Ted’s Excellent Adventure on Mount Washington Recap

Outdoor Adventure (Unique lifestyle/travel/personal experience)

As the official outfitter of the staff of the Mount Washington Observatory, we were proud to partner up with Vasque Footwear to give one lucky Facebook fan the once in a liftetime opportunity to Win a Night at the Mount Washington Observatory.  From marriage proposals and wedding vow renewals to naked snow angels and interpretive dance, we received over 700 touching, poetic and hilarious responses to our contest which asked the question “What’s the first thing you’d do when you reached the summit?” As much as I personally would have liked to have seen Becky Kipp try to “build a snow turtle,” the education-minded judges at MWOBS were bowled over by Ted Teegarden’s response:

Ted ResponseTed’s selfless desire to parlay his once in a lifetime experience into a learning opportunity for his students at the White Mountain School, really struck a chord with the staff of the Mount Washington Observatory. Ted was the unanimous winner and on December 13, 2013 he and his dad met representatives from Vasque Footwear and MWOBS for the experience of a lifetime.

Ted Teegarden and his dad Jim in the snowcat on the way up to the Mount Washington Observatory

Ted Teegarden and his dad Jim in the snowcat on the way up to the Mount Washington Observatory

The snowcat ride to the summit took just over two hours with stops so that each person in the party could have a turn riding up front.

Snow Cat

Once we got settled in at the Observatory, it was time to get outside and play around in the 80mph winds. Ted came very well prepared for the experience with a GoPro camera and an unexpected secondary objective. To become the first person to stand at the summit of Mount Washington in a banana suit. Here’s the video to prove it.

Walking around on the observatory deck was a profound, but somewhat addictive challenge. Leaning into the wind with all of my weight felt like sitting in an invisible chair.

Obs Deck Wind

The Mount Washington Observatory is like a space station – it’s a safe haven from conditions that will kill you if you were to be cast out into them without adequate protection.


In addition to continuously recording weather conditions at the summit since 1932, educational programs are critical part of the Mount Washington Observatory’s mission. The observatory hosts themed EduTrips to help weather enthusiasts learn even more about the systems that create the Earth’s weather and climate. Observers give presentations throughout the world to both share their research with peers. Most important, the observers conduct live video presentations with school children to teach them about how the planet works and inspire the next generation of meteorologists.

And delivering a video presentation to his students is exactly what Ted got the chance to do:

The video above is a half hour long and offers a terrific recap of Ted’s experience on the mountain. If you don’t have that kind of time, here are a few highlights of an eventful 24 hours of weather even by Mount Washington Observatory standards.

Highest wind gust of the day = 82mph.

Low temperature of the day = -22F

Ted also snapped this sweet shot of the Auto Road Stage House, the original home of the Mount Washington Observatory erected in 1932 and the site where the strongest wind gust (231 mph) at the summit was recorded in 1934.

Original Observatory

After dinner, the wind that had tossed around like dolls died down and took with it the fog that had limited our visibility. Observer Ryan Knapp pointed out the lights of Portland, Maine and helped us identify the local ski areas before excusing himself to do “the boiling water trick.” Sure enough, when Ryan returned, he had a pot full of boiling water which he proceeded to blow our minds with in the -22F air:

After a spirited game of Apples to Apples with our new friends from Vasque Footwear, we turned in for the night vowing to get up at 6:30 to watch the sunrise. Given the fact that the skies are clear on only a handful of days at the summit of Mount Washington, I wasn’t expecting to see much. Happily, I was wrong.


The view of Mount Jefferson, Mount Adams and Mount Madison was absolutely breathtaking. Ted got this great shot where you can see the shadow of the observatory tower in the foreground.

Sunrise Snowmaking

Perfect conditions for making snow at Shawnee Peak in Maine. The “silvery shimmer” on the horizon is the Atlantic Ocean.

Clear Obs Deck

The views were even better from the tower.

The clearest sky I've ever seen at the summit and likely ever will see again!

The clearest sky I’ve ever seen at the summit and likely ever will see again!

While the temperature was still -14, there was virtually no wind so we elected to hike down for an hour or so.

To sum up, we really couldn’t have asked for a better 24 hours at the Mount Washington Observatory. We got to experience the best of everything from the infamous winds and bitter cold to bluebird skies and hundred mile views all with the trademark hospitality of the observatory staff.

While overnight opportunities like this are rare, you too can have the experience in the form of one of the themed EduTrips offered by the observatory. For our more adventurous readers, Eastern Mountain Sports Schools offers a limited number of winter ascents of Mount Washington with an overnight stay in the observatory.

Thanks for reading this post. If you climb Mount Washington this winter, or any mountain for that matter, be sure to share your pics with us on our Facebook page!

To read about this experience in Ted’s own words, check out the story he wrote for The White Mountain School Newsletter

Jim Darroch

Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski. Follow Jim Darroch on !