|Mount Washington NH Travel Guide|
|Mount Washington, highest peak east of the Mississippi, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, offers spectacular views and some of the world's worst weather.|
Loacted at the intersection of three major storm tracks, the summit has an alpine climate that is renowned for its erratic, severe weather and high precipitation which claim the lives of numerous experienced hikers and climbers every year.
New Englanders delight in exchanging horror stories of the latest report: winds of 150 miles per hour (the record for wind recorded by humans, not part of a tropical cyclone, recorded here on the summit, is 231 mph/372 km/h!). Temperatures of -47°F/-99°C are not unheard of. The wind-chill factors don't seem earthly.
Regional news media often carry the reports even though they don't really affect anyone but the eager climatologists at the Mount Washington Observatory who volunteer to sit through the storms on the mountaintop.
I've hiked up Mount Washington into a blizzard, in a temperature of 14°F (-10°C) and winds gusting to 100 mph (161 km/h) at the summit, on the last day of August!
You can check current weather conditions at the summit on the Mount
Washington Observatory website.
How to Reach the Summit
The Mount Washington summit is the centerpiece of Mount Washington State Park. The Tip Top House and Sherman Adams Visitor Center at the summit provide for visitors needs from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
There are three ways to reach the summit:
Riding in a coach of the historic Mount Washington Cog Railway
Any visit depends on the weather.
This does not mean you will hit impossible weather when you visit the summit, but it does mean that you must be prepared. The Mount Washington weather is no joke.
People die here every year! Some of them are experienced winter hikers who don't believe the mountainc an get the better of them—but it does.
If you plan to hike up, you should—absolutely!—check with Mount Washington State Park rangers (tel: 603-466-3347) and Appalachian Mountain Club personnel, and have warm clothing—even in high summer, food, good equipment and a knowledge of hiking and camping (and, if necessary, winter camping) before you attempt this climb.
If you need to be rescued—if you can be rescued—you will bear the cost, probably in the tens of thousands of dollars.
—by Tom Brosnahan