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Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby kakakiw » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:16 pm

If you want to read about other people's misadventures, pick up a copy of "Not Without Peril" by Nicholas Howe He goes into a wide range of deaths in the Whites. It's a good read.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Hotoven » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:47 pm

kakakiw wrote:If you want to read about other people's misadventures, pick up a copy of "Not Without Peril" by Nicholas Howe He goes into a wide range of deaths in the Whites. It's a good read.



+1 That book puts a really good perspective on things and how easy one can get in trouble and die.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Grampahawk » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:40 pm

After having been in whiteouts in the Whites I would never recommend a solo adventure like you are planning. I understand your thirst to learn, but I'd recommned something a bit easier first. Don't underestimate this mountain. Just too many X-factors to contend with, and not enough back-up plans as far as I'm concerned. And leave the alcohol in the car. You can toast your safe return there. I did a snowshoe trek, and winter campout while trying to summit Adams in January, maybe 10 years ago. Even below treeline it was 43 below in the evening. Exposed skin was numb in seconds; nearly impossible to keep food and water from freezing. GPS batteries died in seconds (the technology is better now I assume). We thought we had proper gear, but everything was pushed to the limit. We used a rope to find the next cairn, but travel was very slow. If you are still committed, there is an emergency shelter under the Lake of the Clouds hut that we sheltered in once in November during a sleet, ice whiteout with 80+ mile winds that lasted for 2 days. As already mentioned, it's the wind (and gusts) that knock you down, blow gear away, and make it impossible to move.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Turk397 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:43 pm

KristoriaBlack wrote:Because I do promise you that the day will come when I will find myself on a mountain, in conditions such as these or worse, and when that day comes it will not be by choice. In a way this is a controlled environment in the sense that I have the opportunity to prepare myself in advanced. I will not always be that lucky. At least this way I can train myself psychologically not to be afraid and to deal with panic when faced with situations such as these.



KristoriaBlack wrote:And how would one survive the night if forced to bivy above treeline? My feeling would be to get the hell down below tree line, spend the night there and give her a fresh go in the morning light. Be prepared for an overnight stay. But what if one simply cannot descend and is forced to stay above tree line? Is it possible to survive the night in a bivy in a gale with enough warm gear or should the objective be to descend whatever the difficulty?


I think you need to climb to the top of Mt. Washington during the day during "normal" conditions and get an idea of what that mountain is all about. If you get caught up there when its bad (which you're trying to do intentionally), ESPECIALLY at night, you'll be lucky if you live to regret it. Here's a vid of the summit of Mt. Washington, fast-forward to about 4:55 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im2t_6qpf9c) and then pretend that's you trying to thread your way downhill, at night, without falling into Tuck's or Ray's. Or better yet, setup a bivy? That mountain kills so many people precisely because they underestimate it.

I don't live very far from Mt. Washington, but I also do a lot of solo winter mountaineering out west. Purposely placing myself on Mt. Washington in those kinds of conditions for "practice" would reach a point of diminishing returns pretty quickly. The day when you find yourself with those conditions on the mountain? Unless you're hitting up Denali or the slopes of Everest I don't think, of all the things you could be training and practicing, that that should be at the top of your list. Perhaps work on your judgment first, when and when not to climb.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:40 am

Kristoria-- might it actually be easier to drive down to the Adirondacks? I know it is not quite as romantic, but the route to Algonquin is just over 3 miles, and it is a lot safer than Washington. The Loj will definitely have revelers around New Years; I've stayed there on New Year's Eve in the bunk room. It's a great place to start the trip. I've climbed Algonquin 4 times in the snow, and it was always a peaceful and wondrous experience. The top few hundred feet are above timberline, and there are no buildings on top.

Gothics out of the John's Brook is breath-taking in winter. If you camp near the brook, it's just a few miles, and one very steep slope to the top; but little chance to get lost in a white-out.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby John Duffield » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:35 pm

Hey!!! Can you get up there today? There should be a whiteout up there tonight!

http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/summit_forecast.php

I wouldn't waste too much money on good champagne, cheap shit should be fine. You won't be able to drink that bubbly from the bottle and pouring it into a champagne glass in 100 mph winds won't get you drunk either.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby kozman18 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:12 pm

KristoriaBlack wrote:PPS. Seriously, Raymond's Cataract cannot be rapped?


It's not a single drop -- it's a series of falls, cliffs, ledges, surrounded by trees and thick brush.

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/11927977

You might be able to rap one pitch (my climbing partner suggested this at one point), but you might rap into a pool of half frozen water (which is why we opted not to). Seriously, rapping is not a option. You can descend it, by bushwhacking in the dark, but it really sucks -- and there's a pretty good chance of getting hurt on the way down. "Epic bushwhack" is the best description.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby bdynkin » Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:22 pm

KristoriaBlack wrote:PPS. Seriously, Raymond's Cataract cannot be rapped?


No, you don't rappel from mt Washington - you walk down. Common escape routes in Alpine Garden area are Lion's head winter trail route and Escape Hatch that many ice climbers use. Tuckerman ravine descent is easy but often in high avy danger conditions as many gullies on Huntington ravine. Raymond cataract is probably the worst "escape" route that one can think of.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Brad Marshall » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:56 pm

KristoriaBlack wrote:PPS. Seriously, Raymond's Cataract cannot be rapped?


Like a few others my wife and I ended in the cataract in the dark after climbing one of the gullies in Huntington Ravine. Due to high winds and cold temps we angled off the top of the ravine to cross over to the LH Trail. When we got to the cataract, my first time there, I thought it would be easier to follow downward so down we headed. When we got to the first drop off I considered rapping but there were no large rocks to rap off. When I checked all the trees near the edge to see how strong they were they almost ripped out of the ground because their roots weren't very deep.

Seriously, no I would not recommend rapping down the cataract even if you do find it in bad weather.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby workmanflock » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:51 am

How'd wfr and the climb go?
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Hotoven » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:57 pm

Sounds like your having fun. I did the summit new years eve around 4:00pm. We watched a wonderful sunset. It was not very windy and it was super warm which made it kind of lame, but just the same its a winter ascent.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby workmanflock » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:39 pm

Good call, I personally love the DAS Parka by Patagonia for a puffy. I was up there and decided against Mt Washington because we wanted to ski it and the weather looked obnoxious for that. My wife and I are headed out to recert WFR in two weeks. Good luck on finishing the course, it is a nice feather to have in your cap.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby workmanflock » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:42 pm

Kristoria, three things you could add to your gear that might be helpful

http://marmot.com/products/precip_pant
http://marmot.com/products/precip_jacket
http://www.backcountry.com/black-diamon ... -bivy-sack

They sleep in the bottom of my bag most times and add a nice water proof layer for down clothing and sleeping bags, just get a size too big so they fit over things. This way you can keep down dry in the event of wet weather for a total added weight of ~2 lbs and ~250 dollars if you look around.
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby kozman18 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:51 pm

You asked for bad weather -- looks like you'll get some. Not terrible by Mt. Washington averages, but 30-40 below wind chills will give you a taste. The summits will be in the fog, if the forecast is correct, which might give you whiteout conditions.

Good luck.


Tonight:
Mostly in the clouds under increasingly cloudy skies w/ a chance of snow showers. Wind chills 30-40 below.

Lows: Mid single digits below°F

Wind: WNW 50-65 mph decreasing to 40-55 mph w/ higher gusts
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Re: Mt. Washington whiteout navigation plan

Postby Hotoven » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:37 pm

Drink up all the olive oil you can and best of luck to you Kristoria!
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