In the old days when I was scared of doing something I would make up an excuse not to do it and convince myself that was the right thing to do. My first trip to Africa changed all that and me forever. Now I plunge ahead pretty much no matter what. Ok, granted the obstacles I am facing are not maybe all that serious in the scheme of things – but to me in my little world they are still very large.
So, I committed to summitting Mount Washington in February and I am going to do it in just a few days. Funny, but a week ago I wasn’t at all worried about the things one probably should be when doing this kind of thing – frostbite, being in shape… Then I attended that avalanche awareness seminar and now all I can think is (a) minefield (b) wave your arms a lot if you go down in one – someone told me to do that just in case and I am not at all sure it will matter – blunt force trauma and all – but hey something to concentrate on.
And usually I am a planner, but somehow not this time = why I am ordering things like snow goggles just a few days in advance and a hooded down jacket (I have so many outdoor jackets, but none the right weight and with a hood). I will look like a bumblebee or a Steelers fan (I am not), but I will be warm in my black bottoms and goldenish yellow (the company calls it “warm olive”) superfly jacket. (note pic below)
Actually, I really don’t care what I look like as long as I have fun and am safe.
Oh, and p.s. 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. I will be above treeline for about half of the ascent, experiencing a true alpine environment. WOOHOO!
About five hours up and three down if all goes well.
I have summitted Katahdin (during late summer) and gone ice climbing near Mount Washington a few times and loved it so it isn’t like I am that worried. And this freshly received (as in while writing this post!!) information helped a LOT:
There are a few different routes up the mountain, the objectively safe Winter Lion’s Head Trail avoids avalanche terrain and is almost always a safe bet.
Ahh, sigh and now I am getting excited!!
(top pic courtesy of EMS, bottom pic courtesy of Cathedral Mountain Guides)