It's been a record breaking weather week on the summit of Mt Washington. Temperatures for the summit shattered six daily record highs with the warmest recorded by MWO of 54F on Wednesday, March 21st. That's 15 degrees warmer than the record high for that day. In March temperatures should average well below freezing, with lots of icing, super hurricane-force winds and over 48" of snow. Not true this year. The melting of the snowpack continues,
but rest assured the ravines and gullies are full of snow.
Airplane Gully Great Gulf Headwall
No need to rush out just yet for some last backcountry turns. There will be plenty of skiing in the higher elevations for many weeks so pick your days wisely. Temps are trending downward now to more late March-like weather and its re-freezing the snowpack. This past week we went from driving snow cats from the base to the summit to using trucks up to 4.5 mile. Normally this doesn't occur until later in April. This week's warm weather has created all kinds of interesting road conditions from washouts
to deep snow drifts
to glare ice.
Ice on road
Thanks to these cooler temperatures we going to try to drive a truck over the Cragway drift (with a little help from a snowcat if needed) today so we can stage a truck at the 6 mile parking lot to use as an upper mountain shuttle. Then we would just have use the snowcat to get over the short gravel sections of the auto road that holds the deepest snow drifts and mud. We don't like to pound our expensive snowcat tracks over bare pavement which is why we'll be making the effort to get a truck in position to use on upper 2 miles of auto road. As soon as we do so it will probably snow 2' next week!
This week we also had the pleasure of enjoying an overnight visit from fellow Monadnock State Park Manger, Patrick Hummel. Patrick's claim to fame on Mt Washington is for not only taking a whole series of breathtaking photographs like this sunrise shot
Sunrise by Patrick Hummel
but also Patrick has stayed overnight inside the Yankee Communication building
and managed to sleep in the North End bedroom that many summit staff feel is inhabited by the 'Presence' or summit ghost. Patrick made it through the night unscathed and proved that this spirit is not too scary!
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.