Mountain Week, The Mountain

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Mount Washington stands at 6,288 feet (1,917 m) and is the highest point of both the White Mountain’s 4000-footers and of New Hampshire. It is known for having incredibly wild weather and holding the record for the highest wind gust measured at the Earth’s surface, 231 mph on April 12, 1934. Before Europeans arrived, it was known as Agiocochook.

First seen in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, it was first ascended in 1642 by Darby Field (for whom Mt. Field is named for). The Crawford Path was laid out in 1819, providing access to the summit. In 1861, a stagecoach road was placed for the summit (which was turned into the Mount Washington Auto Road) and in 1869 the Cog Railway was created.

One of the silliest things I’ve done in my life is to pick up a book entitled “Not Without Peril”; I did this on the first night of a 20 mile hike through the White Mountains and was fascinated by the ways that people have died on Mt. Washington. Some were quite simple, people wandering off trail or trying to summit in storms…other people have died in very unique ways, the ones who died by drowning caught my attention. Apparently, someone has also been murdered on the mountain in 2001.

I would strongly suggest not picking the book up before going on a hike through the Whites, but it is a good read overall.

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