Ascent to Mount Washington-Lion Head Pillar on 2011-03-26

Climber: Eugene Rutzler

Others in Party:Daniel O'Keefe
Brandin O'Keefe
Patrick O'Keefe
Date:Saturday, March 26, 2011
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Mount Washington - Lion Head Pillar
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5092 ft / 1552 m
    Remaining Elevation:1196 ft / 364 m (28% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

My teammates and I were well aware of the limited possibility of a successful summit but we are looking for experience, and we certainly received that! The weather forecast was calling for strong winds and very cold temperatures. As opposed to the Lion Head Summer route, which we took on Jan 8, 2011 to a successful summit)the Winter Route was steep. There is a very steep sustained section of the trail which gave us good opportunity to practice our French technique, as well as some basic front-pointing. Ice Axes were absolutely necessary. I would have felt comfortable wearing a helmet, which I will be purchasing soon. Above the treeline, the wind picked up dramatically. Above treeline the snow also deepened for a period as we approached the Lion Head. We made it to the Lion Head Pillar. All of our goggles were fogged and frozen over. My balaclava was frozen and restricting my breathing. Winds were 60+ miles per hour, gusting closer to 70. Windchill was somewhere around -40 F. Visibility was not as bad as anticipated. We decided to turn back at 700 AM, happy with our progress and the steep grade of climbing we accomplished. Descending was a bit unnerving on the steeper terrain, but when it decreased in severity here and there, we were able to glissade down, which was a thrilling experience.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3060 ft / 933 m
    Elevation Loss:3060 ft / 933 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Frigid, Extremely Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3060 ft / 933 m
    Route:Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Lion Head Winter Route
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center  2032 ft / 619 m
    Time Up:0 Days 4 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3060 ft / 933 m
    Route:Lion Head Winter Route/ Tuckerman Ravine Trail
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center  2032 ft / 619 m
    Time Down:2 Hours 0 Minutes

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