Mt Washington winter hike

9:30 a.m. on February 6, 2014 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Hi all

I'm making plans for a Mt Washington hike in a few weeks and I'm hoping for some advice on my gear list.  I summited two years ago in Feb and at that time was overnighting (at Hermit Lake), so I had a backpack full of winter gear.  This time I'm planning on going up and down in one day (barring any emergency, of course), and I'm debating what I can drop off the gear list. 

I'm set on clothing and non-emergency gear (ie, day gear), but I'd be curious to hear other's thoughts on tent/bivy sack, sleeping bag, etc.  Do people always bring sleeping bag and bivy for one-day summits? 


2:44 a.m. on February 7, 2014 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

I belong to Views From The Top, a NE website. Although I've never been to Mt. Washington,judging from all the posts I've read on hiking in NE on the website, including threads on what to carry on day hikes, no one on that site with any experience goes out in winter without a full kit of gear.

Many of them carry everything - shelter, bag, food, stove, extra clothes, snowshoes, skis or crampons or some combo of the three.

Example, one of the most experienced members broke his leg on a solo day skiing trip-his gear saved him from freezing to death while waiting for rescue.

I do the same thing here in CA, if for no other reason than to remind myself that something bad could happen. Fyi, one thing I always carry in winter on snow is my Voile Mini shovel. Don't leave home without it.

9:16 a.m. on February 7, 2014 (EST)
625 reviewer rep
1,178 forum posts

I wouldn't feel comfortable without at least a bivy, sleeping bag and pad, in addition to the 10 Essentials. I'll often stuff in an extra insulating layer and some chemical handwarmers too.

9:29 a.m. on February 7, 2014 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Alright, well thanks for the responses!  To be clear, I was leaning toward bringing the bivy and sleeping bag, but just checking to see if others did without. 

Better safe than sorry!

8:10 p.m. on February 7, 2014 (EST)
3,700 reviewer rep
946 forum posts

I brought a sea to summit emergency bivy along with extra down pants and jacket. I believe it provides more flexibility in that I could wear them at the summit, which I did the jacket, not the pants, or if I had to spend the night they could serve as a makeshift sleeping bag.

Crampons are essential as is an ice ax, and the knowledge of safe self arrest dependent on the route you choose.

10:38 p.m. on February 7, 2014 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

Speaking of routes, not too long ago, a couple of hikers got lost on the way down and fell down Tuckerman Ravine, which seems to have played a starring role in more than one of these Mt. Washington accident stories. Since you've been there, I assume you are aware of the danger.

Here is a story about what happened-

6:54 a.m. on February 8, 2014 (EST)
2,590 reviewer rep
1,630 forum posts

The only difference between your trip this time and your trip last time should be the amount of food and spare clothing your carrying. The heart of your winter kit should remain exactly the same.

10:29 a.m. on February 10, 2014 (EST)
2,234 reviewer rep
86 forum posts

Here is a great link that provides daily avalanche updates:

Which route are you planning on taking?

I'm over on the west side of the mountain, so if you need any suggestions for post hike refreshments on that side let me know.

Enjoy the trip.

12:57 p.m. on February 10, 2014 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Thanks all - I will definitely be bringing the sleeping bag and bivy. 

I'm planning on heading up via the Lion Head trail - I understand that's usually the best option for winter travel.  I'll judge the weather/avalanche conditions as the date approaches, but that's the tentative plan.  What are other winter routes folks have taken?

April 23, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Joshua Tree: 3 nights, any advice - Mar 2014 Newer: Superior Hiking Trail
All forums: Older: FS: RailRiders WeatherTop Newer: can i still feel the HEET?