the Omni Mount Washington Resort and gloomy clouds covering the summit. I knew that under those clouds revealed one hell of a mountain. We thought about doing it last year but the weather wasn’t great. Our main mission this time was to go after that mountain and nothing else. Terrifying stats of deaths and “home to the worst weather in America” couldn’t hold us back. Winter storms can occur in August and hypothermia is common due to the exposure near the summit. Anyways, I’m certain you’d like to hear about the journey so lets get right into it!

Mount Washington towers over Omni Hotel

Two miles at ease

The first two miles of this hike were pretty straightforward and there wasn’t much difficulty. Early on, there’s a striking waterfall that anyone should stop at that’s called Crystal Cascades Falls. We stopped to take photos for awhile and decided to keep on moving. I’ll admit that it does get steep in certain areas for the first two miles. Not as steep as later on though! When we arrived at the Hermit Lake Shelters, we couldn’t help but become mesmerized by the views. After enjoying the scenery of jagged rocks above, we began the true ascent!

Crystal Cascades Falls
Snow Ranger Quarters near Hermit Lake Shelters

The Tuckerman Ravine

Many stories of misadventure have occurred at this point of the hike which is where skiers enjoy their winter as well. Ranging from falls, hypothermia, and avalanches. All of these become very understanding as one would climb this trail. Becoming closer to the headwall, cascading waterfalls fell gently into the ravine. A freeze warning was due during that night and we noticed that quickly. The hike became very sketchy and we took our time throughout these sections. Climbing up rock scrambles with ice is really no joke. Even more nerve racking was having a dropoff behind us and the ravine to our left as well. A young couple had passed my brother and I on the trail as we kept navigating the icy rocks. I could hear a loud crackling noise and when I looked up, both couples covered their heads as ice fell off of a rock wall. There has been accidents where this has happened and the outcome was either injury or death. After gaining elevation, we crossed a stream with more icy rocks and the dropoff remained to the left of us. Luckily, my brother noticed where a tricky spot was and we were able to avoid any mistakes. Successfully making it past the Tuckerman Ravine, we began to make the final push on one of America’s deadliest mountains!

My brother standing before the headwall
Waterfalls’ located on the headwall

6,288 feet in the air

Getting through the field of large rocks before reaching the summit was brutal on my knees. No matter what, I knew we were close and the feeling was incredible. I’ve had this mountain constantly on my mind since last year. Trekking up the steep incline of rocks for 0.6 miles, we finally reached the road near the summit. Afterwards, feeling extremely sore…we walked up the wooden stairs and noticed the Mount Washington sign. When we stood in line for it, people joked with us that we should be in front because we climbed the mountain. We spent awhile on Washington and felt very grateful because we had one of the sixty five days of the year where the weather is clear! People spoke to us inside the summit center and how inspired they were that we’d climbed the mountain instead of taking the road. There was a multitude of visitors who came up by car because it was so awe inspiring to be on that frosty summit. We had taken many photos and decided it was time to head down.

Cog Railway Train coming to Mount Washington summit
Frozen snow at the observatory tower

A leisurely descent

Descending Mount Washington was more relaxed than I expected it to be. I was anticipating icy rocks but it was all melted by the time we made it there. Be careful going down the ravine with loose rock because my brother knocked one down and anxiety shot through my body. I’m happy to say that it didn’t go too far! We took in the views of the headwall with the sun glistening over it before getting down the ravine trail. We passed many hikers with sneakers on and cotton t shirts which is the reason for some causes of hypothermia. The main point is this…don’t be that person! We grabbed water at the Hermit Lake Shelter and made our way to the parking lot. I knew with this mountain to expect anything and to be safe. Watching my brother sign out of the hiking registry felt fantastic. I went from fearing this mountain, to looking out past six states and feeling more alive than I’ve ever felt before.

Fall foliage from Mount Washington’s summit
A change of seasons

To everyone:

I’d like to mention my cousin, Jake in this blog because he’s the reason I’ve become so invested in this! My brother has solidified that as well and there’s so many adventures to come. This is just the beginning for us and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next. To anyone who’s become supportive of the blog or my photography, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoy the photos I took on this hike and it was probably the best journey I’ve been on. Keep it real my adventurers and I’ll be seeing you in the next blog!

-Alex

2 comments

  1. RoadTripWarriors · October 8

    Unreal hike, unreal landscape, unreal adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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