This year’s trek up to enchanting New Hampshire saw our eight man party leave on Tuesday the 26th and return on Sunday March 3rd. It was a straight shot twelve hour drive with three vehicles involved. We stayed right off 302 just North of North Conway, NH. in a snug mountain cottage with enough space for us to lay our gear out and sort it each night. Here’s the breakdown of the trip!
On Wednesday we woke up bright and early to warm up on Frankenstein Cliff.
The hike in is always stunning on the old scenic railway. Today the weather was crisp and clear allowing us to spot Mount Washington in the distance.
We ended up with two 3-man teams with myself leading Evan and Matt up Standard Left while Tristan took Parker and Aaron Right towards a section called “Penguin.”
On the walk out there is always a feeling of satisfaction, a desire for a hot shower, and a hot meal with your climbing partners!
Day two we start early aiming for an Alpine Start in the Huntington Ravine. Tristan and Parker are going for Pinnacle Gully to the Alpine Garden while Evan and I will go up the Lion Head trail to beat any weather and Summit Mount Washington. It has been a goal of his for several years now! This will be my fourth winter Summit of this incredible mountain.
The approach in is always a lesson in layer management in order to limit sweating. We start deep in the cold tree line with generally too many layers and enter the edge of the Alpine Zone with lots of skin exposed. Its always a shocker when the wind hits! Today wind chill ranged from -25 to -17 with winds anywhere from 25-30 miles per hour. Just a few days previous the mountain saw record wind speeds for February at 171 miles per hour!
Tristan and Parker had a great climb in near perfect conditions with some interesting twists he’ll have to share. Evan and I made summit around 11:30 and enjoyed simple food like sopressatta, dried tart cherries, and incredible cheddar goat cheese before heading down with frozen fingers and toes.
It was comical at times seeing the difference between two Virginian’s climbing all bundled up and covered up while several local New Englanders climbed with nothing but a T-shirt and beanie at times. They seem to be very acclimated to the wind chill
The descent down was fairly uneventful. At one point we found a spot out of the wind that allowed us to not only soak up the incredible majesty of the White Mountains, but also facetime loved ones! We then hiked over to the lip of the Huntington bowl and looked down to find Tristan and Parker just topping out.
The trip home would be uneventful and loooooong. The White Mountains are a magical place though! If you haven’t visited them what are you waiting for? I would move to the area for Mount Washington alone!
Check out my Instagram feed adscendoergosum with my name August Napotnik for more updates and video feed.