Ice, Ice, Baby

2014-10-24 19:16:00.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist


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 coated 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

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