Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mount Washington (New Hampshire)
|Elevation:||6,288 feet (1,917 metres)|
|Latitude:||44° 16′ 14.98″ N|
|Longitude:||71° 18′ 12.54″ W|
|Location:||New Hampshire, USA|
|Topo map:||USGS Mount Washington|
|Easiest route:||hike from Marshfield Station (you can also take the cog to the summit or drive from NH Route 16 in summer)|
Mount Washington (formerly Agiocochook) is, at 6,288 ft. (1916.6 m) the highest peak in the northeastern U.S.. It is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, and in Coos County, New Hampshire. While nearly the whole mountain is in the White Mountain National Forest, a small area (within a radius of something like a quarter mile), above 5,500 feet (1690 m) and including the summit, is the whole of Mount Washington State Park.
Mt. Washington was first climbed in 1642, but there was little activity there until the middle of the 19th century when it was developed as one of the first intentional tourist destinations in the country with the construction of bridle paths and several summit hotels including the Tip Top House, which is still standing and was recently renovated as an historical exhibit. Other tourist construction in the 19th century included a stagecoach road and the Mount Washington Cog Railway (1869), both of which still carry round-trip tourists to and from the top, and sometimes carry hikers as one-way passengers, either for planned descent-only hikes or for planned or unplanned "bailouts" after reaching the summit.
Washington is one of the highest mountains in North America east of the Rockies, and is the third highest state highpoint in the eastern U.S., after Mount Mitchell, North Carolina (6,684 ft; 2,038 m) and Clingmans Dome, Tennessee (6,643 ft; 2,025 m).
Mount Washington literally has some of the worst weather in the world, as it holds the record for land-measured wind-speed at 231 mph (372 km/h), recorded in 1934, and regular winter temperatures of -47°F (-44°C). Snow storms at high altitudes are routine in every month of the year. Buildings at the summit are designed to withstand 300 mph (480 km/h) winds; some are literally chained to the mountain. In addition to a number of broadcast towers, the mountain is the site of a non-profit scientific observatory reporting the weather as well as other aspects of the sub-arctic climate of the mountain.
It is a popular hiking area, and the Appalachian trail crosses the summit. Winter recreation there includes Tuckerman Ravine, famous (despite the lack of ski lifts and artificial snow) for its Memorial Day skiing and its 45-degree slopes. It is notorious for its avalanches, of which about 100 are recorded every year, and which have killed several people since 1849. Numerous hikers have died on the mountain, in all seasons, due to inadequate equipment and/or the difficulty of judging the weather high on the mountain from lower altitudes, and poor decisions once the weather began to turn dangerous.
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