Mt. Washington

July 23-24, 1994

There is no beautiful, secluded, camping place for Mt. Washington climbs, so we go for the practical, car camping. At the PCNST trailhead there are advantages: Heavy, pre-cooked food, 7-inch thick foam pad in the old station wagon, and climbers can arrive anytime they choose. The bad news is that the climb still starts at 5:00 am (actually 5:15). We reached the notch where the roped climbing starts at 8:45. Above the belay point we traversed to a spot directly below the summit on the north side. I had rappelled off the summit to this area before and thought it looked interesting. It proved to be a fun, relatively easy pitch. We summitted at about 10:30. This was the calmest day I have ever experienced on Washington: No wind in the notch, rare indeed! For the rappel we could actually throw the rope “down” (usually you throw it at Yachats, and it ends up in Bend!). The exit gully below the notch can be a very dangerous rock fall alley when there are climbers on the pinnacle. A safer exit is to climb directly south onto a large rock slab that allows a down-climb into the next gully and away from the rock fall. This may not be everybody’s kind of route, but with careful down-climbing it can be done safely without a rope. A great day on the mountain; cars in view at 3:45. It sure makes it easy for the leader when you have a strong, competent group like this bunch: Michael Cooper, John Englehart, Jamie Kiley, Bill Reiswig. — Ed Lovegren (leader).

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