Video: Attach a Fin to an SUP

It’s paddle season! And if you’ve been thinking about picking up a new Stand-Up Paddleboard, now might be the time to do it. But before you dive into the local pond with your new toy, make sure you put it together fully. Having the fin on right can go a long way toward the board’s speed and control on the water. Here’s how to put it on.


The MWOBS Staff's Must-See Mt. Washington Highlights for Seek the Peak

The White Mountains, and Mount Washington in particular, are one of the region’s most densely-packed trail areas. This means you have several options when you head up for Seek the Peak. But, to figure out your route, what’s better than to start with advice from the folks who spend day after day working on the mountains? So, check out the favorite trails and sections from these Mount Washington Observatory employees—the guys who know the region better than anyone.

Credit: Tom Padham
Credit: Tom Padham

Mount Jefferson via Caps Ridge Trail

By Tom Padham, Meteorologist/Education Specialist

While not a hike up Mount Washington, this trail has so much to offer: great views, a relatively short length, and some interesting rock scrambles. The trail starts on Jefferson Notch road at roughly 3,000 feet—the highest of any trailhead in the White Mountains. As such, things open up only a mile or so into the hike, and after a short while, unobstructed views of the Presidential Range and Mount Washington emerge.

The “Caps” section consists of three short rock scrambles. It’s nothing requiring technical gear but enough to offer a great change of pace—and may be the first time you use all four limbs to climb a mountain! Overall, this hike is far shorter than many of the other routes to summit a Presidential Peak, but it still offers some challenges, with nearly 2,700 feet of vertical gain in only 2.4 miles. This is my favorite hike, because it manages to pack so much into just a few short and very beautiful miles!

The view from the Southern Presidentials. | Credit: Sean Greaney
The view from the Southern Presidentials. | Credit: Sean Greaney

Davis Path

By Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Education

Totaling roughly 14 miles from Crawford Notch to the summit of Mount Washington, the Davis Path is one of the oldest and longest approaches to the Northeast’s highest peak. Constructed back in 1845 as a bridle path, this trail is an exhausting ridge hike for an ambitious day-hiker, and a very pleasant multi-day approach for backpackers. Along the way, hikers get stunning views as they summit Mount Crawford, Stairs Mountain, Mount Davis, Mount Isolation, and Mount Washington itself.

The Westside Trail

By Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Education

At over 5,500 feet in elevation and just below the peak of Mount Washington, the Westside Trail is one of the best places to escape the crowds on a pleasant summer day. At 9/10ths of a mile, the trail follows the mountain’s contour, providing excellent views to the west between the Crawford Path and Gulfside Trail. For staff who live and work on the mountain, this is the perfect loop to run when you want to get outside!

Looking North from the Bootspur trail towards Mt. Washington. | Credit: Matthew Charpentier
Looking north from the Boott Spur Trail towards Mt. Washington. | Credit: Matthew Charpentier

Ball Crag via the Nelson Crag Trail

By Ryan Knapp, Meteorologist

After you summit Mount Washington, this can be made into a spur hike or an alternate route down (via the Nelson Crag Trail). While Ball Crag’s technically not a summit and is instead classified as a subsidiary of Mount Washington, the rise in land does come to an elevation of 6,066 feet, based on the Washburn map. From the summit, take a 0.18-mile hike down the Nelson Crag Trail, which will bring you to this rise in land. Here, get sweeping views of Pinkham Notch to the east, the Great Gulf to the west and north, and a unique perspective of Mount Washington to the south.

Boott Spur Trail

By Ryan Knapp, Meteorologist

If you’re looking for a more intimate mountain experience on the east side, away from the crowds on the Tuckerman Ravine/Lion Head Trail, Boott Spur Trail is an excellent choice. This 5.7-mile, one-way trail is a longer route to and from the summit and can be significantly more challenging for hikers. For those willing to put in the time and effort, it provides great views, with plenty of flora and fauna to take in the entire time.
This trail puts hikers above treeline quickly, and for a large portion of the trip, you’ve got those great views. However, you will also be exposed to the elements for significantly longer. So, check the forecast and pack and prepare for any changes in the weather you might experience over the course of a day. And, since this route is longer, it requires more time to ascend and descend.
Mount Washington from Madison. | Credit: Tim Peck
Mount Washington from Madison. | Credit: Tim Peck

Mt. Madison via the Valley Way Trail

By Taylor Regan, Weather Observer and Research Specialist

Weather and fitness permitting, this route could be the start of a Presidential Traverse or simply a nice and fairly challenging hike on its own. Mount Madison via the Valley Way Trail rises relentlessly from the Appalachia Trailhead, gaining over 4,000 feet of elevation in roughly 3.8 miles while passing close to several detour-worthy cascades and waterfalls. This sustained effort brings you to the outermost edge of the Northern Presidentials, with sweeping views of Mount Washington and the ribbon-like Auto Road tracing its way upward in the foreground. The summit of Madison is easily one of my favorite vista points.

Mount Washington via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and Lion Head Route

By Taylor Regan, Weather Observer and Research Specialist

The Lion Head summer route begins along the Tuckerman Ravine Trail out of Pinkham Notch. Two of my favorite sections actually bookend this hike. Shortly after leaving the parking lot, take a slight detour to Crystal Cascade: a stunning waterfall with a total drop of 100 feet, split in two by a small pool. Much farther along, once you’ve crested Lion Head, views open up along a relatively flat traverse flanked by the Alpine Garden on your right—check for rare alpine flowers—and Tuckerman Ravine, often with snow and ice remnants along the headwall, on your left. The summit proper is then only a moderate scramble away.


Video: Rope-Soloing El Cap in 24 Hours

Rope-soloing is one of the most misunderstood climbing disciplines out there, but it might also be one of the most exhausting. Doing 3000 feet of it in 24 hours on one of the world’s more famous big walls? That’s an accomplishment worthy of a video.


Video: 10 Steps to Build Your Adventure Van

Only 10 steps? Sounds easy! Ok, so maybe it’s a little bit harder than that makes it sound but with enough planning and preparation, your dream van build can be broken down into just a couple easy parts. Keep it simple, stupid!


Video: El Cap Speed Record Time Lapse

It feels like there’s a new speed record on The Nose every year, but this video makes the latest one feel different. When Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds made the send in October 2017, they had one team time-lapsing the whole 2-hour, 19-minute, 44-second endeavor (!!). This unique climbing video will make you want to practice your jumaring.


Video: Meet the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon

Kathrine Switzer’s Boston Marathon back in 1967 required dodging angry race officials as much as it required running 26.2 miles.


Video: Traveling the Greater Patagonian Trail

For four months, a team of travellers in their early twenties set out to hike along the unrelenting Greater Patagonian Trail. Engaging with locals along the way, the volunteers are reminded of the stark discrepancy between their ways of life, and are made aware of the looming developmental projects that threaten the previously untouched and untainted areas across Patagonia. In a moving display of companionship, ‘Unbounded’ illustrates that the future of the country rests on the preservation and protection of its breath-taking natural spaces. Watch the full film here.


Video: Jerry of the Day's Best of 2018

With ski season coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the best…err, worst…moments of the 2018 season, courtesy of everyone’s favorite snow fail aggregator, Jerry of the Day. Give it a look so you know what not to do next winter.


Video: First Teaser for The Dawn Wall

In January 2015, the world held its breath as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson worked at the first free ascent of El Capitan’s notoriously difficult Dawn Wall. But for Caldwell, the climb was more than simply a six-year effort. This video is just a taste of what we’ll be looking for in the full film, coming later this year.


The Top 6 Outdoor Podcasts

Getting to our favorite places to hike, climb, or ski often involves a long time riding in the car. As a solution to keep the drive from getting monotonous, tune in to one of these great outdoor podcasts. While they won’t make the miles go by any faster, they’ll certainly make your trip a bit more stimulating.

 

The Enormocast

The Enormocast’s tagline is “A Slice of the Climbing Life,” which is precisely what this bi-weekly podcast delivers. The show’s interview format typically features host Chris Kalous sitting down one-on-one with climbers from all over the world and touches on all climbing disciplines. A quick glance though The Enormocast archives—all episodes are available for free to download—reads like a who’s who of climbing, with such notable guests as Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Colin Haley, Lynn Hill, and Henry Barber, just to name a few. However, what sets The Enormocast apart is that it provides a place for climbers to share their stories with an informed audience, without the dumbed-down, oversimplified talk that clutters mass media conversations.

The Dirtbag Diaries

Unlike most on this list, The Dirtbag Diaries is a melting pot for all things outdoors. Rather than focus on a single niche, The Dirtbag Diaries might give you an episode about skiing one week, followed by a story about paddling the next. Acting like a virtual campfire, the podcast features some of the outdoors’ best storytellers sharing their unique voices and adventures. Overall, it covers everything from inspiration to advocacy, and aims to both entertain and educate.

The Firn Line 

Chronicling the lives of alpinists in Alaska’s mountain ranges, The Firn Line is the best and most interesting mountaineering-specific podcast. Hosted by Evan Phillips, the podcast blends one-on-one interviews with some of Alaska’s most renowned alpinists—including Jack Tackle, Mark Westman, Vern Tejas, Clint Helander, and Charlie Sassara—with music and backstory. The conversations in Season 1, now 19 episodes strong, share their stories while simultaneously exploring sport-centric questions like why we climb, the meaning of partnership, and overcoming injuries and setbacks in the mountains. Check it out.

Totally Deep Podcast

Totally Deep features cult-classic movie Aspen Extreme in its opening credits, so it’s easy to get hooked. As you would expect from a podcast that uses a so-bad-it’s-good ’90s movie to lure you in, Totally Deep is a rambling, fun, and informative look at everything backcountry skiing. Leaving no backcountry skier unserved, it covers all aspects of the sport, from skinning laps at the resort to mountaineering racing to simply skiing for fun. Hosted by Doug Stenclik and Randy Young, the show never takes skiing too seriously. As such, it’s a great listen, no matter if you’re in the car, uphilling at the resort, or tuning skis in the basement.

The Sharp End

Stories of other climbers’ screw-ups might not be the most inspiring thing to listen to on the way to the crag. However, they’re probably the most educational. Based on the American Alpine Club’s annual “Accidents in North American Climbing” report, The Sharp End shares stories of mishaps, epics, and accidents from the perspectives of those who’ve lived them. But, it’s not all storytime. A thoughtful analysis of each accident is designed to keep you from repeating it. While they might not all be pick-me-ups, the information might just save your life.

Outside Podcast

No time to read a monthly magazine? Get your dose of the adventure world’s best through Outside Magazine‘s podcast. Episodes from The Outside Podcast are a healthy conglomerate of stories told in print and then expertly crafted into audio, interviews with the biggest names, and stories analyzing survival in all conditions. Want to find out what it’s like to (almost) freeze to death? Listen to one of their earlier episodes.