Last weekend, my brother Jason and I took a roadrtip to North Conway, and climbed Mt. Washington with the EMS Climbing school.
We drove up to North Conway on Friday Night, and stayed at the White Trellis motel. With a 4 am arrival, I thought a locally owned motel would be the easiest do deal with. The next day, Saturday, Jason slept in a bit while I went into town to take some photos and buy girl scout cookies – tasty! We then both went into North Conway to the Stairway Cafe, and had a great breakfast. The rest of the day we spent gearing up at EMS, and then drove out to Jason’s summer camp an hour away.
Being at camp in the winter was an experience – everything covered in snow was a stark contrast to the hot and humid summertime. By far the best part of the day was standing on the frozen lake and taking in the fading sunlight. On a white lake near a green mountain – peaceful.
Joe Dodge Lodge is a rustic mountain lodge, run by the AMC, and sits directly at the foot of the Pinkham Notch trail, which leads up to the top of Mt. Washington. Accommodations were perfect – a small room in the lodge with a bunkbed, shared dorm style bathroom down the hall, and a great cafeteria across the way. It was a bit like being back in the dorms at college, or at camp!
Sunday morning we woke up early for a hearty breakfast at the cafeteria, and then met our climbing group just outside.
The hike up Mt. Washington was spectacular. We had 4 people in our group, and were accompanied by another group also from EMS of 5 more people. The beginning of the hike along the fire road was a good warmup, and then we put our crampons on and started up the beginning, steep section within tree line. The weather was amazingly mild, and we had an easy hike up to treeline. After we got above treeline, there were a few more miles of mild weather hiking, and then as we got a little closer to the top the weather blew in.
Throughout the climb up, the Rime Ice, which is ice created from supercooled liquid fog, was extremely dramatic, and stuck to everything. Even taking my camera out on the summit for just a minute, Rime Ice immediately began to build up on the lens. You can see the spots of ice in our summit video.
The trip back down the mountain was fun and fast, with some fun glissading on our buts for the very last part!
Sunday night we spent some more time at EMS going over gear, and then Jason and I had a good dinner and went back to Joe Dodge Lodge.
Monday morning was a relaxing breakfast in the cafeteria, and a long, leisurely drive back to the city.