“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” – Unknown
Why This Mountain?
Tami has long wanted to hike on the East Coast. She has selected mountains that would represent different ranges and states in order to see as much as she can in a short time. She selected Mt. Washington because it is the highest peak in Vermont and is in the White Mountains. Mt. Washington is also on the list of 25 Most Dangerous Hikes. The reason it makes the list is it’s reported to have the worse weather and the highest recorded wind speeds in the world.
Mountain & Route Facts
Mount Washington, called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m) and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.
The mountain is notorious for its erratic weather. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a windspeed of 231 miles per hour (372 km/h) at the summit, the world record for most of the 20th century, and still a record for measured wind speeds not involved with a tropical cyclone.
The mountain is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, in the township of Sargent’s Purchase, Coös County, New Hampshire. While nearly the whole mountain is in the White Mountain National Forest, an area of 60.3 acres (24.4 ha) surrounding and including the summit is occupied by Mount Washington State Park.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway ascends the western slope of the mountain, and the Mount Washington Auto Road climbs to the summit from the east. The mountain is popular with hikers (the Appalachian Trail crosses the summit).
The most popular hiking trail approach to the summit is via the 4.1-mile (6.6 km) Tuckerman Ravine Trail. It starts at the Pinkham Notch camp area and gains 4,280 feet (1,300 m), leading straight up the bowl of Tuckerman Ravine via a series of steep rock steps which afford spectacular views of the ravine and across the notch to Wildcat Mountain. Tami and her friend Ben took the Lion’s Head route (which diverges from Tuckerman’s) on the way up and then came down Tuckerman’s. Fatalities have occurred on the trail, both from ski accidents and hypothermia. Water bottles may be refilled at the base of the bowl 2.1 miles (3.4 km) up the trail at a well pump near a small hiker’s store which offers snacks, toilets and shelter. At the summit is a center with a museum, gift shop, observation area, and cafeteria. Other routes up the eastern slopes of the mountain include the Boott Spur, Huntington Ravine and Nelson Crag trails, as well as the Great Gulf Trail ascending from the northeast. Routes from the western slopes include the Ammonoosuc Ravine and Jewell trails and the Crawford Path and Gulfside Trail (coincident with the Appalachian Trail from the southwest and from the north, respectively).
Historical and Cultural Information
The first European to mention Mount Washington was Giovanni da Verrazzano. Viewing it from the Atlantic Ocean in 1524, he described what he saw as “high interior mountains.” The Abenaki people inhabiting the region at the time of European contact believed that the tops of mountains were the dwelling place of the gods, and so among other reasons did not climb them out of religious deference to their sanctity. Darby Field claimed to have made the first ascent of Mt. Washington in 1642. A geology party, headed by Manasseh Cutler, named the mountain in 1784. The Crawford Path, the oldest mountain hiking trail in the United States, was laid out in 1819 as a bridle path from Crawford Notch to the summit and has been in use ever since. Ethan Allen Crawford built a house on the summit in 1821, which lasted until a storm in 1826.
The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in the United States. They are part of the northern Appalachian Mountains and the most rugged mountains in New England. The range is heavily visited due to its proximity to Boston and, to a lesser extent, New York City and Montreal.
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by land area and the 9th least populous of the 50 United States
Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state, and according to the U.S. census’ 2015 estimate is the most populous New England city north of Boston, including other Massachusetts cities. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income (other than interest and dividends) taxed at either the state or local level. It is known for the New Hampshire primary, the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, “Live Free or Die”. The state’s nickname, “The Granite State”, refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.
Various Algonquian (Abenaki and Pennacook) tribes inhabited the area before European settlement. English and French explorers visited New Hampshire in 1600–1605, and English fishermen settled at Odiorne’s Point in present-day Rye in 1623. The first permanent settlement was at Hilton’s Point (present-day Dover). By 1631, the Upper Plantation comprised modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham; in 1679, it became the “Royal Province”. Father Rale’s War was fought between the colonists and the Wabanaki Confederacy throughout New Hampshire.
New Hampshire was one of the thirteen colonies that rebelled against British rule during the American Revolution. The only battle fought in New Hampshire was the raid on Fort William and Mary, December 14, 1774, in Portsmouth Harbor, which netted the rebellion sizable quantities of gunpowder, small arms and cannon. Although there were apparently no casualties, these were among the first shots in the American Revolutionary period, occurring approximately five months before the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The United States Constitution was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to do so.