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Mount Washington: One Prodigious Hilltop
Compiled by New Hampshire Magazine staff, with guest editor Dan Szczesny
Each summer, people in way better shape than most of us here at New Hampshire Magazine run up Mt. Washington during the Northeast Delta Dental Road Race. The somewhat disingenuous tagline for the event is “It’s Only One Hill.” That “hill” is 7.6 miles up 4,650 vertical feet with a max grade of 22 percent (translation: wicked steep). As we Granite Staters love to brag, Mt. Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the Northeast’s tallest peak. It is also simultaneously home to the “world’s worst weather” and the observatory that records it, and one of our most popular tourist attractions. It’s claimed more than a few lives, two of them recently, yet thousands ascend the mountain every year on foot, via the Auto Road or the historic Cog Railway. It’s captured the imaginations of artists and poets, helped us better understand climate and weather, played a role in creating the sports of backcountry and extreme skiing, inspired astounding inventions, and generally fascinated folks for hundreds of years. This “one hill” means many different things to many different people, and so we decided to dedicate the June 2019 issue to our famous — and infamous — mountain. The task of covering everything you need to know about Mt. Washington was far too large for us alone, so we asked several of our regular contributors to pitch in. With the additional help of author and journalist Dan Szczesny as guide and guest editor, we’ve compiled 103 facts, photos and quirky items. If there’s ever a Mt. Washington category on “Jeopardy,” consider yourself ready to sweep it.
Editor’s note: The June 2019 print edition features 30+ fascinating pages of photos, facts and stories about Mt. Washington and its history. However, to try and squeeze all of that information into one single page online seemed like a disservice (and visual nightmare), so we have made an attempt to break up the facts and organize them by content categories. We hope you enjoy!