The thing of it was, when we left Lakes of the Clouds Hut just before 7 a.m., we only knew we were going to the top of Mt. Washington.
Would we continue on to Madison Spring Hut or Osgood Tentsite? Could we continue on at all? We didn’t know.
These uncertainties were because of the weather. Looking at the forecast, it didn’t look good. Yesterday was beautifully sunny and pleasant. Today’s forecast was for high winds and rain.
Sometimes it’s possible to walk in conditions like that, but on Mt. Washington, it can sometimes be dangerous.
The mountain is 6,288 feet high, making it the highest peak in the Northeast U.S.
What Mt. Washington is most famous for isn’t its height, though. It earns its fame by having some of the worst, most erratic weather in the world.
That notoriety comes because of its location, which is at the intersection of several major stormtracks. Many storms moving west to east across the country travel over the peak. Those fronts often collide with weather systems moving south to north. This results in extremely violent weather.
The highest recorded wind speed on earth, excluding tropical cyclone winds, was measured here in 1934 at 231 mph. Wind gusts of more than 100 mph are not uncommon.