New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington has long been hailed as having the “worst weather on the planet”. The summit is regularly pounded with high levels of precipitation and snow storms are a routine occurrence every month of the year, with annual snow fall averaging over 21 feet of accumulation. The place is also well known for its high winds, and for more than six decades, it has held the record for the highest wind speed ever measured. But now that record, which has long been a source of pride for the state, has been broken.
Way back on April 12, 1934, a sustained wind speed of 231 miles per hour was recorded on Mt. Washington, and until recently, it was widely recognized as the faster ever recorded on the planet. But it has now come to light that Typhoon Olivia, which moved through Barrow Island off the coast of Australia in 1996, managed to generate winds of 253 miles per hour. The new record was confirmed last week by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a branch of the United Nations that studies global climate patterns and changing weather conditions. The Barrow Island record was uncovered largely by accident while examining data from the typhoon.
While the loss of the speed record may take a little of the luster off of the mountain, it will no doubt remain a major draw for hikers and climbers alike. Standing 6,288 feet in height, what Mt. Washington lacks in stature, it more than makes up in challenge. While the altitude and trails aren’t especially note worthy in and of themselves, that legendary weather is a constant shadow over any trek. Experienced climbers looking for the ultimate challenge should give it a go during the winter months in particular.