Note: this course is available privately for you or your group seven days a week. There is no minimum enrollment, so let us know when you'd like to climb. If you'd like to join others to form a small group, let us know your preferred dates, or consider these that are already on the calendar with groups started:
Jan 16 (space for 1, 2 or 3) Jan 29 (space for 1 or 2) Feb 5 (space for 1, 2 or 3)
(other dates being added frequently, so check back!) _______________
A winter ascent of Mt. Washington is a rite of passage for any aspiring mountaineer, and the perfect stepping-stone for those looking to test their mettle before tackling more ambitious peaks like Mt. Rainier.
Mt. Washington is known as the Home of the World’s Worst Weather, and still holds the world record for the highest windspeed ever witnessed by man – a mind-boggling 231 mph. During the winter months, the wind speed on the summit tops 70 mph at least once every three days, and it’s not uncommon for climbers to encounter temperatures of -30F and below. You'll be above treeline for about half of the ascent, which for many is their first experience with a true alpine environment.
The alpine conditions, combined with Mt. Washington’s accessibility, allow you to gain invaluable winter survival experience -- without having to travel to the Rockies, Cascades or Alaska. Our director Mark Synnott and his guides have hundreds of Mt. Washington ascents under their belts, and this deep experience level and local knowledge will allow you to push yourself higher and farther than you might have thought possible. Most of our guides are members of the Mountain Rescue Service A-Team, so you’ll be making your ascent with someone who has conducted numerous rescues on the mountain. Simply put, you could not be in better hands.
In addition to potentially bagging one of the most iconic summits in the lower 48, your guide will work with you on the skills you’ll need to become a competent mountaineer. Here’s a partial list of topics: • Training • Gear and clothing selection • Preparation and packing up • White-out navigation and route finding • Avalanche awareness • Crampon technique • Ice axe technique including self arrest • Pacing • Frost bite and hypothermia awareness • Proper hydration and food intake • Descending and down-climbing, including glissade
Prerequisites: no prior experience is required, but the ascent is 4.1 miles and 4250 vertical feet, so participants should be physically fit and ready to trudge uphill with a sizable pack for four or five hours. If you are interested, we can help you with a training program to get prepared for the ascent.
Time: 8 hours, approximately five hours up, and three hours down
Equipment and clothing: SMG will supply you with mountaineering boots, crampons, and ice axe. Please contact us for a copy of our winter gear list. While you are responsible for your own clothing, we do have some items for rent, so contact us if you are short on gear – we will help you to get the proper kit together.
When and where: your day will start at the SMG office in Intervale NH at 7am. We can get you outfitted with your gear and clothing then, or you can stop by the afternoon or evening before if you are already in town.
Cost: rates will depend on the guide to client ratio, with privates being the most expensive and groups the least. Please click the RATES link on the home page for the breakdown. We are constantly forming up groups, so if you are on our own, but would like a group rate to keep the cost down, let us know your preferences and we'll do our best to team you up with like-minded individuals
More info: Please see the Lion's Head Winter Route Overview and Tuckerman Ravine Winter Climbing Overview. Both are found under the Mountaineering course listings. Or contact our office by filling out our contact form or calling 603-733-8416.