A Warm and Dry Fall

2012-12-13 18:07:26.000 – Mike Dorfman,  Summit Intern

The icy (but not snowy) road looking to the North.

Normally in early Fall, the last leg of our weekly commute to the summit involves driving up the 7.6 miles on the Auto Road to the summit building. This van ride up the auto road becomes challenging in late Fall, requiring chains on tires and using a plow to push snow off the road. At a certain point in the late Fall, we make the transition from traveling up the auto road by car to using our snow tractor. Last year, our previous Summit Operations Director Ken Rancourt said that in the several decades he’d been working, last year’s transition of December 28th was the latest we’ve ever had to wait to take the snow tractor up to the summit. This year’s Fall seems to have a similar warm and dry trend, with the road often treacherously icy, but snow not deep enough to protect the pavement from the snow tractor’s sharp treads. Let’s hope for more snow soon!

Normally each shift consists of three observers, one intern and two volunteers. After the month of November with no volunteers, the summit is back in full swing, with a shift of 8 people. We’re excited to have two photographers on the summit, shooting time lapse, photos and videos for the observatory. Some exciting rime ice formation and night sky time lapse footage will be used in future renovations of our summit museum! You can see a sneak peak of the conditions they’ve been filming in here.

If you want to experience the conditions on the summit of Mount Washington, you can do so by joining one of the Observatory’s Edutrips. Edutrips are themed trips that spend a night on the summit, taking the Observatory’s snow tractor up and down the Auto Road. These trips allow participants to explore the summit and participate in a variety of activities revolving around the trip’s theme. Both sleeping arrangements in the Observatory’s cozy and warm living quarters and a delicious dinner cooked by the summit’s volunteers are included in our overnight trips.

Observer footnote: Our year-end fund drive is taking place through December 31, and we need your support. Please make a tax-deductible donation of any amount here. As a nonprofit, people-powered institution since our founding in 1932, we need your help to continue our work! Thank you in advance for your generosity.


Mike Dorfman,  Summit Intern

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