Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Car Climbed Mt. Washington

The first "road" up Mt. Washington went into construction in 1850 after a rail line was built from Montreal to Portland, the line passed through Gorham and sparked some tourism into the whites. This lead the rail company eventually finance the rebuilding of the road from Gorham to Pinkerton Notch and extended it all the way to the summit of Mt Washington. The plan was to build a grand hotel at the summit and use the road to move visitors up and down in carriages.

The building of the road was hard and dangerous work. Supplies had to be brought up by horse, oxen or simply by hand. Hand drilled holes were filled with black powder to blast out rock, which then had to be shoveled and carted away. Laborers lived on site in small tents and worked twelve hour days even in the harsh weather. The road was halfway finished in 1856 and the initial company that had been selected to build the road was bankrupt and construction was halted until 1859. Then a new company, the Mount Washington Summit Road Company, began construction on the road. The company opened the road on August 8, 1861 and continues to manage it until this day. Now most of the road has been paved, although a dirt section does remain. Each year over 45,000 vehicles summit Mt. Washington.

Now the point of this post in only half history. The other half is that where there is a road there is a race, and the Mt Washington Auto Road is a good one. The current record was just broken by Travis Pistrana with a summit time of 6:20.47 beating the previous record set by Frank Sprongl (above in the Audi Quattro) by over 20 seconds.

1 comment:

  1. buddy said never take your own car up MT W -take a rental... you hear the brakes are shot even on Pastrana's car after coming down haha.