Underwrite our website for a day! Learn how.
Join Email List

Observer Comments

October 2014

19:16 Fri Oct 24th

The coastal low that brought rain to most (if not all of) New England the past few days was originally projected to bring mostly rain to the summit as well. However, a full on rain event on the summit of Mount Washington never really came. Instead, we saw temperatures hovering right around freezing for pretty much the past three days. This resulted in a mix of rain and freezing rain that has coating everything with a wet glaze ice. Deicing this glaze ice has been tough because it clings to surfaces almost like concrete. And walking on wet glaze ice in bare boots - forget about it! Added traction is almost required to do even the simplest task or else we end up looking like a fawn learning to walk for the first time.

With the weekend approaching, if you are planning to hike a higher summit (those above 4500 feet) I strongly recommend bringing some added traction with you. Not necessarily crampons, but something like Yaktrax, MICROspikes, STABILicers, or an equivalent as bare booting is nearly impossible as of this writing. Additionally, if your destination is Mount Washington, there are a few things to keep in mind. It was announced yesterday that due to the recent winter weather, the Mt. Washington Auto Road has decided to end their operations a few days early for the summer 2014 season. So having someone drive up to meet you or taking a hiker shuttle down is no longer an option. Even getting a vehicle up here in emergency situations will prove difficult with the thick, wet ice on the road. The Cog's remaining 2014 operating schedule is available here; however, please note that their operations are weather dependent. So the bottom-line - if you hike up here, expect to hike back down - there are NO GUARANTEED RIDES DOWN!

The Sherman Adams building, located within Mount Washington State Park, is still operating. However, a few things of note - our gift shop located in the basement of the Sherman Adams building (next to Extreme Mount Washington) is closed for the season. Observatory member tours are still being provided, however, we require members to contact us prior to their visit. Lastly, according to NHSP personnel this evening, with the recent road closure, their cafeteria and gift shop hours will be Cog/weather dependent. So hikers should ensure that they have enough food, water, clothing, etc with them as these resources are NOT guaranteed to be open upon arrival.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

19:47 Thu Oct 23rd

photo - see caption below
Don & Mike in the Observatory kitchen.

Our week atop the rock pile has come to an end. This was my third time volunteering at the Observatory and I was happy to bring a longtime friend with me to experience a week of cooking for the crew and getting out and around the mountain experiencing all kinds of weather. He found the time at 6288 feet fun and very informative. The crew was a fun, hardworking group who were very happy to share their interest in meteorology with two novices.

Each time I have been on the summit I am amazed at how quickly the weather can change. The day we arrived, the temperatures tied the all-time daily record high however, two days later, the summit was covered with rime ice with the temperatures and winds occasionally making wind-chills feel like it was 14F below zero on exposed skin.

I would recommend this adventure to anyone who would like to experience all kinds of weather, enjoy cooking and eating, and learning from the friendly and informative crew. We came to respect the very challenging physical aspects unique to working at this station - like banging off rime ice from weather instruments in 50mph winds in freezing conditions.

It was interesting to watch the crew in action over a wide range of additional tasks from live interactive broadcasts with school classes to tours of the facilities for Observatory members and answering all kinds of questions about 'Marty' the resident cat.

If you aren't already an Observatory member, we would strongly suggest you become one so you can take advantage of the 'inside' tour of the Observatory on your next trip up to the top.

Don Hayes & Mike Ward – Summit Volunteers

00:17 Thu Oct 23rd

The big discussion tonight is wind! It has certainly ramped up throughout the day and we previously observed a sustained easterly wind speed of 68mph, with gusts reaching 76mph earlier this evening. Since this time, winds have subsided a bit to 56mph sustained with gusts up to 65mph.

Perhaps you are wondering how frequently this occurs. After some quick number crunching of our records over the past 80+ years, it was calculated that for observed hourly average wind direction, we've seen easterly winds in excess of 55mph about 0.3% of the time. While that's not very often over the long term, on an annual basis we see winds in excess of 55mph a few times each year. However, winds from the east just do not last for a very long period of time and will eventually shift to the dominant wind directions we typically observe (W-NW).

Looking ahead at the next few days, this area of low pressure will gradually continue its northeasterly track, skirting the coast and bringing precipitation to the region. Winds on the higher summits are expected to steadily decrease throughout the next 36 hours, but onshore flow will keep summits socked in the clouds with mixed precipitation falling.

Kaitlyn O`Brien – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

12:19 Tue Oct 21st

Here, on top of the tallest terra firma in the northeast United States, dedicated weather observers, who were thought at the time to be stark raving mad, measured a wind speed of an astonishing 231 miles per hour. That was in 1934. Today, while most folks work Monday through Friday 9-5, our weather observers work around the clock for a week at a time continuing the Mount Washington Observatory's mission of recording hourly weather data, and eagerly awaiting the next great meteorological phenomenon.

Mount Washington is proud to call itself home to the worst weather in the world. Yet, while the observers are braving wind and ice both day and night, the extreme weather we boast of can be hard for visitors to comprehend when they arrive at the summit and are warmly greeted with mild temperatures, clear skies, and a gentle breeze. Thus, the addition of the new museum: Extreme Mount Washington, MWObs' tribute to the weather and a fun-filled learning experience for all ages. From the warmth and safety of inside the Sherman Adams Building, guests have seen a bobcat and driven a snowcat. They have watched videos about rescues, rime ice and the dangers faced while de-icing equipment in the dead of winter.

The season is drawing to a close for the Extreme Museum (and for me, the museum attendant) but the extreme weather is just picking up and the observatory's weather folks will not be stopped. It has been a great inaugural season and a true pleasure listening to your summit adventure stories. I hope we will see you all again next summer, and if you can't wait until then, click the link to sign up for one of our winter trips!

Christine Welsh – Summit Museum Attendant

18:09 Mon Oct 20th

photo - see caption below
A wintry obs deck with a lenticular cloud

Winter has made a brief return to the higher summits, with temperatures bottoming out in the lower teens last night and the summit receiving some light snow accumulation along with over a foot of rime ice. Winds were also more typical of the winter season, with a peak gust of 80 mph, which made de-icing last night even more exciting. This morning we were treated to fantastic views as the higher summits cleared out of the fog, with a stark difference in color from the white summits of the Presidentials to the hues of fall in the surrounding valleys.

Unfortunately, this wintry scene across the summit will likely be short lived as a very slow moving Nor'easter brings heavy rain to New England. Temperatures will likely climb just above freezing for the majority of the event as warmer air surges in off the ocean. Tomorrow night into Wednesday morning could be interesting, as some of the models have the summit sitting just below freezing instead of just above. If this becomes the case, then heavy rain would likely be heavy freezing rain and sleet, with a significant ice storm for the summit of Mount Washington. Keep an eye on our higher summits forecast and current conditions page to see how this plays out!

Tom Padham – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

19:55 Sun Oct 19th

To take a line from YouTube sensation Frankie MacDonald, Be Prepared! It is always important to be prepared while hiking, but with winter's grasp tightening on the summit of Mount Washington it is even more vital to make sure you prepare for what is, or could be awaiting you on the trail. While hiking you should always carry the 10 essentials of hiking. Also monitor the weather for the valley and higher summits . The weather between the valley and the higher summits could be completely different. What is a mild autumn day in the valley could be a fierce winter storm on the summit. That difference, to an unprepared hiker could make for a life threatening situation. Another important thing to be mindful of, is the amount of sun light in the day. It takes most people about six hours to hike Mount Washington in a round trip. So when planning your hike, make sure that you have enough day light to not only to make the six hour journey, but also a few more hours. This way you will have a buffer incase a situation arises that delays you during your hike. Lastly always hike in your comfort zone. If you are uncomfortable with you hiking plans or the weather is deteriorating, just turn back and head home. The hiking trails aren't going anywhere and you can always come back another day. In closing have fun hiking this autumn, just stay safe and Be Prepared!

Michael Kyle – Weather Observer

17:35 Sat Oct 18th

photo - see caption below
Heavy Band of Rain Approaching Wednesday

Every week up here I am exposed to a different type of weather extreme and it certainly keeps things interesting. On Thursday, the summit had 3.22 inches of rain dumped on it. The temperatures were in the 50s which are well above normal values for this time of the year. We actually tied a daily maximum temperature record for October 15th, which was set in 1947. All of these warm temperatures in the beginning of the week will now be a far cry from where our temperatures are looking to dive into for the second half of the week. Today's high temperature has already been reached and the temperatures will continue to fall with the passing of a cold front. Tomorrow the temperature will fall into the teens by the end of the day with the low Sunday night dipping down to around 12 degrees. Making things even more interesting, our winds Sunday night and into Monday will range between 50-70 mph dropping the wind chills to 20 degrees below zero. I talked in one of my previous comments about needing a better coat. Well thankfully one of our sponsors, Eastern Mountain Sports, has me well equipped and feeling confident to face these much colder temperatures.

Caleb Meute – Summit Intern

17:43 Fri Oct 17th

photo - see caption below
Working Hard

So I took a trip down the mountain a couple of weeks ago to visit my doc. I haven't taken a trip down to the valley in a while. I forgot how there is 20% more oxygen at the base of this mountain.


The observers act disappointed with me sometimes when I don't capture the rodents that wander into our home. Have you tried chasing a flying squirrel on all fours around a room at the 800 millibar level? While they are quite distracting, I need at least 85% of the oxygen at the surface to even contemplate going after a mouse or a flying squirrel. This is intern work, not mine.


My appointment went well by the way. There was this dog looking at me funny in the waiting room. Dogs are something else. All I have to do is look at them and they get scared. I hissed at one and he turned and ran with his tail between his legs. Catssic

Tours are starting to wind down. Sorry to those who have come up here to the observatory looking for me. Large groups of people really freak me out. To be completely honest, there are a lot of places around this building I live in that are super comfortable and relaxing. Oh and I heard the story about the loch ness monster. He is kind of my idol. This guy is never seen but he's there. I feel like that's how people view me and that's hysterical. In all seriousness though, I did get a lecture the other day by one of the shift leaders up here. Apparently they really want me to show myself more when the observatory members come through. They promised me a lot of treats and cat nip, so I'll think about it.

For those of you who do become members of the observatory and trek to the summit, please pet me under my chin if you see me. There is something about my chin that when people pet it, the feeling is purrrfect.

If you want to hear more from me, be sure to check out windswept. I have been thinking a while now about which of my many anecdotes to discuss, and trust me, you're going to like this article.


One more thing, if you see Francis the Great Dane I hissed at, please apologize for me. Just kidding, that was hilarious and I would do it again.

Marty – Summit Cat

17:58 Thu Oct 16th

It's Wednesday morning, and we are packed and ready to leave. One week ago we were at the base of the mountain, enjoying a cool and beautiful fall morning, wondering what the week would be like. This is my second time here, so I had a general idea, and my good friend, Amy, is always game for anything. Luckily, I had increased my abdominal workouts for the past month, preparing for a week of laughing with Amy.

My first week here was July/August. The first day we had heavy fog with nearly zero visibility. Another day, my friend David and I got sunburned. We had two incredible sunsets, sustained winds at 60 mph, and 1-inch hail that the observers swept into the room and measured. This week was no less dramatic. The highest wind speed was 97.4 mph; the rime ice started forming on Thursday and grew to about 12 inches by Saturday, then blew off and melted over the weekend. I saw two incredible sunrises, and the grand finale was Tuesday night when Ryan, the night observer, rushed into the staff lounge and said, 'Aurora!' We all rushed upstairs to see the spectacular sight.

Amy and I both grew up in rural Indiana, and have fond memories of occasionally seeing this as children, but watching the glowing lights at New England's highest peak is a one-of-a-kind experience.

We had no visitors this week, so it was pretty easy just making dinner for 8 each night. Amy and I both love cooking and entertaining, so we made some additional soups for lunch, and prepared a few frozen meals for the staff to enjoy during the month of November when there are no volunteers. The staff was happy to eat everything we made, which was wonderful for us, as we made a variety of dishes including a few nights of curries and other spicy foods. On Sunday night we had a combination dinner with the state park workers, they made nachos and we made quesadilla with fresh salsa and guacamole.

Overall, the week couldn't have been much better! Thanks to the crew for making this a memorable experience. I look forward to returning again.

Jill Terman Potter – Summit Volunteer

18:36 Wed Oct 15th

Let me take the time to talk to you all about an incredible opportunity here at the Mount Washington Observatory!

Are you looking to gain some real-world experience in the field of meteorology? How about at a weather station located atop a mountain, world-famous for it's extreme weather?

Our internship program is incredibly unique, and is a great opportunity to get invaluable experience in a fully-operational mountaintop weather station!

It's a great foot in the door too, as all six full-time observers currently on staff started at the Mount Washington Observatory as summit interns. So, if this piques your interest, head on over to the application page and apply before the deadline TODAY, before it's too late. The winter internship runs from early January through early May, and gives you an in-depth taste of Mount Washington at its most thrilling time of year!

Speaking from experience, being a former intern during the fall of 2008, it's a time of your life you would never forget!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

20:11 Tue Oct 14th

photo - see caption below
An aurora photo I captured during my time here

Well I have come to the final day of my adventure atop Mount Washington for the season. I never expected to live on a mountain, let alone be with such an amazing group of people. From experiencing wind speeds up to almost 100mph, to being able to capture the amazing view of the Northern Lights, I must say that this has been one of the best times of my life. I feel like I have become part of a family during my time at the Observatory and I was lucky enough to meet several volunteers that donated their time to assist us. I enjoyed being able to attend events that the Observatory put on like the Ribbon Cutting event for Extreme Mount Washington. Everyone who came through had a blast as they got to see just how extreme the winter is up here. It really puts into perspective exactly what the Observers have to go through each and every day. Of course, it was great getting to spend time with the marvelous Marty. I'm going to miss this mountain.

Andrew Tucker – Summit Museum Attendant

18:50 Mon Oct 13th

Today displayed Mount Washington's variable weather at its best. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise under completely clear skies. Doing observations through the day, there were some high level clouds filtering in, but they didn't even cover 1/8th of the sky. Just after noontime, I saw low level clouds in the distance. As I watched over the span of 30 minutes or so, I could see lenticulars forming closer and closer to the summit. Shortly after they began to form over the Northern Presidential Range, the cloud base lowered and we were suddenly in the fog. So in this span of 30 minutes, we went from nearly completely clear to back into the fog. This just shows how quickly the weather can change here on the summit, turning a beautiful, sunny day into foggy, windy, and bitter conditions in less than an hour!

Today is a good example of why we add disclaimer at the top of our Higher Summits Forecast page. It reads, 'Mountain weather is subject to rapid changes and extreme conditions. Always be prepared to make your own assessment of travel and weather conditions. This outlook is one tool to help you plan a safe trip. Always travel with adequate clothing, shelter, food, and water.'

Lastly, we're working on a new website! The new site will include a more detailed Current Summit Conditions page, new HD webcam images, and a 48-hour Higher Summits forecast (an extension to the current 36-hour product that we put out). So keep your eyes peeled for the new release in the coming weeks!

Mike Dorfman – Weather Observer/IT Specialist

19:34 Sun Oct 12th

photo - see caption below
A long line at the summit sign this afternoon!

Busy! That's the best word to sum up this cool, crisp, mid-October Sunday. Typically around this time of year, everyone is making their last few visits to the summit before operations close down for the winter season. If you are wondering what the current operational hours are, please see Ryan's comment from yesterday, where he provided thorough descriptions of what to expect over the next few weeks.

It's hard to believe we are nearly halfway through the month already. There are just a few important reminders to consider before October quickly becomes November. First, there are 3 days left to apply for the Winter Internship! If you or someone you know is interested in living and working on top of the Northeast's highest peak, please see more information here. Also, October 31 is the last day to take advantage of the Subaru VIP Purchase Program. Don't miss out on this great deal!

Kaitlyn O`Brien – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

18:34 Sat Oct 11th

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, Twitter page, Webcams, local news, or in person, the summit has received a coating of snow and rime over the past few days. And reading through emails and comments on our social media pages, this has raised a few questions. For example, is this normal? Yes! October is typically when the summit(s) start seeing measurable amounts of snow with Mount Washington's first inch usually falling right around the start of the month. If you look at our F-6 Monthly Data page and click on the various October summaries, you will see exactly what I mean. And while scrolling through those months, notice that in several years, October has seen close to a foot of snow on the ground by the end of the month; not always, but it is plausible in any given year.

Do I need crampons to climb the mountain? As of now, no. Crampons on the little amount of snow we have could potentially lead to more harm than good especially if you do not know what you are doing with them in the first place. However, packing some additional traction like what you would find with Yaktrax is highly advisable (however, not required). Although, looking at the boots of hikers today, many made it up here without added traction. So, it is doable without added traction but think of it as the difference of driving on snow with summer tires versus snow tires - it can be done, but one works a bit better than the other.

I see snow; does this mean that (the Mt. Washington Auto Road, The Cog, the NHSP Sherman Adams building) is closed? While weather can affect the day to day operations of the summit transportation options and summit facilities, the season as a whole is not done yet. As of today, all facilities and transportation methods are still operating and open. However, weather is fickle this time of year. So, prior to visiting, it is strongly advised that you contact or look into the operating schedules of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, The Cog, or NH State Park so you don't get caught off guard. And since all of these are managed independently from each other (including our member supported, non- profit Observatory) all inquiries about a specific aspect of operations need to be made to that specific group.

What's the weather gonna be like tomorrow? We produce a 36 hour Higher Summits forecast which is posted in written and audio form each morning by 5 am and another audio update by 5 pm daily (we are working on doing a written afternoon update to be available by the end of the year). If you want a second opinion, NWS Gray, ME produces a recreational forecast for the mountains of western Maine and New Hampshire. If all else fails, there are several automated forecast sites where you can input our zip code of 03589 to get an automated forecast. Due to the forecast algorithms these sites use, the numbers on these pages should be taken with a grain of salt since they tend to be warmer, calmer, and showing broad stroke weather. However, getting some forecast information is better than no forecast information, especially in this day and age. Saying you didn't know what the weather was going to be like prior to going anywhere nowadays is the first step of being an unprepared individual.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

19:27 Fri Oct 10th

Last night as the winds continued to climb higher, we gathered around the Current Summit Conditions monitor in our living quarters and made bets as to what the highest gust would be within the next 12 hours. Andrew said 92mph, I guessed 94mph, Mike and Arielle both called 95mph, Ryan claimed 97mph, our volunteer Jill suspected 99mph, and our docent Larry was sure it'd gust to well over 100mph (unfortunately our other volunteer Amy was busy making the best curry I've ever consumed to hear that we were placing bets). Well, the results are in! It seems appropriate that our shift's Staff Meteorologist and seasoned Weather Observer Ryan won! At about 10:30PM last night, we received a 97mph gust out of the northwest. Interestingly enough, this was the highest wind gust recorded on the summit since April 24 of this year, when we saw winds reach 106mph. Last night's event also surpassed a 96mph gust noted on July 5th when the remnants of Hurricane Arthur danced along the coastline before heading out to sea. While we did not designate a prize for the winner, we were all thoroughly impressed with Ryan's accuracy!

Kaitlyn O`Brien – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

20:06 Thu Oct 9th

photo - see caption below
Mike D, Kaitlyn, Ryan, & I geared up for our jump!

It seems as though we beat the other shift to 100+ mph speeds this season...

During our off-week, we all went skydiving together! We joined Skydive New England last Monday morning for a shift adventure. Ryan and Mike Dorfman have both been skydiving before, but it was the first time for Kaitlyn and I. It was probably the scariest and the coolest thing I've ever done.

The first 45-60 seconds after jumping out of the plane were spent in free fall. We quickly approached ~120 mph, close to terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is the speed at which falling objects stop accelerating. (More on skydiving and terminal velocity here.)

Basically, when you jump out of a plane, there are two forces acting on you: gravity and friction of the air. Eventually these forces will equal out and that is when you achieve terminal velocity. When you open the parachute, the force caused by friction of the air increases because you increase your surface area. If you still have a long way to fall, it is possible that these forces could equal out again and you would once again reach terminal velocity (although in this situation it would be slower). However, when you're skydiving the parachute opens and you safely glide back to the ground.

Arielle Ahrens – Summit Intern

20:20 Wed Oct 8th

This morning, I was startled awake at 4:40 by an extremely loud clap of thunder. While most people would roll over in their bed and fall back asleep, I knew my alarm was going to go off in another five minutes, so I sat up and enjoyed the show! I slowly packed the rest of my gear in my bag, trying not to wake up my girlfriend as the lightning lit up the room like a strobe. After saying goodbye for the week, I was off and driving through torrential downpours for much of the way from my apartment in Bath, ME to the base of the summit.

It's been a great summer! I've enjoyed thunderstorms not only in the northeast, but also took a three-week vacation travelling across the US where I saw some pretty impressive storms. With the summer storm season coming to an end (colder fall weather generally tends to have limited instability that leads to severe storm development), I'm getting excited for a whole different type of extreme weather here on the summit - frequent strong winds and rime ice! With temperatures dropping overnight, the summit should be solidly below freezing from tonight through Sunday, even bottoming out in the upper teens! We'll likely see our most significant icing event of the season, with rime ice building up on everything on the summit!

With winter imminent, our trip season will soon be in full swing! The Mount Washington Observatory hosts both day trips and overnight trips here on the summit, offering the public a firsthand opportunity to experience the extreme weather the summit has to offer. If you'd like to sign up for a day trip or an overnight here on the summit, please visit our website.

Mike Dorfman – Weather Observer/IT Specialist

23:11 Tue Oct 7th

photo - see caption below
Some light rime ice on the chairs outside

Fall may have arrived down in the valley, but winter is rapidly approaching here on the summit. With the change in seasons I come to the end of a wonderful season working for the Mount Washington Observatory as a Summit Museum Attendant. I am melancholy about departing the summit. This experience has been educational, exciting, breathtaking, unique and most of all memorable. Being a member/volunteer/staff for the observatory I can only say how spectacular it is and has been.

Jan Berriochoa – Summit Museum Attendant

18:06 Mon Oct 6th

photo - see caption below
Rime Ice on Tower

Well I must say, my first exposure to rime ice and deicing our tower has me pretty excited for the upcoming winter. Rime ice is one of the most common weather phenomena up here on the summit, and also one of the big reasons our observatory needs to be staffed 24/7. The phenomenon occurs when super cooled water droplets move over the summit. These tiny droplets of water are able to stay in liquid state at temperatures below freezing, but as soon as they collide with objects that are also below freezing, they instantly freeze to the object. Air particles are trapped in between these particles of ice so they accrue as long and beautiful feathery strands into the direction that the wind is coming from. When the weather is at its worst up here on the summit, rime ice can accrue up to 9 inches per hour! Because of this, a weather observer must suit up and climb a series of ladders to the top of the tower and knock the ice off with a crowbar. This has to be done sometimes up to 3 times per hour.

That is what I was able to do yesterday when temperatures fell below freezing and the cloud layer dropped right onto us allowing a buildup of rime ice to occur. I went to the top of the tower, and with a series of strikes sending vibrations up to the instruments, the ice fell off and onto the deck below. At this point, the instruments were as good as new and measuring the wind speed to their full capabilities. This lasted for an hour, and then the trek upward had to be made again.

Caleb Meute – Summit Intern

19:01 Sun Oct 5th

Unlike most people, winter is my favorite season. So as a discloser if you are someone who is still holding onto summer you might want to stop reading now. Around this time every year I get the itch for snow. After months of hot summer days, nothing seems more desirable than some snow. After all, snow storms are what started my passion for meteorology, so for me it is distressing going months without it. There have been a few days when we have seen snow on the summit since Labor Day, but nothing that measured to be more than a trace. While the snow was soothing to see I'm still waiting for the next big storm.

To get a rough idea of when there is a chance of seeing a significant snow storm, I looked at our record archive to see when a significant snow has fallen during the month of October in past years. When quickly looking through the archive, it seems like the best chances of seeing a snow of 10 plus inches is after October 20. But it seems like the likelihood of actually seeing that much snow isn't too high because there has only been 11 days over our 80 plus years of records that have seen that much snow. While the likelihood of seeing a significant snow might be low, the possibility still exists for this month. So fingers crossed we will be seeing the next big October snow storm this year!

Michael Kyle – Weather Observer

14:38 Sat Oct 4th

photo - see caption below
Bondcliff Trail to Mount Bond

What is a challenge?

In searching around for definitions, the one that struck me most was 'a summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting.'

Recently, I completed a challenge that, for me, was right in line with this definition, although the summons was given by myself, so we'll call it a self-challenge.

As any avid hiker that frequents the numerous trails amidst the White Mountains of New Hampshire will attest to, a great challenge to face is completing the New Hampshire 4000-footers. New Hampshire is home to 48 mountains whose summits exceed an elevation of 4000 feet above sea level, all within the confines of the White Mountains. The challenge is to ascend and descend all 48 of these summits on foot.

Being an avid hiker myself, and having worked on Mount Washington for the last 6 years (the grandest of all the 4000-footers), I heard of this challenge and could not resist tackling it! It was fitting that Mount Washington would be my first peak to summit, after which I slowly made my way through the remainder of the peaks on this lengthy list over the following two years.

So many great highlights:

-The Presidential Traverse, encompassing all 7 summits of the Presidential Range on a 20+ mile trek through the heart of the Alpine Zone

-Bondcliff, one of the more remote and serene peaks, located in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, with not a car to be heard from its summit

-The steep and challenging North and South slides up to the Tripyramids

-The long trek in to Mt. Isolation on the Rocky Branch Trail, with incredible views of Mount Washington and Oakes Gulf from its summit

-Mt. Garfield, via a trail with a modest grade that culminates at its peak with awe-inspiring vistas of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Ridge

And of course, the best memory of them all which occurred one week ago: summiting the 48th and final peak via the steep and rocky Signal Ridge Trail, Mt. Carrigain, where the remainder of the 47 peaks were all visible atop the fire tower located on the summit!

When I came to the Mount Washington Observatory as an intern back in the fall of 2008, fresh from central NJ, I had never stepped foot on a hiking trail, hardly owned a pair of hiking boots, or any other necessary equipment for that matter; so this accomplishment for me was incredible, and has given me a deep and new-found appreciation for the grandiose White Mountains, which I've worked and lived amongst for the last 6+ years.

It's truly a spectacular and rewarding journey!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

19:27 Fri Oct 3rd

photo - see caption below
A great end to the day!

After a several day stretch of beautiful weather with mild temperatures, light winds, and mostly sunny skies, changes are on the horizon. A cold front will march east tomorrow and cross our area during the evening, with the higher summits likely going into the clouds and rain transitioning to mixed precipitation and snow showers as temperatures fall below freezing by Sunday.

Today was a picture perfect fall day atop New England, with plenty of color in the surrounding valleys below. There was a noticeable difference in color from north to south, with areas north of the mountains already appearing to be past their peak while the view to the south appears to be near peak color. After several days of being mostly in the clouds over the next few days, the scene when we emerge from the clouds will likely be a much different one; with the high peaks of New England showing signs of winter while the valleys still look more fall-like. I'm personally looking forward to the changing seasons ahead, but I'm also happy to enjoy fall while it lasts!

Tom Padham – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

18:57 Thu Oct 2nd

photo - see caption below
My First Summit Sunrise

I spent the last couple of weeks in southeastern Pennsylvania where the leaves have not yet turned to the color of fall. My drive north was spectacular, as I was able to see a vivid color change amongst all of the trees. Unfortunately, I was 'that guy' taking pictures with one hand on the phone and the other on the wheel. Don't worry, 60 percent of the time, my eyes were on the road the whole time. Driving up the mountain was also quite enjoyable during Wednesday's shift change as the trees were colorful under an overcast cloud layer. This drive was unique, as we eventually got into the cloud layer and then emerged above it, revealing an ocean of gray all around. The only land that was visible were the peaks of Mount Jefferson and Mount Adams. Arriving at the summit warranted a view of total undercast, which I have been waiting to see since the beginning of my internship in May. I only took enough pictures to drain my phone's battery by a mere 70 percent.

I'm not a morning person, so I am pretty ecstatic that the sunrise is now at 6:37. This morning, I made my way outside just in time to see the sun poke through the layer of undercast, which immediately ignited colors all over the sky. This allowed me to take my first sunrise picture and, by no means, did it let me down.

While I love the undercast type setting, I was also eager to have a view of the valley in the midst of the fall foliage. With high pressure building into New England this afternoon, the clouds dissipated just enough for the sea of red and orange to become visible. I have been fascinated by every view that I have seen since arriving on this mountain, but what you see right now is truly special. If you take a look at the higher summits forecast, you will see that tomorrow looks to be fog-free, which should make for wonderful views of the foliage below. I highly recommend coming for a visit of the summit tomorrow. I also recommend you get a tour from Mike Carmon or Caleb Meute. Critics have referred to them as 'The best of the modern era' 'Literally incredible' and even, 'A tour that everyone needs to experience at least twice in their lifetime'. You simply cannot argue with the critics!

Caleb Meute – Summit Intern

18:38 Wed Oct 1st

photo - see caption below
Today's Scene

As my shift alluded to during their Observer Comments from last shift week, I was lucky enough to take a vacation, leaving the Observatory in the very capable hands of my co-workers Mike Kyle and Tom Padham. However, today I'm back from another 3-week hiatus, and changes are everywhere!

Autumn is fully underway in northern NH, with some astounding foliage around the region. If you haven't checked it out for yourself, I'd highly recommend taking a weekend to visit the White Mountain Region to behold this amazing sight.

With today heralding the month of October, wintertime preparations are on everyone's mind. We're getting ready for the harsh and unpredictable conditions that are impending during our 6-to-7-month cold season, and there is certainly a buzz about the staff!

Although the tranquility of summer is special, we're all more than ready for the true weather of Mount Washington to make a brutal return in only a matter of weeks!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

Home of the World's Worst Weather
Administration: 2779 White Mountain Highway, P. O. Box 2310, North Conway, NH 03860 • Tel: 603-356-2137 • Fax: 603-356-0307 • contact us
>> OUR PARTNERS Eastern Mountain Sports Subaru Cranmore Mt Washington Auto Road Mt Washington Cog Railway Vasque EATON MWVCC
Mount Washington Observatory respects your privacy           ©2014 Mount Washington Observatory           Site Directory
Web Site Support from Zakon Group LLC