August 18, 1984
On Saturday, August 18, our small group of four climbers, three members and one nonmenber, climbed Mt Washington. The idea was to climb on Saturday and avoid the Sunday traffic jam on the pinnacle. We planned an early morning start to further put us ahead of any climbers that shared our stratagem. Almost immediately upon awakening (reluctantly awakening, for none of us got much sleep) our plan began to fall apart. First, it became apparent that we would be sharing the summit with several climbers, including a church group, seven strong, and a Mazama pasty of eight. Oh well, we thought, there were only four of us and a quick start and steady hiking would keep us ahead of the hordes. But though there was supposed to be four of us, only three were at the trailhead by the scheduled departure time. We lost over an hour searching for our missing climber. When we finally started off without him, we were well behind the Mazamas, and unlikely to catch them.
It is remarkable how things work out. When our missing climber awoke that morning (he had overslept) he threw on his pack and began running after us. A morning mist had dampened the trail and made tracking easy. After all, armies of Mazamas and Obsidians and church kids do leave good signs. High on the ridge he caught up with us. And we even caught up with the Mazamas when they paused to debate whether conditions were bad enough to turn back (visibility was poor and, the mist was persistent). As we passed them, even as they spoke about the weather, the clouds blew away, the sun shone, and the pinnacle loomed ahead. But though they elected to continue, we were now ahead of them and behind only the enthusiastic church group.
The climb itself was a typical Mt Washington climb—extremely fun, very exhilirating, a pure delight. For Tom and Chris, it was their tenth peak—Congratulations! For Robin, it was a first climb, though his skill and ease on the mountain belied such inexperience. Though we did have to wait in line to descend (and the wait was a chilly one), we were soon safely off the mountain and back at the cars. We are all looking forward to next year, when perhaps we’11 climb on Sunday—to miss the crowds.
Climbers were Robin Alexander, Tom Donnelly, Chris Shuraleff, and leader George Jobanek.