In my spare time I clamber around in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. And I’m not talking about 20-minute jaunts to pretty waterfalls. I mean multi-day adventures with one of my children and all our gear on my back. Now, New Hampshire’s mountains are smaller than most peaks around the world, and even the most remote peaks are no more than a half-day’s hike from a road complete with restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, but what they do have is extreme weather.
According to Not Without Peril by Nicholas Howe, three major storm systems gather over Mt. Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak, throughout the year, causing sudden thunderstorms and whiteouts. The wind, which can be gusty on the best of days, is a major factor, because it robs you of warmth, your breath, and will. People who lose the trail in a whiteout are immediately on their own, with no chance to be heard.