icy daggers

2009-04-16 12:01:44.000 – Stacey Kawecki,  Observer and Meteorologist

painful beauty

The objects of today’s comment are some particularly sinister looking icicles. The myth that icicles are the perfect murder weapon has already been tackled and subsequently busted, by the Mythbusters (if you don’t know what this is, it’s an entertaining, semi-scientific show where people offer myths and these guys try to either prove or disprove them). However, whilst slinging during an observation, I couldn’t help but be a little scared and awed by the sight of the icy daggers.

You hear of unsuspecting people being impaled and brought to untimely deaths by icicles as they fall off roofs and doorways. It’s more likely that those people perished due to the impact of the ice (it is pretty heavy), but this is all speculation. Anyway, it is just plain unusual to see icicles on the summit. Generally, one sees an abundance of rime. The rime doesn’t really melt like glaze ice, it usually just sublimates. Then, it breaks and tinkles and chimes as it’s blown about summit. However, with the warm April sun beating down on the heavy layer of glaze ice, the ice simply began to melt; drip-dropping to the ground, creating long, thing, sharp formations.

We generally shy away from movies that involve something terrible happening in an isolated place such as The Shining and The Thing. Those darn cold blades dripping water that could easily be blood put my imagination into overtime. Even with the light winds, perfectly crystal blue sky, warm sun and temperatures, chills shivered up and down my spine as I contemplated the possibilities. As we continue our transition from winter into summer, trips up and down the mountain cease, and we become increasingly isolated. My mind went to dark places. Luckily, by this time, the wet-bulb on the sling psychro-meter had equalized and it was time to go inside.

I wouldn’t worry terribly about the goings on atop Mount Washington. We’re all pretty sane, if imaginative, people. It might be time to take a mallet to those icicles though, so no one gets any untoward ideas.


Stacey Kawecki,  Observer and Meteorologist

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