Fun In Nice Weather

2007-02-28 10:22:18.000 – Jon Cotton,  Observer

Sunrise Smokes Plumes

As you know from the Obscast, there is a fair bit of news to conclude our shift week. (Hold up. The Obscast is a weekly video blog produced by the summit staff. We talk, explain, show and jest in a moving picture format. It’s really great. And it is a benefit of membership. This week’s Obscast even included a snippet of pirate behavior. When have you even seen pirate behavior in the Comments here? Truly video allows us to expand our communal horizons – our’s, your’s, everyone’s. All horizons become vast with the feeling of new territory explored in the same way as a ruffian sailor feels about new deserted islands with conveniently buried treasure.)

So anyway. The weather has been fantastically mild up here for days. Winds constantly less than 10mph, visibility a steady 120 miles day and night and lawn chair weather at 15 degrees. Joining us for a week to enjoy summit life is a group of German students from the University of Ruhr. I did a fair job of introducing their work and research in a previous comment. Click on the right sidebar of this page to find the archived Dec 6th, 2006 comment for a good background. Quick sum: 12 undergrad and graduate students are here lead by Andreas Pflitsch. He brings a group over every winter to study rime ice, wind turbulence, weather effects on the human body, clothing capabilities and more. They work they do has helped the Observatory in numerous ways to improve how we take measurements and where we locate instruments.

They are also a ton of fun. Every group every year. Right from the start it is obvious how much they enjoy themselves. We all laugh a lot together and dinner time is a major affair of jesting and joking. Here are some pictures of our large summit community enjoying the calm sunny weather yesterday. First with kite flying and snow baseball. Then a general gathering. After the onset on darkness, we moved inside for soccer (or football).

It has been a fun week. Returning to the valley will seem lonely after so much activity and merriment. One member of the Observatory will not be returning uphill. After several years (or if you measure things in winters like we do, after four winters) Neil Lareau is retiring. Simply stated, he does every aspect of this job amazingly well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “wow, I could not have done that nearly as well as Neil just did”. I will miss him as my shiftmate.

He will actually return uphill. I spoke a little inaccurately on that point. With his freedom comes time for skiing. There will be a lot of elevation change in his near future. Then grad school for mountain meteorology. I don’t really know what that means but it has something to do with following the passion he cultivated on Mount Washington. Bye Captain Neil!


Jon Cotton,  Observer

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