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Old 11th September 2010, 23:37   #1
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Default Experience the Worst Weather In the World - MOUNT WASHINGTON

Folks, Here is a quick note on my trip to Mount Washington

Credits -;
Photo Credit Ė My friends VMS and HP

Mount Washington Ė

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m). It is famous for its dangerously erratic weather, and long held the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth's surface, 231 mph (372 km/h) (or 103 m/s), on the afternoon of April 12, 1934.

Bitter cold, dense fog, heavy snow, record wind,100 some-odd turns and not to mention those several hundred-foot drop-offs. Wow, and thatís what our kinds will want to do for a breakfast. Driving up the hill during bright day is thrill and now imagine when you climb at dark even the reflectors and fog lights donít help much. Thatís Auto road event; also called "Climb to the clouds", you are so close to gushing clouds that you feel heaven(more reasons than you think why it feels heaven, read on).


I stay in CT 320 miles south of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Itís close to 6 hours drive. I picked up some of my friends and we set off at around 9pm. New Hampshire is known for roads running through dense forest with many "Moose Crossing" warning boards. These boards really discourage your need for speed, still good drive at 120kmph. We reached there around 3:00am and to our surprise there were a few cars already lined up in the toll gate and that was welcoming. We now knew itís something interesting out there. Within the next 30 minutes gathered a long line-up of all kinds of autos ranging from 2-seater Ferraris to heavy Dodge SUVs. This is Auto road event after all. Sharp at 4:00am the gate opened letting us in with a nominal fee per head (pics starting with 1 - 4).
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We stood 5th in the line and thought thatís fun(read on to find why it wasnít so for others behind us). We were advised not to have auto gear and instead manually steer between Low and Low-1 gears. The hill road started with a real steep climb into thick woods and the was dawn n dark. We were appreciating the reflectors that helped us manipulate the length, curves and how steep the road was (pic 7,9). It was a pleasant, fun drive with my friends passing funny comments and cracking jokes. As we lost ourselves in the fun and jokes we missed track of the tail lamp of the car we were following(pic 9.1). Itís a single road so no question of picking the wrong turn or getting lost so we were fine.
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At this moment we could clearly see the border lines of the road and reflectors... and as we drove for 10 more mins we felt strong wind across the road. Few seconds later we were surround by dense clouds and not just dense they were gushing so fast that we felt flying in the clouds. We thought these passing clouds will live up to their name and pass by in few mins but it looked like they originate(precipitation - pic 17) there and is in no in mood to give us a break. By this time visibility dropped to almost nothing and we could barely see the road and the border lines.(pics 10,11) We had to stop our car only to realize our fog lamps are so small and not even enough to see the roads. We have to keep on moving to reach the summit on time to watch the sunrise so we decided to crawl following the bleak signs of border lines.
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We got a little break from the clouds to see what is around us and what we saw was FREAKING FUN!!. It took our experience to the next the right in a couple of feet was some 3000 feet drop-off and we realized our crawling has to be even more careful. At times we had to stop to peep out of our windows to see how close are we to the edges. We had no guts to move the car without knowing whether the curve is to the left or to the right. Few minutes of waiting for the clouds to clear and we saw the cars behind us had to stop since we arenít moving. The SUV behind us had extra fog lamps fitted and Iím sure they were at least able to spot the border lines but we were blocking their way.(Now you see why we being front in the lineup wasnít fun for others behind us)

We decided to let the SUV behind us(Pic 13) pass over so we will at least have some red tail lamps to follow. With all our guts we pulled over to the left(here in US it has to be right but who cares when there is a broken ridge on the other side) - Pic 14. With a smile the driver behind us passed and we realized even his fog lamps arenít helping a lot but surely better than what we had. We followed him and we knew it wonít be smart to lose track of him so pumping up our adrenaline we were on the pedal without knowing whatís ahead of us just following the tail lights. When my friend opened the window to peep out, there was a strong flow of clouds it filled the car with moist, cold air and the visibility inside the car went bad for a second. With 5000 feet drop-off on one side of the road, broken edges on the other side, clouds all around with zero visibility; there were plenty of reasons why we felt like in close to our ancestors and Gods do we see them around was the question :P

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It was a relatively smooth drive following the tail lamps and after some 30-35 mins of drive we felt relieved spotting some human presence and we were in the parking space up the hill(pic 15,15). Once we pulled over in the parking space I had a question...what happened to all the funny comments and jokes we started with from the passengers from the rear was looong since I even heard a word from them. Oh never mind...that happens... when you travel from earth to heaven its between life and death :P
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Pics we took all this time didnít come up great with mist and cloud around and not to forget the shaky hands of the photographer (pic 12)...we took a few good ones during sunrise (pics 18-27) and on our way back (28 - 60)...I might add some more text about our way back but these pics surely would tell the story themselves. When you see these pics, donít forget to realize we came past these in the dark not knowing what was around us.
Shaky hands of the photographer
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There is a lot to say about the experience in the summit and the observatory standing against gushing clouds and strong winds one can never experience more to come...

Some facts...(pic - 16)
Date - Sun Aug 29
Sunrise - 5:58am
Max. Wind speed - 128 km per hour
Visibility - 0 miles 0 meters
Temp 4.4 C
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Old 12th September 2010, 03:20   #2
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Good God.

I was there the next Sunday 5th September. With chill wind at 57 mph cutting through the bones, clouds with suspended water particles slapping your face, braving that without proper winter clothing - I made a fool of myself .

The weather was clear till midway to the top, and zero visibility at the summit.
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Old 12th September 2010, 19:33   #3
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Good One. I didnt know about this road although having a few friends in Boston (they are not car or travel freaks !!)
Arindam, did you take any pics?

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Old 13th September 2010, 00:45   #4
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Yes, I did, but very few.

Planning to write a log with my Boston journey and few of the surrounding places I have visited - Mt Washington and Lakes Region, NH; Acadia National Park, ME; Newport, RI.
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Old 13th September 2010, 03:57   #5
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Was there a auto road even on Sep 5 too else i thought the toll gate opens only at around 7 or 7:30.
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Old 13th September 2010, 04:26   #6
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And some more pics on the summit and our way down....Every time i see these pictures, it reminds me of our zero-visibility drive up these blind curves and amazing drop-offs.
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Old 14th September 2010, 12:51   #7
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Did you get the customary "This car climbed Mount Washington" sticker?
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Old 14th September 2010, 15:27   #8
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I did. But alas, I was driving a rented car :(
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Old 23rd September 2010, 22:34   #9
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Originally Posted by f1fan View Post
Did you get the customary "This car climbed Mount Washington" sticker?
Yes i have one...and planning to put on my scorpio in India..May be like "That" car climbed Mt Washington or This 'Driver' climbed mount Washington :P

Is this the right smiley to use? -
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Old 26th September 2010, 00:20   #10
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Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
I did. But alas, I was driving a rented car :(
Did you not get the option to take the sticker, instead of pasting it in the rental car? This way, you could have pasted it in your car !
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