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These Wheels are Made for Walkin'
September 22, 2010 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Towering over New Hampshire at a height of 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. It has been ascended by countless hikers from all walks of life, including (for the first time ever) a paralyzed dog.

Lucy's journey was aided by the use of Walkin Wheels donated by the folks at Handicapped Pets.
posted by dhammond (41 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, she took the road. I was wondering how a wheelchair could handle that last evil boulder field.
posted by smackfu at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2010


"including (for the first time ever) a partially paralyzed dog."

FTFY
posted by Eideteker at 2:58 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh for God's sake.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:00 PM on September 22, 2010


It's a beautiful story but Eideteker is right, the dog is partially paralyzed. Which is relevant since I went in to this post wondering how the hell they wired some sort of mobility assistance into a dog.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:19 PM on September 22, 2010


oh for God's sake.

Dog's sake.
posted by Skot at 3:21 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a partially paralyzed dog can climb it, it's not a mountain.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:23 PM on September 22, 2010


this story has partially paralyzed my empathic centers
posted by philip-random at 3:43 PM on September 22, 2010


I can't wait to take my epileptic snail and his little s-car up there. You should see that escargot.
posted by notmtwain at 4:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


If a partially paralyzed dog can climb it, it's not a mountain.

6,288 ft isn't a particularly intimidating height in itself, but the prominence of the peak against the surrounding landscape is pretty high -- nearly all of the elevation. By comparison with popular peaks in, say, Utah, people often start around 5 or 6 thousand feet and climb to 10 or 11. Throw in the apparently erratic weather ("winds exceeding hurricane force occur an average of 110 days per year"), and Mt. Washington sounds like a worthy enough challenge.

The big reason the partially paralyzed dog can do it is that there's a good trail / road (heck, if the video is any guide, you can drive to the top). I'm partial to the craggy peaks surrounding high and hidden glacial valleys that require some bouldering and snowfield navigation myself, but YMMV.

Some people would even say the hills of Coors are nothing more than Blue Ridge wannabees.
posted by weston at 4:26 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes you can drive to the top, but you can't really see much since you're often in the clouds by that point. On top of that, the wind is pretty terrible since you're touching a jet stream at the top.

Also, It's a popular place for couples who want to get into the mile high club while staying on the soft, mossy ground.
posted by hanoixan at 4:41 PM on September 22, 2010


A friend & I once climbed the mountain across the highway from Mt. Washington. Dumbest thing we ever did. We got to the summit & realized we hadn't budgeted our time well; we ended up coming down the back side of the mountain in the dark. It was probably midnight by the time we got to the highway. Ah, youth & the belief that you're indestructable. We're lucky we didn't break our necks.
posted by scalefree at 4:43 PM on September 22, 2010


I hope she at least got a bumper sticker. "This partially paralyzed dog climbed Mt. Washington."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone who believes Mt. Washington isn't a serious mountain, needs to read Not Without Peril. Its not a high mountain by many standards, but having climbed it a few times myself (and also Rainier and others) I would caution anyone not to underestimate what can happen on that mountain.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2010


It has been ascended by countless hikers from all walks of life, including (for the first time ever) a paralyzed dog .

A dark and distant part of me hopes a trebuchet was involved.
posted by CynicalKnight at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nice hill.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:24 PM on September 22, 2010


The dog must be very proud of himself. Or maybe he just wants to eat, fuck, and sleep.
posted by En0rm0 at 5:28 PM on September 22, 2010



I hope she at least got a bumper sticker. "This partially paralyzed dog climbed Mt. Washington."


Non-New Englander's probably don't realize this is a pretty common thing - many a car bumper where I grew up was adorned with a " This car climbed Mt Washington" sticker. Sort of reminds me of the South of The Border stickers I'd see when living in VA and SC.

Also, there's a train to the top. Never done it, but it seems like a nice scary ride if you're into that. I prefer to hike up.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:35 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the car thing annoys you as a hiker, you can always buy a This body climbed Mt. Washington t-shirt.

I kept wondering how the descent would go. If I were the dog, I'd be annoyed at having to use my front paws as brakes the whole way. Or maybe they had special booties for that.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:45 PM on September 22, 2010


The cog's a lot of fun! I still haven't hiked up, but a few summers back, I took the cog to the top, then hiked down. We went down through the most difficult trail marked on the map, expecting that it would take maybe 6 hours or so. It ended up taking like twelve. We finally hit the bottom at midnight, completely exhausted, and took a nap in a ditch by the roadside before driving back to Manchester. That was a really fun day.

Also, I like that dog!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:48 PM on September 22, 2010


On the one hand, it is kind of crummy to spend five hours climbing to get to a parking lot.

On the other hand, summits usually don't have nachos.
posted by smackfu at 5:58 PM on September 22, 2010


You can drive to the top, but you don't have to. You can take the cog railway, which is a unique experience of a different sort. Or you can hike up on one of several trails. Do not fool yourself that being dressed for the base is being prepared for the top - it almost never is. Here's my favorite Mt. Washington link, the Current Summit Conditions display.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2010


Don't mess with Mt Washington. You will lose.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, the cog railway recently replaced all but one of the steam locomotives per day with non steam trains. WTF Cog Railway?????
posted by R. Mutt at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2010


Also, there's a train to the top. Never done it, but it seems like a nice scary ride if you're into that. I prefer to hike up.

We did it with my then three year old daughter when she was at the height of her Thomas the Tank Engine phase. Very fun and not really too scary, with some impressive views.
posted by TedW at 7:00 PM on September 22, 2010


Mount Washington is Russian Roulette. Most of the time, the climb is cakewalk. It's the easiest damn mountain you've ever hiked up, if you pick the Jewell trail. Even the "challenging" trails would make seasoned hikers through the Appalachians or Rockies guffaw on a warm and sunny afternoon.

Hell, even a crippled dog can make it to the top in good weather!

In bad weather? People die.

Frozen to death. In August. Or wandering in heavy, chilling, fog, so they're no longer on the Jewell Trail, but lost somewhere even seasoned rescuers have trouble climbing to, and they die of thirst, or fall off a cliff they couldn't even see.

So, yeah, this car climbed Mt. Washington!

This boyscout climbed the Lion's Head trail in September as thunderstorms gathered above his head, before his very eyes, and was damn lucky he turned around for shelter when he did.

(I did make it up Tuckerman's Ravine next summer, tho.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've done it twice in the winter and one of those times we had better weather than I've had doing it in August. Don't underestimate it. That mountain will fuck you up.

And Weston, god bless you for the EFO reference.
posted by bondcliff at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2010


Anyone mocking this doesn't understand mountains. Pretty much every year here in Vancouver we lose some tourist who decides to go for a walk in the mountains. 6000 ft might not sound like much, but only to the uninitiated. Mountains always need to be treated with utmost respect. Prudent outdoors-people never venture into them without letting someone know their plans, and are appropriately equipped to survive at least an overnight stay. I have a winter survival kit that goes into the Jeep every Halloween without fail, and I don`t head up the Sea To Sky Highway or one of the local hills without out. I`ve needed it twice.


Now admittedly, it would be more accurate to say that Lucy "hiked" up the mountain, but that`s still a worthwhile feat. So thanks for the link, dhammond, and crusty old curmudgeon that I am , I think I`ve got something in my now, so if you`ll excuse me .
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2010


Dogs are fucking awesome. When I die, my heaven will have dogs in it.
posted by msali at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mount Washington anecdote:

I drove up the auto road a couple months ago. What was really striking was the number of people in great big fucking trucks who seemed to need an extra four feet on their side of the road, resulting in me going "FUCK FUCK FUCK WE ARE SO SCREWED" as I inched around them, picturing my open-top car tumbling end over end down the side of Mount Washington with most of my family in it.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2010


As a New Hampshire native who moved to the west coast, I'd echo what others have said: Don't underestimate this mountain. It's the highest thing for hundreds of miles in every direction. Yes there is a road. No, it is not driveable all year. Winds of over 200mph have been recorded on the summit, and the weather on this mountain can turn deadly faster than any place I've ever seen. Big? No. Dangerous? Yes.
posted by tom_r at 9:24 PM on September 22, 2010


It's not even Maine, they've got Mt. Washington!
Fucking Mount Washington!
Mount Washington, up in Maine! It's got a bit of elevation!
posted by ooga_booga at 9:49 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"including (for the first time ever) a partially paralyzed dog."

FTFY

If we're being pedantic, the dog is paralyzed.
pa·ral·y·sis
noun \pə-ˈra-lə-səs\
plural pa·ral·y·ses\-ˌsēz\
Definition of PARALYSIS
1
: complete or partial loss of function especially when involving the motion or sensation in a part of the body
2
: loss of the ability to move
3
: a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act
posted by dhammond at 10:26 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its hind legs are paralyzed. The dog isn't paralyzed.

How's that?
posted by Eideteker at 11:24 PM on September 22, 2010


On the other hand, summits don't usually have nachos.

Ha! We did it last summer (up Huntington's Ravine, down Tuckerman's), and I totally wanted the nachos. It's weird to do a big schlepp up something and hit an enormous parking lot full of people who just drove right on up.

Props to the dog, though.

I think the big issue w/ Mt. Washington is that it's too accessible. People get out of their cars at the top, they walk for a bit on a trail, and all of the sudden the weather turns and they have to haul themselves up a bunch of vertical feet they hadn't really realized they were descending, in bad shoes and with no pack with better
posted by charmedimsure at 12:32 AM on September 23, 2010


...clothes/gear inside.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:33 AM on September 23, 2010


Mount Washington anecdote:

College friend convinced me to hike up to Tuckerman's Ravine after midnight with a full moon. We got to the top and there were open-faced shelters, were we went in to sleep. The wind was blowing across the front so hard that the Bernoulli effect sucked all the air out of the shelter. We had to put our faces to the floor and suck air from the cracks in the floorboards.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:07 AM on September 23, 2010


Anyone who believes Mt. Washington isn't a serious mountain, needs to read Not Without Peril.

I've linked to it here before, but this is a list of rescues on and around Mt Washington (Tuckerman and Huntington ravines, mostly), as written up by S&R, for every winter going back about 10 years.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn, but Pinkham Notch looks a lot different when it's not under 3 feet of snow.

For a good time take the Boott Spur trail from Pinkham Notch to the summit and the Lion's Head down. It takes you through/near a lot of the main features surrounding Mt. Washington, like Tuckerman's Ravine, the Alpine Garden, etc. In winter it's nearly abandoned (which makes for some interesting trail breaking) and I hear that even in summer it's much quieter than either the Lion's Head or (of course) the road.

As others have said, yeah it's not the biggest mountain, but the weather is insanely variable, and often insane. If you decide to take the hike in winter you'll need all the gear--snowshoes, crampons, ice axe, helmet--and make sure to wear your water bottle inside your clothes or, even with an insulating sleeve, it'll probably freeze. One food that will stay soft enough that you don't have to gum it for five minutes before swallowing or crack your teeth on: poptarts.

In snow allow ~16 hours to complete, ~11 to summit and ~5 to take the Lion's Head down. It's a helluva day, but if you time it right you can get up on the first real ridge right about when the sun rises, making for a pretty spectacular motivator at your 1/6 complete mark. Then you get to see the sunset on the summit. (Motivation is harder to come by in the midpoints, but if you're lucky and it's a clear day you might actually get to see the peak before you summit it.)
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:32 AM on September 23, 2010


We got to the summit & realized we hadn't budgeted our time well; we ended up coming down the back side of the mountain in the dark.

Be glad we don't have any state taxes around here. If we did, there'd be all sorts of locals helping to find lost hikers. And quietly execute them before the rescue equipment got in the air. I don't know why people think it's a risk-free hike.
posted by yerfatma at 6:50 AM on September 23, 2010


If the car thing annoys you as a hiker, you can always buy a This body climbed Mt. Washington t-shirt.

That's one Christmas gift down. We were kind of disappointed they didn't have equivalent stickers in the gift shop.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on September 23, 2010


The entire group was dressed in cotton pants and shirts on a cold gray day, the snow surface was very firm and they were not carrying ice axes or crampons, and they did not have good knowledge of the trails and terrain of the area....
posted by R. Mutt at 5:08 AM on September 24, 2010


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