Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mount Ellinor & Mount Washington

One day winter climb of Mount Washington / Winter Direct route (up from Jefferson Pass and down via standard route).

  • Snow and ice on road
  • Continuous snow on trail making access by car impossible started about 2 miles from Ellinor Upper TH. At the beginning of our approach (Jefferson Pass trail) we had no snow for the first 500 ft and then we started to encounter hard snow. The South / South East ridge from Jefferson Pass (we partially followed) was mostly snow free. Fairly easy bushwalking to get on the steep slopes which took us in the basin below the summit spires. The couloir was the only terrain feature filled with some fresh snow (about 8-10 inches) accumulated on top of the older hard pack. Most of the slopes up and down were covered in a hard pack requiring lots of front pointing with two tools. The actual technical pitch was mostly snow free and tedious due to lots of loose rock. The scramble route was mostly snow free.

We climbed the Winter Direct route (with some variations): started from Jefferson Pass TH, followed the trail, gained and followed for a short section the South / South East ridge and then down climbed to get on the slopes which took us in the basin below the summit spires. Geared up in the basin (we were in the whiteout at this point), were able to get a quick loop at the couloir and decided to solo it which worked great. We had to break trail in some fresh snow but it was totally manageable.  Once we got to the top of the couloir we roped up, setup a picket anchor and transitioned to the technical pitch (full 60 m pitch) which was mostly rock with some short sections of steep snow. The transition from the top of the couloir on the rock technical  section was a bit spicy for the leader but protectable -- the snow finger which allowed us to do this transition might be gone in a few days. Overall the technical climb was easy but tedious due to lots of loose rock. In normal conditions, this couloir would be filled with snow and ice. The scramble to the summit was mostly snow free (we initially tried to tackle the summit from the east side but it was a no go due to snow and then we went from the west side and were able to tag it. Started the decent via standard route at 4:15 PM and we knew we would have to rappel and navigate in the dark. The descent was long and technical. We did two double rope rappels and lots of two tool face in downclimbing.


~11.5 miles, ~4500 ft total gain

Started from cars around 8:40 AM, Summit at 4:00 PM, back on the road at the start of the standard route at 9:00 PM, back at cars by 10:30 PM.


4 pickets (used 2), 2X60 m ropes (doubles), light alpine rack (used 3 cams and 1 nut), brought ice crews (we didn't use but could have), 2 tools for each participant, steel crampons were a must; we didn't bring and didn't need snowshoes