At just 6,288 feet above sea level, Mt. Washington, the high point of the northeastern United States, packs a very serious mountain into a diminutive package. Home of the so-called “worst weather in the world,” Mt. Washington clocked a wind speed of 231 mph in 1934, and hurricane-force gusts (greater than 74 mph) are observed at the summit more than 100 days a year, on average. The summit observatory has recorded temperatures as low as -50°F (-46°C), and an estimated wind chill of -102°F was recorded in January 2004.
Rising at the intersection of major storm tracks and forming a prominent barrier to winds from the west, Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range also receive heavy precipitation. Each season averages 280 inches of snow, and wind-blown snow can pile up to depths of 10 to 40 feet in the east-facing ravines. Yet warmer temperatures can also be a problem, as freezing rain and fog—prime hypothermia conditions—are frequently encountered.