Mountaineering is a demanding sport. Conquering mountains requires strength, endurance, know-how, sound judgement, and a will to succeed… but not at all costs. What we have in New Hampshire we prefer to call “mountaineering lite,” but that term can be deceiving. Mt Washington and the other rugged summits of the northern Presidential Range — Mts. Madison, Adams, Jefferson, and Clay — have taken numerous lives. The highest summit, at only 6288′, is notorious and is billed as having the “world’s worst weather.” Combined we have summited successfully well over 200 times, to date (Mike is up to 92), half of which have been done in winter, meaning we are uniquely qualified to agree. We have seen the worst of the worst, even experiencing 108 mph winds during a SAR effort. Only the serious need apply. It should be noted that trips to other ranges are available.
Mountaineering can be a demanding and technically challenging adventure. With our intimate knowledge of Mt Washington and the Presidential Range (all of the New Hampshire ranges, for that matter), we can keep you and your party safe, and on track for the day’s destination… weather-permitting. We have several routes and atypical offerings, in addition to the standard winter routes with specific itineraries, and we will customize your adventure to best meet your wants and needs. We can also offer sunrise trips, but in the interest of safety, we don’t offer sunset trips as they conflict with the alpine start standard. This is really a winter/early spring sport, and available as a very full day easily lasting 6-8 hours. Our tours may also be extended (9-12 hours) for Classic traverses, for example, in addition to custom 2-5 day multiday focused learning adventures. Call for pricing and more information. Please include any special objectives or desires you may have, if applicable, in the comments box of our Booking Form.
What to Wear
Please take your preparation seriously and ask if you have any questions. It can get very bad above treeline in the winter. More than you can imagine. To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, we offer this important clothing information. If you’re participating in our two-day program, please refer to the requirements for our Mountaineering Skills and Winter Skills courses, otherwise when dressing for mountaineering you always want to note the following:
- Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while mountaineering. Bring independent layers. Having our “Alpine Ready Pack” will solve the matter offering everything you need to stay warm with exception to boots and your hiking baselayers and pants. Call if you have questions.
- Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level, and those base layers are really necessary. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For mountaineering, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear the right type of sports or mountaineering clothing and you will want to bring extra.
- Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life. With our “Alpine Ready Pack,” however, we really have you covered.
- For footwear, wear proper winter mountaineering boots with proper crampons (which can be rented locally if we lack your size, even done for you as a convenience for $40 plus the applicable rental fees). If you have hiking boots, even if winter-rated, we will take you winter hiking, not alpine mountaineering. It’s not quite the same experience, though, you’ll still love it.
- Seriously, in winter, above treeline, you will want to prep for Denali. On some days. We are not in any way joking or exaggerating. Having gear such as the following as a minimum is expected: Heavy-duty hooded parka, heavy base layers, overmitts with liners, hardshell pants and jacket, mountaineering boots with step-in crampons, balaclava, face protection, and at least one set of goggles (two is better).
For your mountaineering gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing pants with shirt, and rentable footwear, as described above, we offer three options. Click to expand.
Gear Option 1 - Open
Gear Option 1 - Close
- Personal first aid kit/meds.
- Personal hygiene items.
- Camera/phone (weather-protected).
- Lip balm, sun block: SPF 30 min.
- Sunglasses (glacier glasses).
- Proper footwear (see information above).
- Proper clothing layering (see information above).
- Seasonal specialty clothing (see information above).
SPECIAL NOTE: You may get an “Alpine Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $60/person/day.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)
Gear Option 2 - Open
Gear Option 2 - Close
- A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~40-50 liters).
- Hardshell jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
- Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
- Multiple winter-rated mid-layers, maybe a soft shell (much colder).
- Food for the day, plus extra.
- Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra.
- Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
- Balaclava, face protection, and goggles.
- Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
- Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
- Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
- A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.
Plus any of these applicable Specialty Gear Items, which may be rented…
- Headlamp, $5/person/day.
- Trekking poles only, $5/pair/person/day.
- Trekking poles, Gaiters, Microspikes (approach/backup only), $15/set/person/day.
- Strap-on Crampons, $15/pair/person/day.
- Ice Axe, $10/person/day.
- Climbing helmet, $5/person/day (needed on some routes, ask).
- Mountaineering harness w/ locking carabiner, $10/set/person/day.
- Snowshoes, $15/pair/person/day.
- Balaclava, Goggles, Mitts, $15/set/person/day (alpine).
- Down blend puffy, $25/person/day (alpine).
- Hardshell pants and jacket, $35/set/person/day (alpine) – Gaiters required.
- Mountaineering boots, $25/set/person/day.
- Alpine Gear Insurance, $20/person/day.
- Plus any outsourced gear items, call for current pricing.
SPECIAL NOTE: If any outsourced gear such as mountaineering boots (if we lack your size) and step-in crampons is needed, we can rent it ahead of time for you for convenience charge of $40 plus the applicable rental fees.
Gear Option 3 - Open
Gear Option 3 - Close
Okay… Let’s Do This!
Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.
|Full Day Mountaineering Pricing|
|For one person||$250|
|For two people||$375|
|Added people||$200 each|
|Premium Mountaineering Options|
|Make it private||Add $75/day|
|Sunrise only||Add $100|
|Extensions||Ask or Call|
- The difficulty of this activity is as requested though is inherently tough.
- This activity has a 1:4 guide/guest ratio.
- The maximum group size is 8 with 2 guides.
- For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
- Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.
Not ready for this? Try out our Mountaineering Skills or Winter Skills courses (taking these courses — or convincing us you have the appropriate experience — will open up routes to you that will not otherwise be available). Optionally you can get both of these courses and a full day mountaineering experience by opting for our two-day offering. If you’re ready, go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!