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A trip report from Atlas Team Member Jesse Cole. December 21st is the official first day of winter credit for the 46 of the Adirondacks. Since my friend Luc and I still had one week before we could start bagging winter summits again, we decided to tackle the highest peak in the east. Mt Washington a.k.a Read More >

A trip report from Atlas Team Member Jesse Cole.

December 21st is the official first day of winter credit for the 46 of the Adirondacks. Since my friend Luc and I still had one week before we could start bagging winter summits again, we decided to tackle the highest peak in the east. Mt Washington a.k.a The Rock Pile at 6,228 feet can be a serious climb if the weather is not in your favor. The fastest wind speed record on earth was recorded there at 231 mph in 1934. We decided to take the Lion Head trail on the Tuckerman Ravine side of the mountain. Three feet of snow had fallen days earlier, making the ravine avalanche prone.

We had a rather easy snowshoe to the base of the ravine since the trail had been broken in from the day before. As we approached the tree line, conditions became icy. We switched to crampons and ice axes for safety. On the way up to the tree line we had gorgeous blue skies with low rolling clouds. I was certain that we would have great views at the summit. By the time we got our crampons on and made our way up the Lions Head, our clear skies and views were all but gone. Thick clouds had rolled in and the wind had died down considerably. The last mile to the summit was discouraging to say the least. We were only able to only see the next cairn and no farther. Just before we reached the last cairn, we put on our balaclavas and googles so as to not get wind burn. The research center was covered in thick rime ice along with any other man made surface at the summit.

Once our summit sign photos were done, we headed back down the same way we came up. About a mile back down the mountain I started to see the clouds part so I convinced Luc to wait and see if it would clear out for us. No more than five minutes of waiting and we got what we were looking for.

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It felt like we were on another planet. For the rest of the way down, it got clearer and clearer allowing us to get some terrific shots. Once we hit the Lions Head again I took some final shots and said goodbye to a great climb.