Hiking tips

How to Summit Mount Washington and Other Hiking Tips for Enthusiastic Beginners

Way of life

An experienced hiker walks you through how to get from your couch to the top of the tallest mountain in the Northeast.

In this file photo from July 27, 2016, a pair of hikers traverse a trail on Mount Washington in NH

Do you think this is the summer you’ll finally hike Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the northeastern United States?

If you’re new to hiking, you’ll want to take a few steps first.

Jamaica Plain’s Drew Baldassarre has been leading hikes for Airbnb since 2017, taking people to places like the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton and the Boston Harbor Islands with Airbnb Experiences, a program in which local residents organize local activities. He is now preparing to take hikers on a 2-day hiking and camping trip on Mount Washington through Airbnb Adventures, Airbnb’s new program in which residents host “multi-day experiences worthy of a local bucket list.”

Baldassarre, who has hiked Mount Washington as well as Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, offered the following five tips for beginners preparing for a tough hike.

1. Ask yourself, “Have I ever hiked?”

Mount Washington, which some consider “the holy grail of New England hiking,” according to Baldassarre, requires some hiking experience.

“Mount Washington is over 6,000 feet tall,” Baldassarre said. “It’s the highest mountain we have here in New England. If you’ve never taken an organized trip to climb a mountain, then you may not be ready for Mount Washington yet.

An organized hike can mean hiking with a guide or hiking with your family, he said. But you should have hiked up an incline, up any mountain, he said, and not just an outing where, say, you walk your dog in the park.

“Once you have a few smaller, less steep hikes under your belt, you can say, ‘OK, I want to try Mount Washington,'” he said.

If you’re wondering if you need a guide, you should ask yourself, “How comfortable are you alone in nature if something goes wrong?” said Baldassarre.

“When you’re outside you might think, ‘Well, nothing can go wrong,'” he said. “But what if someone twists their ankle? And if someone breaks a leg? What if a bear approaches you on the trail? How prepared are you to deal with these things? If not, maybe you have you need a guide with you.

New England has many trails where you can gain experience, he said.

“If you can do the Blue Hills hike, you kind of get a taste of what it’s like to hike, climb,” he said.

Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH — which is about half the height of Mount Washington — is a very popular option, Baldassarre said.

2. Make sure you have the right equipment.

Once you’ve walked enough to feel comfortable, it’s time to get ready.

“Mount Washington is considered one of the worst climates in the United States,” Baldassarre said. “So you definitely want to have the right gear for hiking.”

You will need a rain jacket, water resistant pants, a sturdy hiking shoe or boot, a non-cotton shirt, and woolen rather than cotton socks , did he declare.

“Cotton is simply the worst fabric possible. [for hiking], because every time it gets wet, it stays wet, Baldassarre said. “Cotton socks are completely destroyed. If you get water in your shoes while hiking, cotton socks will only give you blisters.

Also, make sure you have the essentials for hikingBaldassarre said: a map, compass, sunglasses, sunscreen, extra clothing, headlamp or flashlight, first aid supplies, fire starter, matches, knife and extra food.

3. Bring water and snacks.

Speaking of food, you’ll want to eat a meal an hour before your hike and then bring along some snacks to munch on during your hike, Baldassarre said.

“Granola bars are good because they boost carbs and some of them may have good nutritional value,” he said.

Baldassarre likes Kind, Clif and Larabars. He also likes to make his own trail mix full of nuts, raisins and M&Ms.

“Making your own trail mix is ​​a fun part of hiking,” he said.

And you will need water – at least two liters. He recommends using eco-friendly Nalgene bottles as they are reusable and BPA-free.

4. Be prepared for an emergency.

You’ll be out in nature for several hours, so it’s important to pack any medications and medical equipment you might need, such as allergy medication, insulin, inhalers or an EpiPen, Baldassarre said. .

“It’s important to make sure you know your own medical preparation,” he said.

You also want to make sure you can contact someone in an emergency, he said. It’s a good idea to bring a portable charger for your phone. If you are out of cellular range, products such as SQUARE offer satellite messaging.

“If you have an emergency, all you have to do is press a button,” he said.

5. Unplug and enjoy nature.

“Be ready to disconnect,” Baldassarre said. “Part of the reason you go out is to disconnect from the world. Be ready to be in nature. Be ready to be outdoors. Facebook will still be there when you return.