Last Thursday morning we met Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel Musher Chase at base of carriage road after he just completed a practice dog sled run up to the tree line and back. Chase will be taking another practice run next week before his summit attempt on March 7th, 8th or 9th depending on weather. There have been only three dog teams to reach the summit of Mt Washington but all have been in spring. Chase is trying for first calendar winter ascent to help kick off their new non-profit sled dog rescue company based in Jefferson NH.
Near perfect summit weather brought out a number of visitors to summit including Kevin Tilton from North Conway.
Kevin ran up Lion Head trail from Pinkham Notch and now has the un-official fastest winter hiking time of 1hr 7min. And that's in crampons all the way! BTW don’t forget you only got a couple weeks left to put your name into the lottery to be selected to run in the annual foot race to the summit. I'm registered are you? The number of racers has been upped to 1,200 so there is a better chance than ever to get a spot. National Guard paid the summit another visit
as did Harvard Cabin Caretaker Rich
who solo climbed one of the gullies in Huntington Ravine
to reach the summit to participate in a HAM radio contest called SOTA, acronym for Summits On The Air,
We get phone calls at the park (603-466-3347) every day from people looking for information about Mt Washington. Interesting call I fielded was from a gentlemen who just read a National Geographic Magazine in his doctor's office that he said had the most incredible winter photographs of Mt Washington and wanted to know how he could see the ice encrusted summit himself. Other than hiking one of the moderate to strenuous 4+mile hiking trails to summit, which has the approximate vertical equivalent to climbing the Empire State Building 4X, the only 'easy' way to reach the summit in winter is to join the non-profit Mt Washington Observatory and take one of their snow tractor day trips to reach the summit in winter to see the sights first hand. This being February vacation more hikers then usual have been making the arduous trek to summit.
It is interesting to note that Mt Washington was named in 1784 by a mapping survey team lead by Jeremy Belknap and Dr. Cutler, who christen the mountain 'Mt Washington' after their Revolutionary war hero George Washington which was 5 years before George Washington actually became the first President of the United States in 1789. A few decades later after Ethan Crawford cut the nation's first hiking trail to the summit in 1819,
8.5 mile Crawford Path from the south, he led a group of local dignitaries in 1820 who then named the Northern Peaks in honor of presidents Madison, Adams and Jefferson. They did so from the summit of Mt Washington and drank O'Be'Joyfull as they toasted the names of our first chief executive officers to replace the general Indian name of the range known as Agiochochook. On Monday Feb 20th Presidents Day our DRED Commissioner George Bald led a group of NH Business Leaders to the summit. NH is such a great place for people to build a business not only for its pro-business economic climate but also, to me, mostly because employees have access to some the best and most diverse recreational opportunities in the country. For a company to be successful they need happy employees who are happy because they live in a state that has pristine ocean beaches, deep woods campgrounds and the highest summits in the North East. What a place to live, work and raise a family and not have to drive far to get into some of the best outdoors Mother Nature has to offer!