Mount Washington in November

Yes, it’s possible to hike Mount Washington in November. At 6,288.2 ft (1,916.6 m), Mount Washington is the highest mountain in New Hampshire and Northeastern United States. It is known for having the worst weather ever recorded in history (231 miles per hour, recorded in 1934). This record was held for more than 60 years. Although not very technical and high in altitude, Mt Washington brings a tremendous challenge due to its rapidly changing weather conditions. Usually, climbing this mountain in November with not much preparation in advance would have been questionable, but we found a good weather window on November 7th.

Brittany and I packed our backpacks with the usual; microspikes, gloves, warm layers of clothing, trekking poles, headlamps, food, plenty of water, etc. and off we went. The day was clear and not too cold for a New Hampshire November day with about 49 degrees when we started. There are different trails to take and we went for the Lion head trail as the Tuckerman ravine trail had bad conditions with falling ice.

The beginning of the Lion head trail is pretty straight forward with many sections that are mostly flat. More than an hour into the hike, it’s when it starts to get more steep and with sections that require the use of hands. Almost no snow or ice at all up until this point. As we kept ascending, we could see the surrounding mountains as the day was clear and with great visibility. On the left we started to see Tuckerman Ravine with little snow and more popular to hike during the summer months. Although, during the winter, skiers ski down this pretty steep slope.

The last section before the summit, reminded me in some ways of the Ecuadorian mountains, with a combination of rock scrambling and some steepness. Even though there was less exposure, the wind was blowing pretty strong for the most part. We saw about 20 people in this section and I could see that we were getting close to the top.

The summit of Mount Washington is like no other summit I’ve been to. At the top you’ll find; the Mt. Washington Observatory, a museum, a cafeteria, toilets, a gift shop, among other things. You can reach the summit by car, let me write that again, you can reach and summit by car. Oh, did I mention that you can also reach the top through the Cog Railway? it’s mind blowing to think about all of these things at the top of a mountain. It’s a very touristy place. Fortunately, all of these attractions are only open during the summer so there were not too many people at the mountain.

We lucked out at the summit with 40 degree weather for a November day and not much wind blowing. In the end, we didn’t have to use all of our layers. Brittany and I started 2020 with Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador and now we’ve wrapped up the year with the highest peak of New Hampshire. As I was standing on top of this mountain and seeing the lower peaks, my mind was filled with thoughts about the weather conditions of this mountain and potentially climbing it during the winter. I can see why so many have perished attempting this feat. It’s no small feat. The weather conditions can change very fast and you have to climb Mount Washington with respect and humbleness. I’m sure this will not be the last time I’m on top of this mountain, as it will certainly be a good place for training for the bigger peaks in the near future. 

Mount Liberty, Winter Ascent

As a mountaineer, you are always dreaming about the next mountain. Ever since I started climbing mountains in the Ecuadorean Andes back in the summer of 2016, I’ve always wanted to climb mountains in other countries. The opportunity to visit New England in December for the holidays meant one thing: My first international + winter ascent.

After doing some research about which mountain to climb, Brittany and I decided to attempt Mount Liberty on December 29. Located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Mount Liberty is at 4,459 ft (1,359 m). Although significantly lower in elevation compared to the Ecuadorean mountains, the challenge of climbing in the winter seemed very appealing to us.


Two of Brittany’s friends joined us for the climb and after about 2 hours of driving north from Epping, we reached the foot of the mountain. What struck me the most at the beginning was how close the beginning of the hike was from the road – Interstate 93. You can hear the sound of cars passing by.

After gearing up with three layers of clothing, food, water, snowshoes, and microspikes, we started the hike through the Whitehouse Trail – Liberty Spring Trail which is part of the famous Appalachian Trail. The weather was surprisingly not freezing, despite being winter and after a few minutes, time to take off the first layer.


The landscape is very different from the South American paramo as you are surrounded by tall pines and small rivers. Some trees are marked with blue paint so that hikers don’t get lost. As we continued our hike, the trees started getting shorter and the weather colder. As we reached the point above the tree line, there was a sign that warned hikers of the dangers of climbing without proper gear.

This was perhaps the most interesting part of the hike as the wind blew strongly and we were getting close to the summit. I could feel that it was well below the freezing temperature and finally saw the iconic summit of this beautiful mountain. Brittany and I hugged and took some photos at the summit. It wasn’t clear at the top and we did not have the views that we would have wanted but the feeling of summiting my first international mountain and during the winter was definitely memorable.


The next challenge at the White Mountains will be to summit Mount Washington in the winter. Until then!