Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Climb Every Mountain
I'm heading to New Hampshire tomorrow to climb Mount Washington on Saturday.
Believe it or not, it's a girls' week-end, get-a-way. My big sister and I are leaving our men and children behind to get away from it all and indulge in a physical challenge.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Mount Washington, it's the highest peak in the North-East, with the summit topping out at over 6,288 feet.
Climbing to the summit of Mount Washington is something I've actually wanted to do for over 20 years, but was never able to get to.
I did climb part-way up the mountain back in the 1980's to ski Tuckerman's Ravine.
Skiing Tuckerman's Ravine is sort of a rite of passage if you're a ski jock living in the Northeast (which I was back in the day). It's definitely an adventure and that you would only do when you're a crazy kid with no responsibilities.
Skiing Tuckerman's Ravine involved hiking part-way up the mountain with both my ski boots and skis strapped to my back, then, once I reached the edge of the ravine, changing into my ski boots and finishing the climb up a sheer wall of snow (it took a couple of hours to do that). At that point, I strapped on my skis and skied down the same incredibly steep trail I just climbed up.
In the course of this adventure, I had to be on the look-out for avalanches and if I fell and got hurt, there was basically no way to get help.
If you want to learn more about skiing Tuckerman's Ravine, you can read about it here: http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tuckerman/tuckerman-safety.cfm
Skiing Tuckeman's Ravine is definitely something I'm glad I'm did when I was 20, because there is no way in hell I'd ever do it now that I'm a sane adult with responsibilities.
Just imagine spending hours climbing in snow and ice and being exhausted, then having to navigate your way down an ungroomed trail with a 55 degree pitch. I could barely walk for days afterwards, and suffered the one of the worst sunburns of my life on my face even though it was April when I embarked on this endeavor.
I won't be doing anything nearly as extreme this time, and my sister and I are planning on taking the "easiest" trail to the top---which, unbelievably, IS the Tuckerman's Ravine trail. This time, however, I won't be climbing up the ravine itself in my ski boots with my skis strapped to my back. I'll just following a nice, well-marked trail to the summit in my hiking boots. I'll probably still be incredibly sore and tired by the end of the day, but that's the point of a physical challenge.
But the easiest trail to the summit is still going to be quite a work-out and it will probably take most of the day to reach the top of the mountain. Once there we're planning on taking the easy way down as well.
And, after that, who knows? Maybe I can find another mountain to climb. I hear Kilimanjaro is quite the trip.