Mt. Washington

August 26, 1995

Our original party of six was quickly and unexpectedly changed to three due to last minute cancellations. Friday night was a car campout next to the PCNST at the northeast end of Big Lake with Rich and Bud carpooling and Steve arriving a couple of hours later. We were on the trail by 8:30 Saturday morning, hiking under ideal conditions but seeing an ominous windblown cloud cover over the peak of Mt. Washington. Three hours later we reached timberline via the north ridge and were greeted with the strong, cold west wind we knew would be there. We avoided it for a while by staying on the lee side, but eventually discovered the value of having windproof clothing — except for Steve, who persisted in wearing shorts. As we approached the saddle the cloud cover began to dissipate and we could see climbers near the rappel point — some ascending, some descending. We made it to the rappel point without incident and there found a fixed line leading up which we promptly decided to share until we met some down climbers. At that point we moved laterally to the west and went up a long pitch that brought us directly to the summit — a good, fun route. We shared the summit with two other climbers, ate a leisurely lunch, phoned home with Steve’s cellular phone, and contemplated how to get back down — all under sunny, warm conditions. The descent from the summit down to the rappel area was via the usual route. The rappel, always a scary beginning on Mt. Washington, was Rich’s first. He handled it so well and enjoyed it so much we thought he might consider re-climbing just to rappel again. Once in the saddle, it was straight down the west scree slope, which was done without incident. Fortunately, there were no other climbers above us to make us need our hard-hats as we skated, slid, glissaded, slipped and clawed our way down. That scree slope was more fun 25 years ago! Has it changed, or am I just getting older? Once off the mountain it was down the climbers’ trail to the PCNST and out to the car. It was an exceptionally good climb with a small, compatible threesome: Steve John, Rich Romm and Bud Proctor, leader.

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