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Train Station in the Sky

One of the nice things about the 6288′ Mt Washington, despite its crazy weather, is the very infrastructure we love to hate. Cursing right now are the die-hard hikers that, for good reason, feel that planes, trains, and automobiles have no place on the summit of one of their beloved mountains. We won’t argue the point, but we will also play devil’s advocate for a moment.

First of all, as many of us guides are search and rescue volunteers, we must acknowledge that both the Cog Railway and the Auto Road have in the past been instrumental in ways ranging from fostering a greater speed and convenience for the rescuers, all the way to actually saving lives by providing a critical link. Moreover, the buildings and operations up there, like the Mt Washington Observatory, provide a valuable forecast (PDF). Also, the Mt Washington State Park provides shelter from the weather to all visitors — though not in the off season — and provides food and drink to the financially-prepared (free water and bathrooms).

In some cases, transportation from the summit may be available to those who pay both ways up front, if allowed (train only), or luck out on an unlikely shuttle-with-space ride down the mountain (road only, and note that hitchhiking isn’t allowed and the state won’t help you). Otherwise there are no certain options short of paying for an expensive rescue operation. Not recommended! Contact the Cog or the Auto Road for details. (Note: We have and will again provide a ride down for those who, ideally, arrange this with us in advance, when available, of course.)

Our guests have sometimes used this availability to their advantage by planning a mechanized descent. Works like this: we hike up with them, providing our “outstanding guiding services,” then leave them up there in the good hands of the shuttle driver or train conductor as we hike down. That was the case with this trip led by Redline Guide Jeffrey Shutak who led them up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and Crawford Path to the northeast’s highest summit are the crown jewell of New Hampshire.

Good job one and all. Thank you for adventuring with Redline Guiding!

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