Notes From A Volunteer

2013-04-16 19:32:33.000 – Patti and Steve Chappell,  Summit Volunteers

Some Rime Up Close.

After numerous times volunteering in the summer, we’ve finally done a ‘winter’ week! Some aspects of this week were similar to those in the summer (same food in the pantry, same meat in the freezers, same equipment in the kitchen, same friendly crew) but there were obviously many differences (snow cat ride to the summit, colder temperatures, no people in the State Park Rotunda, and no MWO museum open to help out in). But the biggest difference this time was being able to get up close and personal with rime ice.

As any follower of this column knows, rime ice is often commented on by the observers. The newest Windswept has a great article by Cyrena-Marie Briedè (Director of Summit Operations) about the formation of rime ice. Until you see it for yourself, however, its beauty just can’t be imagined. Between us, we’ve taken several hundred pictures of the rime. Both close ups to catch the detail and further away to show the amazing length these horizontal ice formations can grow to. It seems none of our pictures really do it justice though. What really surprised us was the remarkable ‘feathery’ appearance of much of it. Imagine signs, railings, cables, equipment, antennae, buildings, and everything coated with an avian mantel of icy feathers. All that pretty accumulation can present issues: we often heard the bang! clang! bang! of crowbar against ice and metal as the crew knocked the stuff off instruments on the observation tower.

As always, the weather up here can be a gamble, but there is no gamble about the specialness of this place. Among several days of impressive winds coupled with bright white fog, we were treated to a spectacular crystal clear New Hampshire winter day with blue sky, low wind, and temperatures just under the freezing point. What a perfect way to show off all that white feathery rime. Every day brought us satisfaction knowing we were helping a special organization; membership is well worth it!


Patti and Steve Chappell,  Summit Volunteers

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