Mt Washington is thought of as a short mountain. Another adjective sometimes used is small. And from the perspective of, say, a global geologist, these descriptors are quite succinct. Also ringing true is that this little mountain is situated close to the road — “it’s right there,” some will remark. (Easy access is one important reason why so many people run afoul on this infamous New England peak.) But when you’re on it, pushing against gravity as you climb, it can seem enormous. Humbling. Endless. Same if you’re disoriented up there in conditions of low visibility. The trap may seem infinite as you scramble for the edges of the envelope looking for a way out like a rat trapped in a maze.
A recent guest came to us without actual mountaineering experience, but he had the right gear and he had taken a class with another outfitter last year so we green-lighted his want of the Lion Head Winter Route. You see, normally we will not take people on this route unless they have had some training, either with us or with another reputable provider, or they are experienced. We do this so we, our guests, and others sharing this route will be as safe as possible, and that our group will look and act organized up there (we do not want our group being the dangerous s*** show everyone wants to avoid — we’ve seen it up there).
He made it, he summited this currently snow- and rock-covered mountain with the support, patient encouragement, and knowing — and we must add “natural” — leadership of Redline Guide Will Murphy. Our guest had to dig deep realizing the scale once standing on the mountain’s shoulders, the visibly near summit still a distance away. And the gap seemingly not closing, or closing painfully slow. We get it. It’s a beast and no slouch as the uninitiated may think. Some have compared it the challenge provided by the Disappointment Clever Route on 14,410′ Mt Rainier (we don’t agree with this statement, but some have told us this offering insight to another’s perspective).
Will offered these additional comments along with photos and video content which we used to make the short edit below:
I had been in contact all week with our guest discussing the plans for this Mt Washington climb regarding gear, route, and weather. Ultimately you have to climb it to make it up, and then get back down. We had sunny weather with comfortable temps and improving winds. With that, our guest focused on making progress to the summit. Over the course of the day, our guest discovered that planning and discussion prepares you then actual doing completes it. He had a great day and is using this as a step forward in discovering more about himself as well as where to take his climbing and mountaineering goals. —Will
Great work everyone. Congratulations on the summit, and thank you for experiencing it with Redline Guiding.