View Full Version : Cold weather gear for NH

04-15-2003, 17:47
I know hikers are supposed to have some cold weather gear for the area around Mt. Washington. I'm very willing to comply, but how cold should one plan for? 20*? I'm planning on going through in July.

Thanks. Beth

04-16-2003, 07:26
There are two stetches of trail that are above treeline, and very exposed. You can expect snow any month of the year up there.

One thing to be prepared for is the cool temperature. I'd be prepared for say 25 degrees. But, more importantly, be prepared for a driving rain and mist. If it's 25 degrees, you will probably be in the clouds and the wind could be blowing as well.

Blue Jay
04-16-2003, 15:19
More important than gear going over Washington, is timing. One day you could go over it with 20 degree gear and have to carry it all in your pack due to sweat. The very next day you could be wearing it all and die of hypothermia. Just don't be in a hurry, pick a good day and enjoy it. If it's bad when you get there, hitch around to the great town of Gorham. They will slack pack you back around the next good day at a very fair price. Flexability is everything in the Whites.

04-16-2003, 16:06
From my extensive hiking in the Whites, I can't tell you many times I've gotten nailed above treeline. Definitely listen to the guys who have already posted. Most likely you will not be sleeping above treeline so your nights won't be too bad, but your trek accross it could be ugly. WInd gusts of 70-80 mph and driving rain/ice are not uncommon for July. I'd try to hit the area early in the day to avoid the afternoon volatility.

I think you'll be safe with rain gear and maybe midweight long underwear. If it is too ridiculous, it's easy to get off the ridge to usually much warmer weather. I think a 20-30 degree sleeping bag will be adequate.

04-17-2003, 08:41
Thanks for the information, everyone. I don't mind carrying the safety gear, and I live in a place that gets the occasional (very) summer snow. I just wanted to know what temps to prepare for. I especially like the idea of going to Gorham and hiking back on a nice day. :-) Beth

04-17-2003, 09:18
It's worth it to wait untill a clear day. The views are great.(except the cog train smoke,but they are going to oil soon) I did 4 days last Sept and the day I went over Mt Washington there was only light wind. The next day was overcast and rain.

04-17-2003, 21:23
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Grimace
[B] Definitely listen to the guys who have already posted. Most likely you will not be sleeping above treeline so your nights won't be too bad, but your trek accross it could be ugly.

--I'm pretty sure, unless things have recently changed, it's against the "rules" to sleep above treeline in the Whites unless it's on a few feet of snowpack. The advice about the gear is right on...prepare to bring your "coldest weather" gear, but always hope for a sunny, warm day, and you'll be fine.:) Just for example, we had 80 degree weather in southern NH the other day, and it was a whopping 7 degrees on Mt Washington that same day. The weather up there can be significantly dangerous if you're unprepared.

Papa Bear
04-17-2003, 21:54
I'm sorry if this seems morbid or alarmist, but last year on Sept. 11th, Peter Busher, aka Harley, perished trying to get from Mt. Madison to Mt. Washington. He was a 72 year old thru-hiker who was hiking SOBO (had done a flip-flop). Probable cause was hypothermia.

The weather recorded that day on on Mt. Washington (click here (http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/archive/today-2002-09-12.html) ) had a low temperature of 25 and the wind speed averaged 44 MPH, peaking at 90 MPH, precipitation was 3.5" snow and ice pellets!

Here's (http://appalachia.outdoors.org/bbs/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=825) a fairly lengthy discussion about it from the AMC bulliten board.

Bottom line: don't take anything for granted. This area can be dangerous at any time of year.


07-31-2003, 11:29
Sometimes the Prezzies seem like they are trying to kill you. You've got to be prudent and prepared. Rain/wind gear is a must, as is a map of the whole range and a willingness to stay put at the shelter or use your escape routes. "When in doubt, get the F*&k out!"

A 25 degree bag should be fine for three season use. Stop in at the Huts, AMC or RMC campsites for the weather reports and pay attention to them.

Having a compass and knowing how to use it is good policy above treeline. The clouds can and will close down on you leaving you with little visibility and no real sense of direction. You can use the map and compass to follow the bearing of your path and get to where you are going. It's kind of fun too.

08-26-2003, 19:48
I was just up on MW July 26 for Seek the Peak. Weather was cloudy with wind 55mph (at the top) and gusty. Some low cloud cover on the way down. Made the round trip via Tuck in about 6 hrs plus stops.
I carried a MH GoreTex jacket, fleece, and raingear, and survival gear. Didn't use much of it, but good to know it was there.
I never take the Whites for granted... especially in summer!

Went up again the next day but this time by Cog RR. Wind was even stronger at the summit, and the entire top third of it was in the clouds. A great experience in all!

Hoping next year I'll make Seek the Peak as a thru-hiker. But to be honest, I would be happier to be past MW by then if I start in GA by March 1.