Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington is, at 6,288 feet the highest peak in the northeastern US. It is also known to be the windiest place in the US with winds upto 231 mph (372 km/h) recorded here. Mount Washington is also the peak which I climbed on Sunday, the 3rd, on the Independence day weekend. Here are the pics.

We took the Tuckerman Ravine Path while climbing up and the Lions Head path while climbing down, both of which are 4.2 miles long and have an elevation gain of 4300 feet. The trail started off being pretty easy with a gentle but steady upslope. Midway through the trail at the Tuckerman Ravine, there were pathes where there was snow even now (July), with some people getting their kicks skiing on it. Check out this clip for one of the skiers in action. The last one thirds of the hike was mostly a steep climb on rocky terrain. Of course there was an amazing panorama which we could view from the top. On a clear day, it is said that views extend beyond New Hampshire as far as 130 miles to Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The sad part is that they have a cog-railway and road which goes to the summit. The cog railway runs along a steep, 3.1 mile long trestle whose maximum gradient is over 37%, making it the second steepest mountain climbing train in the world, second only to the Pilatus Bahn in Switzerland. While being a wonder on its own, the existence of a railway and a road results in thousands of vistors coming to the summit and spoiling the ambience of the place. Typical American commercialization of a natural wonder....

It was a memorable experience since it was the first time I had climbed such an arduos trail. A definite must-do for people interested in a challenging hike.

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