I can never get enough stories about Mount Washington, the little mountain in New Hampshire that kills just everybody, and which I’ll never visit unless it’s to get dragged into the weather station and gleefully drink cocoa as the sky goes all to white hell around me. Here are some highlights for you armchair outdoorswomen, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 !!!!!s.
“Day and overnight snowcat trips are available, and we also partner with several area climbing schools for guided mountaineering ascents. All trips include home-cooked meals and exclusive access to our mountaintop weather station, with overnight accommodations provided in our cozy living quarters.
Register now for the trip of a lifetime, and join us in the Home of the World’s Worst Weather!”
“Dupuis has had to put his own life at risk too many times rescuing the unprepared to be nice to them.
And that’s the real reason Mount Washington kills. Close enough to the northeast urban conurbation that a summit can be had in a day trip from Boston, or an overnight from New York, the mountain offers some of the best, and most easily-accessible hiking and skiing in the region. 250,000 people are said to visit each year. Doing that is as easy as pulling into the parking lot, and hitting the trailhead. There’s warning signs, there’s stories, and there’s even guides you can hire, but most people are content just to head out for a walk, and see what happens; ignorant of the weather, the terrain, and the dangers. It’s tempting to say that the government should step in, and require permits, or better patrol the trails, but it’s also easy to conclude that if someone is going to set out on a mountain notorious for its death-rate and extreme weather in flip flops, that they’d find a way to die elsewhere if this hike wasn’t available.”
“He says the building they work out of at the summit of Mount Washington has concrete walls that are three feet thick and windows made of bullet-resistant glass. ‘Even with this protection, the constant, dull roar of the wind is ever-present in the Observatory’s Weather Room.’”
“In the parking lot, she scaled the nearly 6-foot-tall snowbank left by plows. Across a snowmobile raceway and a few paces up the narrow trailhead, a sign warns hikers bluntly of the risk they are about to bear:
Try this trail only if you are in top physical condition, well clothed and carrying extra clothing and food. Many have died above timberline from exposure. Turn back at the first sign of bad weather.
Matrosova, 32, was fit and strong and smart. A trader at BNP Paribas on Wall Street, she was also driven and determined. She had undertaken some strenuous climbs before, and this was the vacation she had planned.
And if Matrosova saw the sign by the light of her headlamp in the pre-dawn darkness — if she read every word before she set out between the trees — it did not dissuade her, either.”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.