Mt Washington State Park, Friday Feb 3, 2012

Yesterday was ‘Groundhog Day’ which according to ancient German legend, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on February 2nd there will be six more weeks of winter. If there is no shadow cast then superstition says it will be an early spring. While Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of winter, on Mt Washington no shadows were cast on the morning on February 2nd, so it could be an early spring for the mountain. Our trend this winter has been milder than most so it would be a good guess that if this trend continues; spring will come early to the mountains. We have been getting snow from time to time with a couple 3″ snow storms this past week. While it doesn’t sound like much it only takes 1″ of snow to make a 12″ snow drift when the wind blows.

Snow drifts on 5th mile

Bringing the snow tractor up the mountain on Thursday it took couple trips up and down 5th mile and 6th mile to widen the road and flatten the severe drifting.

Slowly but surely, snow is filling in the Great Gulf, Tuckerman Ravine and Eastern Snow Fields.

Eastern snow fields today

Even if our spring ski season doesn’t last into June there will be enough of a snowpack to enjoy backcountry skiing from late March into early May. That’s my prognostication of spring ski conditions for Mt Washington, little crusty right now with avalanche concerns but come spring it will be fab!

We had a spectacular under cast on Thursday where tops of the clouds stayed below the summits all day.

Top of Tucks & Boots Spur
Undercast near Mt Monroe

It’s always a neat feeling to emerge from a gloomy cloud bank into blue sky and bright sun shine. I’m sure these hikers were enjoying the sensation as the reached into the clear on Lion Head Trail.

Hikers on Lion Head Trail

Sometimes when this happens a Brocken specter or ‘mountain ghost’ can be seen when your shadow is cast upon the nearby clouds.

Brochen Spector

Usually the weather is worst on the summits then in the valleys but sometimes it’s just the opposite! It is with great sadness that we note the passing of a legendary mountain man, George T Hamilton. George was Director of NH State Parks in 1972 when he hired the first state park employees to run the fledgling Mt Washington State Park. George’s love of the mountains and everything outdoors was infectious. Here was this highly educated, eloquent man who had a quiet strength of character as well as muscle, whose passion for the outdoors influenced all he came into contact with, including this park employee. George you will be missed but not forgotten! Friday morning there were enough lingering mid-level clouds to give a colorful sunrise,

Friday morning sunrise

with the Sherman Adams Summit Building awash with Alpine Glow.

Alpine Glow

Nice way to start another busy day on the roof top of New England!



Mike Pelchat, Manager of Mt. Washington State Park

I've been working atop Mt Washington for past 30 years so you can guess I like it above the tree line! After all these years I still never tire of the beauty of our NH White Mtns and consider my employment an extreme honor and privilege to work for the State Of NH and serve its visitors. When not on the summit you can find me enjoying the rock & ice climbing one of the many beautiful granite cliffs we have in Franconia, Crawford or Echo Lake State Parks. I have taken these climbing skills learned at our NH State Parks to climb in Alaska, Andes, Canadian Arctic and Himalayas. I live in Gorham NH with my wife Diane Holmes.

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