Mt Washington “Circle the Summit” Alpine Zone Hike

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THIS 5.5 MILE HIKE STARTS AND ENDS AT A 6000′ ELEVATION AND IS 100% ABOVE TREELINE. WEATHER CONDITIONS IN THE ALPINE ZONE CAN CHANGE DRAMATICALLY AND QUICKLY. ALL HIKERS MUST BE IN GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION FOR HIKING AND HAVE PROPER HIKING GEAR AND BE PREPARED FOR ANY UNEXPECTED CHANGES IN WEATHER CONDITIONS. WEATHER CONDITIONS AT THE SUMMIT OF MT WASHINGTON ARE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT AND CAN CHANGE IN AN INSTANT. WHILE IT MAY BE IN THE 70’S – 80’S AT THE BASE IT COULD BE IN THE 40’S – 50’S AT THE SUMMIT. IF YOU HAVE NEVER HIKED ABOVE TREELINE OVER 6000′ ELEVATION, OR DO NOT HAVE PROPER HIKING GEAR, THIS HIKE COULD BE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOR YOU. THE TRIP LEADER WILL DO AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE HIKING GROUP BY MAKING PRUDENT DECISIONS OR RECOMMEND CHANGES TO THE HIKING ITINERARY AS REQUIRED, BEFORE AND OR DURING THE COURSE OF THE HIKE. ALL EFFORTS WILL BE MADE TO LIMIT EXPOSURE IF CONDITIONS DETERIORATE. WE SUGGEST THAT ALL HIKERS ADHERE TO “HIKE SAFE” RULES DURING THIS EVENT (hikesafe.com). ALL PARTICIPANTS ON THIS EVENT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN WELL BEING AND SAFETY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.

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This is a drive yourself trip….
This hikers will plan to meet at the Auto-Road Visitor Center before beginning the legendary scenic drive up the 8 mile Auto-Road to the summit of Mt Washington. Hikers can carpool or drive them self up and meet at the summit snack bar before beginning the 1 mile hike down the Nelson Crag Trail to the Alpine Garden Trail. At the trail junction we will turn right for a clockwise spiral mostly uphill hike trekking around the entire summit cone passing by the tops of 4 major ravines, Appalachian Trail, Cog Railway and the Great Gulf ending back at the summit parking area before driving back down. On clear days the views are breathtaking and the alpine zone environment is most unique.

BASIC ITINERARY:
9:00AM…meet at the base of the Auto Road (Toll Road) at the Great Glen visitor center directly across the highway (Rte 16). From there people are welcome to carpool (voluntary) or drive their own car up. (Auto Road Toll: Car and Driver $31 and each additional passenger is $9).

10:30AM…Plan to assemble inside the summit cafe to get ready to start the “Circle the Summit” hike.

12:30 ish…Lunch break in the Alpine Garden (pack your own lunch)

3:00 PM (estimate)…Arrive back to the summit to relax and get ready for a scenic drive back down the mountain.

The only cost to this trip is for the toll road and whatever one may decide to spend at the summit snack bar and summit gift shop. There is a post office at the summit that will sell you a stamp for the postcard you just purchased to mail to a friend.

Weather Conditions for Hiking: Plan A…Summit Hike. As unpredictable as the weather is on Mt Washington, this will be a rain or shine event with no rain date. If on Aug 10th the summit weather forecast from the base of the Auto Road information center is not good for hiking, we will revert to Plan B.
Plan B….a lower easy valley level hike that will hopefully keep us out of bad weather. If Plan B is not good due to unfortunate rain & weather systems, we will revert to Plan C.
Plan C …meet at May Kelly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in North Conway for lunch and a beer.