2013-11-14 08:38:22.000 – Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
The time of year for shift changes we would consider ‘routine’ has come to an end. Ascending and descending the mountain will become a lot more complicated during the winter; and yesterday’s shift change served as an excellent example of foreshadowing.
Our crew left the base of the Auto Road just before 9 AM, with chains fixed to the tires of both our truck and van. The truck led the way with the plow, hoping to cut through any snow drifts that may impede our progress to the summit. With temperatures on top hovering in the single digits below zero, we wanted to be sure not to take any unnecessary chances, and be 100% prepared. All of the crew was dressed in full winter gear, and was ready to hoof it to work, should the truck fail to get us up successfully.
Things were proceeding fairly well until we ran into significant blowing snow on the 6- and 7- mile stretches of the road, which were creating large snow drifts on the Auto Road. With a little help, our truck’s plow managed to cut through what remained of these drifts, clearing the path for us to the summit!
It’s only November, and Snow Cat season is just around the corner for us! Pretty soon, shift changes that would generally take 20-30 minutes in the summer time, will turn in to 1, 2, 3…maybe up to 5 hours as blowing and drifting snow, freezing fog, and arctic temperatures all do their best to obstruct our path of ascension. Here’s hoping for a relatively uneventful winter!
Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Meteorologist