January 2018 ~ Mt. Washington Winter Climb



January 12 – 15, 2018

~  summit New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, home of the world’s worst weather  ~

Your Guides:  
Himalaya specialist, Jerry Lapp teaming up with local Mt Washington guides, Northeast Mountaineering
Tour Sketch:  
Gaining 1,000+ ft every mile over four+ miles, the Lion Head route to the summit of Mt Washington is a pleasant summertime challenge.  In January, however, hear it roar as the wind whips up and the trail demands full-on mountaineering gear for a successful ascent.  Skychasers has arranged all details from Lancaster, PA including group transport, lodging, and a day of mountain skills training prior to our summit assault.
Adventure Rating:  
High ~ while the hike isn’t particularly long, its steepness and weather can be alarmingly absurd.
Low Point:  
Arriving at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center just after dawn, our low point is exactly where it should be – at the very start, and end, of the hike with plenty of oxygen at 2,000 feet above sea level.
High Point:  
At 6,289 ft, our summit is the highest peak in the northeast United States, houses a fully-staffed weather station, still has plenty of oxygen, and is home to another building that’s chained to the ground so it doesn’t blow away, below.

Traveling over ice and snow with crampons and their incredible purchase?  Walking on top of trees that are buried in snow?  The views above treeline?
Room & Board:  
We’ll be staying in hostel-style accommodations at the bunkhouse of Northeast Mountaineering.  Meals will be together as a group at local eateries but aren’t included in the package price.
The tour includes group transport from Lancaster, PA to Mt Washington, guides, one day of mountain skills training, one-day summit climb and two nights of hostel-style accommodation.
Bring cash for snacks along the trail; meals; gratuities for local guides; and equipment rental . . . all mountaineering gear is available for rent through Northeast Mountaineering.

Our Mt Washington hike is part of a four-day tour of the northeast United States.  Part road trip, all adventure, challenge your world over the course of the long Martin Luther King weekend.

Let Skychasers take care of the logistics as you target your training with the goal of learning the ropes of mountaineering and summiting Mt Washington.  If you’ve ever dreamed of climbing Mt Rainier, Denali, or a Himalayan peak, this is a great place to start.  Inspire yourself by stretching beyond your comfort zone!

Your Tour begins and ends in Lancaster, PA with comfortable transport to and from the mountain.  If you’re coming from another part of the country or world, let us know and we’ll make adjustments accordingly.

                    FastFacts on Mt Washington

  • for many years, the summit of Mt Washington owned the record for highest recorded wind speed, 231 mph!
  • the auto road to the summit averages a 12% grade
  • Lancaster > Mt Washington:  543 miles, 10 hours overland
  • we’ll have a 4:1 client to guide ratio
  • drive with Travis Pastrana up the 7.6 mile-long auto road in a record 5 mins: 44 secs . . . https://youtu.be/v-4j6mPkAYM . . . it took me a couple hours in my minivan

  The Mountain  

 Your Climb up the Mountain

Mt. Washington Outline

  • Day 1     Drive with the group from Lancaster, PA to Mt. Washington
  • Day 2     Mountain skills training at Crawford Notch or similar
  • Day 3     Climb Mt. Washington, descend Mt. Washington
  • Day 4     Drive with the group from Mt. Washington to Lancaster, PA

 Your Detailed Plan of Attack (subject to change)

Day 1  ~  Road Trip from Lancaster, PA to Mt. Washington  ~  January 12, 2018

Google Maps says it’s 543 miles or 10 hours to drive to the mountain, but do you really want to do it without stopping?  Call it closer to 11 hours in good conditions.  We’ll end up at our bunkhouse, settle in a bit, pick up our rental gear, go to dinner, then hit the sack.

Day 2  ~  Mountain Skills Training at Crawford Notch or nearby  ~  January 13

We’ll head out to a restaurant for breakfast, pick up some snacks for the day, and be on our way to Crawford Notch.  There, our friends from Northeast Mountaineering will give us a primer on basic mountain skills.  Learn how to use crampons and an ice axe to stop yourself if you’re slip-sliding down a mountain.  Not only will today be a fun day in the mountains, it’s going to instill confidence and give us the tools to handle anything that comes along tomorrow on the mountain.

Day 3  ~  Climb Mt. Washington  ~  January 14

A big breakfast is definitely in order this morning . . . I call it belly-stashing, ie, pre-eating heavily before a big day out in the wild.  With a final gear check, we’ll pack our backpacks and head out on the short drive to Pinkham Notch.  From there, we enter a world of snow and ice that becomes more and more white as we ascend.  One of the challenges early on is to keep from sweating too much so that our wet clothes and bodies don’t freeze in the wind above treeline.  About halfway up, we’ll turn left off the main trail, taking aim for Lion Head, while the alternate trail goes straight ahead to the winter playground of Tuckerman Ravine.  Getting up and over the rocky outcrop that is Lion Head is a nice challenge, then presently we rejoin the trail, if there is one, rising up out of Tuckerman Ravine.  From there, we’re well above treeline and it’s all uphill as we climb the summit dome targeting the weather station and a couple other desperate buildings on the summit.

If it’s cold and the wind is roaring on top, we’ll do an instant turnaround, otherwise, we’ll take some time to enjoy our incredible surroundings, truly a moonscape of foreboding alpine terrain that few have the chance to experience.  The Lion Head trail will also show us the way down . . . take care but keep things moving to beat the early twilight that comes quickly in the far northeast.


Day 4  ~  Return Drive from Mt. Washington to Lancaster, PA  ~  January 15

Our adventure comes to an end today with the return road trip back to Lancaster.  You can be comfortable in the knowledge that Mt. Washington has rarely been accused of gaining altitude inefficiently.  Whatever your personal outcome was yesterday, it takes a back seat to the fact that you were out there, maybe out of your comfort zone, going after challenging wintertime goals.

Logistics, Registration, Etc . . .

Registration & Trip Deposit

Register simply by letting me know you’ll be on the trip ~ write me at skychasersco@gmail.com or call me at 717.682.5265

Your deposit holds your spot; refundable until December 15, 2017.  Checks can be written and sent to:   Skychasers, LLC  •  628 Oxford Dr  •  Lancaster, PA  17601

Follow up with a final balance payment by January 1, 2018

Registration closes December 15, 2017


 ! Your Mandatory Gear List & Equipment Rentals !

Most items are available for rent from climbingrentals.com at a 20% discount to Skychasers’ hikers. Rentals must be reserved online prior to travel for Jan 13 & 14, and will be ready for pickup when we arrive the evening of Jan 12. Or, buy clothing items nearby at The North Face, Columbia Factory Store, Merrell, or the Eddie Bauer Outlet, all at Tanger Outlets, Lancaster.

Clothing & Equipment Mandated by Mt Washington Wintertime Law

Guide Picks

Base Layer Top and Bottom  ~  long-sleeve wool or synthetic top will be used as your base layer. Zip-neck styles will allow for better temperature regulation.  Bring from home. Patagonia Capilene Women’s or Men’s
Socks  ~  wool or synthetic . . . bring from home Smartwool Mountaineer
Pack with Waist Strap  ~  a 30-40L pack is the recommended size for one-day climbs. Your pack MUST have a waist strap.  A backpack will not suffice. Patagonia Ascensionist Daypack 35L
Crampons  ~  10-12 point adjustable crampons designed for mountaineering Black Diamond Contact Clip
Ice Axe  ~  an ice axe designed for general mountaineering Black Diamond Raven
Helmet  ~  a lightweight climbing helmet Black Diamond Half Dome
Warm Hat  ~  wool or synthetic.  It should be warm and thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet. Outdoor Research Gradient
Buff or Neck Gaiter  ~  Buff makes the best option Buff
Baseball Hat/Sun Hat  ~  optional . . . a lightweight ball cap or sun hat
Sunglasses  ~  a pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type sunglasses Julbo Dolman
Lightweight Gloves  ~  one pair of fleece gloves OR PL Sensor
Medium-weight Gloves  ~  wind/water resistant insulated mountain gloves OR Alpine Alibi II
Heavy Insulated Mittens  ~   wind/water resistant, insulated mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove. Marmot Expedition Mitts
Light Insulating Layer/Soft Shell Top  ~  a fleece or other insulation layer Patagonia R1 Pullover
Hard Shell Jacket with Hood  ~  wind/rain-proof . . . gore-tex recommended OR Maximus
Insulated Parka  ~  this item becomes of highest importance when we are faced with poor weather.  This should be an expeditionary-type heavy parka that extends well below the waist and above the knees.  Goose down is recommended versus synthetic fill.  It does not have to be waterproof, but that is a nice feature.  The parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day and as an emergency garment if needed.  When sizing a parka, allow for several layers to be worn underneath; buy it large.  The parka must have an insulated hood. OR Incandescent Hooded
Climbing Pants  ~  synthetic climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility.  You can wear them alone on hot days, or in combination with the base layer on cold days.  The thickness (insulation quality) should be based on how well you do in the cold.  For most of our adventures snow pants will suffice. OR Ferrosi Men’s

OR Ferrosi Women’s
Hard Shell Pants  ~  a pant made of breathable rain and wind-proof material will be needed.  Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons in cold, inclement weather. Marmot Precip Full Zip
Mountaineering Boots  ~  insulated plastic boots are the preferred choice for winter mountaineering.  They provide the best insulation as well as a more rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons.  Leather mountaineering boots that have completely rigid soles are also adequate, but they will need to be insulated and may still result in cold feet above treeline.  Lightweight hiking boots without insulation are not acceptable as they don’t work well with crampons, or in very cold or wet weather.  Winter boots are not acceptable unless they adequately hold a crampon.  Check out A Guides View: Selecting Mountaineering Boots. Scarpa Inverno
Gaiters  ~  a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots.  These will protect you from catching your crampons on loose clothing. OR Expedition Crocs

Mt. Washington Summit Forecast, Jan 8 – Jan 22, 2018


The Roadtrip

Contact Your Tour Organizer

Skychasers, LLC and Jerry Lapp are honored to organize and lead your Mt. Washington climb . . . we specialize in mountain treks, particularly in the High Himalaya, but in other locales as well.  Get in touch with me, Jerry, on any questions or comments:


USA phone     +1  717 . 682 . 5265


628 Oxford Drive  ~  Lancaster, PA  17601  ~  USA

” If adventure is defined as an expedition of which no one knows the outcome… this is it!!!  From blood sucking leaches to the poorest, most hospitable villagers pouring you endless amounts of tea . . . and fog socked in afternoons to breathtaking, world-class views . . . muscles and lungs aching from lack of oxygen to the strength you never knew you had . . . all making memories that will last forever! “

~ Melita Z., Mountain Relief Trek, Fall 2015