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Mount Washington 10/5/14

Mt Washington holds a series of titles for me. First of all, it is in the books as Mountain #3 of the Mountain A Month project. Secondly, it is in the first mountain that I have run, and probably the mountain that will be to blame for all of my future attempts to wrangle my friends into running up and down mountains. And thirdly, it was my first experiencing with technical rock climbing. Wholly, Mt Washington was a mildly-terrifying, physical-limit-pushing, adventure. Neither Andy or I were able to properly function as human beings for a couple of days afterward.

We got a late start, Andy, tired from a long day of climbing at the Portland Boulder Rally, and I, emotionally drained from the loss of my winged roommate, Loulou, the day before, continued to hit the snooze button until our 430am wake up time became… 830am, a very unfamiliar time for either of us to meet the day. The weather was forecast to be mild anyway, so we had a leisurely breakfast, packed lightweight packs, and hit the road.

When we reached the trail head, all I could think was WOW. Looming above us with its picturesque (and somewhat intimidating-looking) 300 some odd feet of vertical rock, Mt Washington just begged us to summit. So, Garmin activated, running shoes tightened, and packs cinched on, we started up the trail, falling into a rhythm as we booked it up the trail. From the trail head, along the PCT, and up through the woods, we ran. And then we reached the scree. And I became the scared little panda that I can oftentimes become on mountains. But, Andy, once again, coached me through the precarious sections, and we reached the base of the spire. A few short pitches of exciting, 5.easy-moves later, and we reached the summit.

It was beautiful. We watched black capped rosy cheeked finches dart from rock to rock, a clark’s nutcracker investigate our packs, and a pair of bald eagles hunting their lunch in the sky, all while soaking up the view, downing as much food as we could manage to stomach, and enjoying a short break from all the running.

Then, we took a few selfies, packed up our bags, and started back down the mountain.

Of course, as we’ve learned from my previous mountaineering adventures, I am the WORST at walking down mountain slopes. So, it took quite a while to get off the scree. Then, we ran. The last two miles were at 8:45 and 8:00 pace. We cooked it.

Car to summit: 2h16m

Car to car: 4h 16m

We now have a record to beat :)

Thanks, Mt Washington, for being so amazing. We’ll climb you again soon.

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