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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the Washburn Challenge?
Please complete your registration and submit with the appropriate registration fee. The deadline is June 8, 2018.

Are there any requirements to join the Washburn Challenge?
Yes! All participants must: be prepared to adequately train for all types of terrain and weather conditions; be at least 18 years old at the time of the Challenge, and; complete all the necessary registration documents. You are also responsible for a registration fee, charged immediately upon accepting the invitation to join the Washburn Challenge in order to secure your spot.

As part of the Single Climb, you must commit to a fundraising minimum of $1,000 and be able to complete a guided ascent and descent of Mount Washington within 8-9 hours in relative comfort.

If you choose to try the Double Climb, you must commit to a fundraising mimimum of $4,000 and be able to complete two guided ascents and descents of Mount Washington, taking approximately 12 hours.

Participants agree to abide by the decision of the Museum's representatives in all matters, including the decision to end the climb early for any reason. We also require all participants to attend the pre-climb briefing to be held at the Museum on Tuesday, June 26.

I can't decide between the Single and the Double Climb - can I sign up for one but attempt the other?
Unfortunately, no. Because this is a group hike, all participants must commit to either the Single or Double Climb (and corresponding fundraising minimums) in advance of the June 8 deadline. If you are concerned about attempting the Double, remember that we have ways of getting your down from the mountain (Cog Railway, Auto Road) if you are unable to complete the challenge.

What happened to the Triple Climb?
The Triple Climb was a one-time trek for 2016, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Washburn Challenge. We may offer a Triple Climb again in the future, but it is not an option for 2018.

Can I raise more than the minimum?
Of course! All donations are gratefully received and put to good use supporting the Museum's many endeavors. We will be looking for team members who set a substantial fundraising goal above and beyond the $1,000 Single Climb or $4,000 Double Climb minimums. Throughout the spring, we will offer fundraising incentives to help encourage you to stretch those goals!

What happens if I can't raise the minimum?
If you haven't met the fundraising minimum by August 10, 2018, your credit card will be charged for the remaining balance (unless other arrangements have been made). We require a credit card to be put on hold for this purpose. However, we are hopeful that we will not face this situation and we remain available as a resource to help you reach your goal.

Is there a rain date?
No. The 2018 Washburn Challenge takes place on Sunday, July 8 unless the Museum's representative decides the weather conditions are too dangerous for the climb to take place, in which case the climb will be cancelled, not postponed.

I like to hike alone/fast/slow/at my own pace. Do I really have to stay with the group?
Yes - safety is our priority! The Museum of Science operates a buddy system on the mountain. You will never hike alone. Hike leaders will arrange for your transfer off the mountain by the best possible route available depending on your location. We understand that everyone hikes at a different pace, and will provide enough guides to facilitate a slow, medium and fast paced groupings.

What is the route of the Single Climb? What is the route for the Double Climb?
All routes begin and end at the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead parking lot.

Single climbers will be part of a group of fellow hikers and trained guides provided by the Museum of Science. Climbers will complete one ascent and one descent of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, which will take approximately 8-9 hours.

Double climbers will be part of group of hikers and trained guides provided by the Museum of Science. Climbers will hike up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to the summit, descend Tuckerman Ravine to Hermit Lake Shelter, then return to the summit. The team will then descend along the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. This test of endurance will take approximately 12-13 hours.

How will I know where to check in along the route?
Each of the groups will be accompanied by a hike leader who is trained on the route and given a map. There are specific check-in locations along the route. These stations are staffed by spotters wearing official Challenge t-shirts. They can help you with any questions during the day. All climbers must check in at each station for safety reasons.

What happens if I don't/can't finish the hike?
We hope that together we can prepare for the challenge of Mount Washington and that you have a fulfilling experience on our team and during the hike. However, it is alright if you do not or cannot finish. There is a turn-around point (Gem Pool on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail) just before the steep section begins. Your guide will contact the base and a volunteer will hike in to meet you and get you back to the parking lot safely. If you are above Gem Pool, we ask that you continue to the summit, assuming you can safely do so. From the summit you will be able to take the Cog Railway down to the base, where a volunteer will pick you up and return you to your car (or to the lodge). Please note that tickets for the Cog Railway sell out quickly in the summer, so if you think this is an option you will need, please make arrangements and buy your tickets in advance. You will need cash to purchase Cog Railway tickets at the summit.

Are accommodations provided?
Accommodations are provided for Double Climbers only. Double Climbers will receive lodging at either Carlson's Lodge or the AMC Highland Center for the night before and the night of the Washburn Challenge (Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8).

The Museum does not provide lodging for those participating in the Single Hike. A limited number of rooms will be held in the Twin Mountain/Bretton Woods area; a list of these locations will be made available to registered Single Hikers. Single Hikers wishing to make accommodations should contact these lodge directly and reference the 2018 Washburn Challenge. We are available to make recommendations for other accommodations in the area should the limited room blocks fill up. Single Hikers may also wish to explore options in the North Conway area, approximately a 40 minute drive from Mount Washington.

Is transportation available?
All participants must provide their own transportation both to the lodging in New Hampshire or to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead and back home.

Transportation to/from Carlson's Lodge to the Saturday night dinner at the AMC Highland Center will be provided. Participants (and guests) must make their own arrangements for the Sunday night dinner at the Mount Washington Hotel.

We will provide round-trip transportation between lodgings and trailheads on the day of the climb for Double Climb participants only. Single Hikers may choose to make personal arrangements to carpool to the trailhead.

We will provide parking permits for all.

Will meals be provided?
A celebratory dinner on July 8 at the Mount Washington Hotel will be provided for all participants and one guest. Participants may wish to purchase tickets for additional guests. Additional tickets must be arranged by June 15.

Dinner will be provided at the AMC Highland Center on Saturday, July 7, and all are encouraged to attend. RSVPs for this dinner must be given by June 15. For those staying at Carlson's Lodge, breakfast will be provided Sunday, July 8 and Monday, July 9. For participants staying at the AMC Highland Center, a buffet breakfast is provided, beginning at 6:30. Limited breakfast items will be available at the trailhead on Sunday July 8 for hikers staying elsewhere. Please plan accordingly if you are staying somewhere other than Carlson's Lodge or the AMC Highland Center.

All Washburn Challenge participants are expected to supply and carry any food needed for their personal use. The Sherman Adams Summit Building on Mount Washington has a café where food and beverages are available for purchase. Museum of Science staff will provide water, sports drinks, and snacks at the start, mid-point, and end of each route.

My family/friends/co-workers want to join me on the hike, but they don't want to register. Can they come along?
The Washburn Challenge is a fully guided fundraising hike. The registration fees we require help to cover the cost of our expertly trained guides from the Appalachian Mountain Club. These guides work at a strict guide to hiker ratio of 1:6 and the final group size must be determined and approved by the AMC weeks in advance of the event. Because of this, we require that any adult taking part in the formal group hike (Single Hike or Double Climb) register as a participant and raise the fundraising minimum. Exceptions to this rule are rarely made and will only be honored with the prior consent of the Museum of Science Washburn Challenge staff; please call 617-589-0204 to discuss. Children under 17 may join their parents on the Single Hike and will not be required to fundraise. Children will not be covered under the Museum's waiver, so we ask that parents assume full responsibility for their minor children.

My family wants to be there at the finish line. Where should they go?
Climbing activities start and end at the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead. A Museum of Science staff member will be there at all times and can let your family know when you are on your final descent.

What happens if I get injured or have to drop out prior to the climb?
If you are injured or have to drop out of the climb before May 31, 2018, you are under no obligation to continue raising money for the Museum of Science. However, the registration fee and any donations raised up to that point are non-refundable. If you drop out after May 31, 2018, you are responsible for raising the fundraising minimum. We wish you a speedy recovery and hope that you stay in touch and consider being part of the Washburn Challenge next year.

If you are not able to hike on Sunday, July 8, but are able to complete the hike at another time, we would encourage you to keep fundraising and perform your trek when you can. Please make arrangements with the Museum before electing this option.

Is there a suggested training schedule I should follow to prepare for my climb?
Training is personal and depends on your own level of fitness. However, we do have a suggested training guide and offer optional training sessions on Saturday mornings at the Harvard Stadium. All participants are encouraged to look at the guide and plan their training accordingly.

What should I wear?
Mount Washington has a propensity for bad weather and climbers need to be prepared for all possible conditions. Please see the suggested equipment list.

I have additional questions. Who should I contact?
If you have additional questions not answered by this FAQ, please contact Rachel DeMaster, Director of Fundraising Events, at 617-589-0204 or