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8 rock climbing destinations for novices

By: Josh Lew on March 12, 2013, 5:22 p.m.
Mount Washington, N.H.

Photo: Rich Moffitt/Flickr

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Mount Washington, N.H.

When the weather is bad and the winds are high, Mount Washington is not a place for novice climbers — or anyone for that matter. Known for its quickly changing conditions and high winds, this can be a challenging place to climb. But, if conditions are right, Mount Washington is a great place for beginners. Trails of eight to 11 miles lead to the summit, so there are several options for people without rock climbing or alpine skills who want to hike and scramble up Washington. These trails are not for the faint of heart (they rise in altitude quickly), but they offer a chance to have a real mountain experience without having to learn to use ropes, crampons and other tools of the trade. More-serious climbers tackle the mountain in wintertime, when the conditions can mimic those of much taller mountains. Doing this, however, requires some knowledge of mountaineering, so novices will need a guide if they want to make a wintertime attempt to reach Washington's summit. (The smoke in this photo is coming from a Cog Railway train.)