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Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press
In this Tuesday, March 10, 2015 photo, Gary Gustafson, 58, leads Linda Dewey, 54, up an icy trail on the summit cone of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The hikers waited about four weeks for a calm day before attempting the mountain that is notorious for it's erratic weather.

MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. — Winter adds a whole host of new challenges for those hardy souls who venture up the Northeast's tallest peak.

The payoff is standing on the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington. New England's granite rooftop is famous for some of the harshest weather on earth, where winds reach hurricane speeds on an average of once every three days during the winter.

On a recent hike, Gary Gustafson and his climbing partner, Linda Dewey, picked a great day: 28 degrees and winds of only 30 mph.

Gustafson, of North Conway, calls a winter climb here "one of the ultimate hikes."

At the top, all the buildings are closed, some of the structures are chained down and hikers don't linger long. They snap a picture, eat some snacks and then head back down.