Early Season Pinnacle Gully, Mt Washington

I was lucky enough to spend yesterday on the eastern flanks of Mt Washington in Huntington Ravine climbing Pinnacle Gully.  Pinnacle Gully was first climbed in February of 1930, and occured over the course of a couple fo DAYS!  This first ascent was, of course, prior to the invention of front points.  So, you get the picture, it’s a classic route.  About as classic as it gets.

In 2008, I snagged an early season ascent on Nov. 12.  It was quite a bit better than what we encountered yesterday.  Yesterday’s ascent required creative protection and anchoring, a cool head, and some simul-climbing.  It was scrappy for sure, and hard to protect.

First View

First View

Pitch 2

Pitch 2

Nate scrambling towrds the Alpine garden.

Nate scrambling towrds the Alpine garden.

View of North Gully

View of North Gully

Model of Mt Washington

Model of Mt Washington

Pitch 1.  Photo courtesy ofNate McKenzie.

Pitch 1. Photo courtesy of Nate McKenzie.

On the descent. Photo courtesy of Nate McKenzie.

On the descent. Photo courtesy of Nate McKenzie.

Route: Pinnacle Gully III NEI 3+

Strategy: Left Pinkham Notch @ 8:15am, hiked up the Tux trail, to the Huntington Fire Road, to the ravine floor, up throught the Fan.  Climb 3 long pitches with simul climbing.  Descend via Alpine garden and Lion’s Head/Tux Trail back to Pinkham.  Arrive at pinkham at 3pm.

Weather: 0-10F, winds NW-W 70-85, turning W 45-65.  Clear with sunshine. Limited spindrift due to extreme high winds the day before.

Rack & Kit: 5 13cm screw ncluding one new Petzl Laser Sonic (sweet).  1 17cm, one 10 cm stubbie. small set of wires, 3 cams, I forgot iron at home, but wouldn’t have used it.  8 quickdraws, 2 double runners, 3 lockers, 1 short cordelette, J Snare v thread tool (jsnare.com), Petzl Reverso 4. New style Petzl Adjama harness, Siracco Helmet.  Cold Cold World Valdez pack.  Sportiva Batura 2 boots. Petzl Quark tools and Dartwin ‘pons. 3 pair gloves (my hands get really bad), 160 gram of assorted primaloft and hard shells.

Rope: You guessed it, 60m Sterling Nano, 9.2mm

It’s time to book your Mt Washington climbs now and the conditions will improve!

Thanks to Nate McKenzie for the photos and for making the drive north in suspect conditions.

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