Mount Washington – Here I Come!


A couple months ago I asked my boss what he thought about me taking a trip up to the summit of Mount Washington to experience brutal wind chill, hurricane force winds, freezing fog, etc. He gave it the green light right away! Tomorrow I’m heading up to North Conway, NH with Chris Podosek our photographer based in New Haven who said that after living in Buffalo and experiencing lake effect he could handle Mount Washington. We’ll see about that!

Tonight I’ve been doing laundry and packing for the trip. The list of equipment you’re required to bring is pretty lengthy.

Wicking base layer
Insulating layer(s)
Wind-proof outer layer
Rain layer
Balaclava or neck gaiter
Warm gloves or mittens
Glove liners
Micro spikes
Ice axe (if you know how to use one), ski pole, or hiking pole
Loungewear and/or pajamas
Slippers or house shoes
Ear plugs

Unfortunately, it looks like I missed a really extreme day up at the summit by a few days. Earlier today the summit recorded a wind gust to 129 m.p.h.


While the weather won’t be nearly as extreme Wednesday and Thursday for our visit it will no doubt be pretty gnarly. The summit, at 6,288 ft is very exposed and susceptible to violent winds. Here is the 18z NAM 850mb wind forecast (note: 850mb is below the summit) and you can see winds of nearly 40 knots over the Presidentials prior to daybreak on Thursday.



The tightest gradient appears to be west across Pennsylvania and western New York with a relatively broad low pressure in the mid levels over the Canadian Maritimes. The GFS and NAM models are in pretty close agreement. Here’s the GFS MOS for Mount Washington.

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 8.46.58 PM

I’ve highlighted the 24 hours we’ll be up on the rockpile and you can see temperatures are forecast to be near zero with winds increasing to 50 knots sustained Thursday morning. With any luck we’ll be able to bump those winds up to near hurricane force before we head down the mountain 🙂


9 thoughts on “Mount Washington – Here I Come!

  1. The Appalachian Mountain Club awards a patch to those hikers who have hiked all 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire (including this one). This mountain can be deadly in winter if you are on foot. There is a museum at the summit that explains why. If it is accessible, you should check it out.

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