Friends gather for annual winter climb

by Tony on February 21, 2014

Continuing a nearly 40-year tradition, Tom Dwyer and about 75 family members and friends were in the valley over the President’s Day weekend for their annual winter climb of Mount Washington – what they call simply “The Climb.”

Tom and two friends from Westchester County, New York – Walter Russell and Jack Heffernan, all of them avid hikers – attended a boys’ camp in Harrison Maine called Ropioa. They started the President’s Day weekend climb of Mount Washington in 1974. With more family members and friends joining, the size of their entourage has grown every year to include participants from as far away as Washington, DC.

Walter was killed in a car crash in 1987 but Tom and Jack continued to climb to the summit until they were about 75, about 10 years ago.

After a day of climbing as far as individuals could go, participants would gather at a home for supper and music making that included guitar, banjo, mandolin, stand up bass, fiddles, bagpipes, penny whistles and spoons.

Matt Fitzsimons of Hartford, Conn. and Ossipee – whose dad Ed also went to Camp Ropioa – says this year the entire group gathered at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson for dinner and music.

In addition to a love for Mount Washington and outdoor trips, several members of the group also have something else in common – their families share a long tradition of working in the tug boat business.