Assault on Mt. Washington

Perhaps that title should be “Assault by Mt. Washington,” because  that is how we felt afterwards. Being young and foolish (that is to say, a week or so ago—today we are much wiser) my lovely wife, Lyn, and I decided to climb Mt. Washington, the highest mountain in North America, east of the Mississippi River. This is a place that proudly advertises that the highest wind ever recorded by mankind (231 mph) was observed at the weather observatory there, and certainly the mountain has the well-deserved reputation of the most treacherous weather in the world.

We took the most popular trail, Tuckerman’s Ravine, from its start at Pinkham Notch. This means 4,300 feet of climbing in just over 4 miles. Not killer, but not easy. If you ever try the climb, beware of the last 0.8 miles: the portion beyond the headwall up to the observatory; this is the hardest section and gets progressively harder as you scramble up a scree slope, with no exact route, on all fours. At the top we were tired, relieved, hungry and didn’t care what the cost of the shuttle ride back to Pinkham Notch was…we were going to ride down in comfort, and that was that!

The images were taken by a small Nikon point-and-shoot recommended for its picture quality by a web site that will no longer get any visits from me. These are the best I could salvage. Sorry for the quality. I have added some notes to many of the images.

Before viewing the photographs, I would also like to invite you to visit the poetry blog, the Book of Pain. As always, special thanks to my dearest Lyn, She Of Great Taste In All Things But Men, who does most of the photo selection. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.


A waterfalls at the base of Tuckerman Ravine.



A wall texture from the Appalachian Mountain Climber’s Hermit Lake hut wall. The hike to here was moderately easy. After the hut it got to be like climbing a steep staircase that never stopped.



Not a great picture, but it shows Wildcat Ski hill on the other side of the valley.



A resting place along the small river that flows down the ravine.





Arriving at the base of the headwall by the waterfalls.



These guys had climbed part way up the waterfalls and gone over on the other side, because, apparently, they could.



Then again in close up…



Part way up the climb of the headwall by the waterfalls, I took their photo again.



And then again in close up…



Some images on the way up the headwall.





Looking back down from three quarters up the headwall. Can you spot the people?


Here they are…



Looking towards the waterfalls.




After that, to be honest, is when it got hard and it got too tiresome to take the camera out and try and take photos. Sorry!

All photographs and comments ©2014 by John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.


4 thoughts on “Assault on Mt. Washington

  1. Love your apology at the end 🙂 I usually take 100 pics the first day of a trip but by day five I’m down to just 20 or so unless something really motivates me to pull the camera out again.

    • The hardest part, I think, was knowing that a section was 1.8 miles and after doing what I was SURE was 1.5 miles, we came across a sign that said we had only done 1 mile. (All lies and deceits of course, but still…) After that the markers went down every 0.2 miles but by then it felt like at least two miles in between, because of having to scrabble over the scree field. We were tired. But still, afterwards, when I pulled out the pictures I could not explain why, even to myself, I had taken no pictures! When there were so many good ones to take. Not that I am going back soon to do so…

      Thank you so very much for dropping by the Book of Bokeh! I hope to see you again.

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