my first icing

2008-08-26 09:24:40.000 – Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

Sunrise peeking through the fog.

My bunk room is on the corner of the building at the bottom of the tower, so when I went to bed last night I could hear the wind howling outside. I was exhausted, so it didn’t keep me up for long. This morning, however, I was awoken around 4:30 by a steady thwacking noise reverberating down from the tower. As my brain started to function, I realized that the thwacking could only mean one thing: icing. Just as I was debating whether I really wanted to get out of bed, Mike came in and told me that it was winter outside and I had better take a look. So that was settled.n

nOnce I stumbled upstairs, groggily bundled up, and lurched out onto the observation deck, I was glad I got up. The temperature was just below freezing and there was plenty of wind and fog, which means everything was covered with a healthy dose of glaze ice. Glaze ice, which usually forms at temperatures just below freezing, is clear and crystal-like as opposed to the white and fluffy rime ice that usually inhabits the summit. As I came outside, Mike was attempting to ice-board on a trash can lid. The deck wasn’t quite slippery enough to ski across in my boots, but the wind was strong and gusty enough to make circumnavigation of the deck an adventure. Every little while, the clouds broke for just long enough to see some blue and orange sky, and I reflected that sunrise was probably very pretty for anyone who could see it.n

nThis summer has been very summer-like on the summit, so this was my first taste of the winter weather that I always hear about and even talk about on my tours. As I found out this morning, fall brings a whole new set of scenery to photograph, and soon enough rime ice will be added to that list. Unfortunately all the de-icing was done before I got up, so I will have to wait a little longer to wield the crow bar. This morning’s wintry weather was short-lived, as the summit is already back above freezing and mostly clear of fog. With high pressure building, the remainder of the shift should be clear but chilly.


Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

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