Pinnacle Buttress 3/7/2013
Charles, Eric, Katie, James
We drove up to Intervale Friday night and set our alarms for 6am. After about 6 hours of sleep, we drove up to Pinkham Notch and got the breakfast buffet. Charles, Katie, and Eric all had fruit on their plate, oatmeal, cereal, etc. My plate had mounds of sausage patties and bacon and baked beans and more sausage patties. This shortsightedness would prove to be a mistake.
As we started the hike to the base of Huntington Ravine at 7:30am, I could tell that this was going to be painful. The three of them were in much better shape, walking a pace I have never seen before and conversing on top of it all. I could barely breathe, let alone contribute to the conversation. I even saw Eric unzip the legs off his pants without even slowing down. How could I ask to stop for water after that? I focused on breathing and not dying and we made it to the talus field in 2 hours. By then the sausage flavored burps had pretty much subsided, and in addition to the beautiful sight of the ravine, I got a second wind.
Charles and I decided to simul-climb the ridge due to the moderate difficulty of the climb as well as the other benefits that simul-climbing afforded. I was the leader for the day and Charles dealt with belaying and rope management on the other end.
We kept around 3 pieces between us and moved at a swift pace. Whenever I came to a crux, I would rig up an anchor real quick, wait for Charles to get to me, and then go for the move. I felt much safer this way since rope drag was minimal/non-existent, and we would have much better verbal/visual communication. After I climbed through the crux, I would set up another anchor and wait for Charles to get through as well. At these times, he would also give the gear back to me so that I could keep going.
I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient the climbing was, which made it even more enjoyable. We topped out at around 12:30, about 1.5 hours before Eric and Katie 🙂
We all reached the summit of Mount Washington at about 3:30, refilled our water, and started the descent via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. We were back to the car at 5:30 making the entire trip 10 hours!
It was a beautiful day, on a classic alpine climb, with awesome people.