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By Eric F
Aug 17, 2011

I'm going to have the winter pretty open and am hoping to start working on some peaks that would suit a beginner.

I've taken a mountaineering school course which was great and i am finishing my first summer as an outdoors instructor, so i'm not completely coming out of nowhere.

I've been thinking about the northeast US (white mountains, possibly adirondacks), but would love to get some feedback/suggestions as a good town/region/guidebooks/anything to get me started.

Thanks for any input you've got


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By chasegru
Sep 21, 2011

Winter mountaineering's it's own category within the mountaineering-at-large field. The summer months tend to be the best time for beginners to bag peaks, then pick up winter skills later.

Not to say that's a requirement; if you're up in the northeast this winter chances are you'll cut your teeth on some ice climbing in the white mountains. You'll probably be able to find some places to work on back country skiing. If you've got tough hands, you might even be able to pull down on some cold cold rock in the Adirondacks.

Stay warm and have a good season,
Chase


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Sep 21, 2011

"Bagging" summer peaks east of the Rockies usually means going hiking for a few hours, not much mountaineering involved. Even the fickle Mt. Washington has a train track and a paved road to the summit.


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By percious
From Bear Creek, CO
Sep 21, 2011
Hanging out with some scooter trash.

Danny's right. There's definitely NO mountaineering in Colorado. Especially not in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. There's also no rock climbing, mountain biking, or skiing. You'd best look elsewhere. I might add the the train does not run to the top of Mt. Washington in the winter. So, that might give you a more "remote" feel. Nevermind the loud hum of the generator for the large home/lab at the top of the mountain. The wind speeds are some of the highest ever recorded on earth!

cheers.
-chris


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Sep 21, 2011

percious wrote:
Danny's right. There's definitely NO mountaineering in Colorado. Especially not in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. There's also no rock climbing, mountain biking, or skiing. You'd best look elsewhere. I might add the the train does not run to the top of Mt. Washington in the winter. So, that might give you a more "remote" feel. Nevermind the loud hum of the generator for the large home/lab at the top of the mountain. The wind speeds are some of the highest ever recorded on earth! cheers. -chris


I'm not sure which parts are sarcastic, but where does Colorado fit into the U.S. Northeast?


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By Nathan Stokes
Sep 21, 2011

Lots of fun to be had in the Adirondacks and Whites in the winter. The "mountains" may not be as tall, but they are just as nasty as some of the stuff out west. Look at the number of people who have died on Mt. Washington. Everything can be done as a 4th class or less trip, but there are some peaks in the Adirondacks that are 18 miles RT with 2500+ plus of gain. Try doing that at 0F with a 20kt wind and 10ft vis above tree line. And if you tire of single peak bagging there are lots of long day link ups pushing 20+ miles and 5000+ ft of gain. Plus lots of wet nasty snow to break trail in. What more could you want, plus decent ice to be found everywhere and after Irene, 10+ new slides that are super long for back country turns. And cool patches to be had for 46, 48 or 115ing.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Sep 21, 2011

Eric, you probably need to figure out what mountaineering is for you personally. Some people think it's hiking with crampons and ice axe and peak bagging. Some believe it's climbing with technical gear.

There are ton of options in the White and Dacks. I would suggest the following:

1. Do some peak bagging. Daks and Whites have plenty to offer. Classic mountains like Mt Marcy, Lion Head up Mt Washington. Some require crampons, some don't. You'll learn how to crampons more efficiently. While the trails themselves seem tamed, the days can be long and brutal in the winter. Perfect training for your future approaches to bigger and tougher objectives.

2. Do a lot of ice climbing. Dacks and Whites offer you more ice than you can possibly climb. From easy stuff like WI-2 (Willie's Slide) to WI6. Since it's your first season, do the classic easy ice routes with easy approach: Cinema Gully, Roaring Brook Fall, Chouinard's Gully, Multiplication Gully, etc. All of them are easy, commitment grade is low and relatively safe from avalanches.

3. Do some bigger alpine routes. Trap Dike and North Face of Gothic usually come in and stay late in the season (late Feb, March), just as ice elsewhere are getting beat up and maybe starting to melt. Mt Washington's gullies also tend to be in good shape late in the season. These routes have a lot of avalanche issues, as well as more committing approach. Pay a lot of attention to route condition reports and weather reports.

Good luck on your winter season!


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Sep 21, 2011
Axes glistening in the sun

Mt Washington is a good place to start. The trails can be pretty well packed, BUT that's no excuse for good route finding ability as whiteouts can happen above treeline and you could find yourself walking off into a ravie. The road and cog are closed in the winter. The one "mountaineering" experience you'll get is COLD!!!! I've been up there camping near the harvard hut when the windchill had it down to -50. Yes minus 50 degrees F.

You could camp out at harvard hut, get up early climb pinnacle gully and attempt a summit bid. Warning though, depending on weather, before you top out put your super warm clothes on, face mask especially as once you top out that wind can hit you pretty hard. It can pretty a dangerous place. And yes there's even avi danger which is reported every day.


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Oct 11, 2011
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

We were up there one day last year when the temperature was -80 with the windchill. no joke. Didnt leave the cabin that day.

Mt. Washington is a great place to start, as it has everything to beginner routes, to endless amounts of ice in the gullies. Hell most people dont even bother summitting and just play in the ravines all day.

Always get there early and check the rnager report in harvard cabin though for the avalanch conditions. It is released at 8am every day. If its bad... plan on staying in the cabin for the day.

A presidential traverse is also great experience for long days spent in the snow.

The whites have pretty much every kind of weather route condition etc, and are great for beignners to experience pros.

If you want more of a challenge theres always katahdin..


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