When you think of the most inhospitable part of the world, what comes to mind? Your mind might go to Antarctica or the middle of Siberia, perhaps, or to a point in a desert far from any shade or sources of water. But it could also be said that the harshest landscape on the planet is a little closer to home — specifically, New Hampshire’s own Mount Washington.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t things to do on the mountain in question. There’s a state park, for one thing, and if you’re fond of skiing, there’s also plenty of that to go around. And if history’s more your speed, there’s no shortage of relevant locations in the area as well. But there’s also the matter of the weather.
How harsh is it, you might ask? Writing at JSTOR Daily, Ross Pomeroy makes a convincing case for its dangers. This includes an average wind speed each year of 35 miles an hour, brutally low temperatures in the winter and a record that stood for 62 years for the fastest wind measured on the planet’s surface. That gust’s speed? 231 miles per hour. And that’s before you factor in precipitation, of which there is plenty.
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Mountain aficionados might note at this point that Mount Washington is not the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. That distinction goes to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina — but it’s possible that Mount Washington’s location in North America contributes to its distinctive weather. Why? As Pomeroy points out, it’s located halfway between the equator and the North Pole, which can account for its volatile weather.
Still, as mentioned earlier, there is plenty to do if you do venture up Mount Washington. Just make sure to bring a warm jacket with you, just in case the wind picks up.
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