2010-03-04 16:52:10.000 – Stacey Kawecki, Observer and Meteorologist
Jinxed, cursed, hexed, ill-fated, star-crossed, condemned, doomed. Whichever word you choose to use will likely accurately describe how Andreas, the professor from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany must feel. After last winter’s ridiculous fiasco (German’s stranded on top of Mount Washington!), he is most likely becoming used to adversity when it comes to summit trips. To refresh your memory, last year towards the end of February, the summit received about two feet of snow in about two days. There were multiple failed attempts by snow tractors and operators to summit thanks to ridiculous drifting and ground blizzards. Half of the students ended up being ‘stranded’ on the summit for an additional four and a half days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), complete with expensive flight changes, logistical complications, and a general feeling of anxiety.
Fast forward to today. Usually each crew gets three or four days with the German students. However, due to this year’s particular schedule, they were slotted to leave this afternoon. Before they left, Andreas expressed regret that he and his group would have to leave so early. He continued to conspire with me, ‘maybe the snow tractor will not make it up, and we can spend another day or two?’
Well, Andreas, all I have to say to you is you are either prophetic or flat-out unlucky. Turns out, there was a minor hitch, a break in the flow, in today’s plans. One of the hydraulic hoses broke and was leaking fluid, immobilizing the snow tractor and all of its passengers in the vicinity of Cow Pasture. Instead of the snow tractor not making it to the summit, it failed to make it to the base of the Auto Road. It is stranded until tomorrow. Luckily, everyone was able to make it down the mountain, with the help of State Park.
Maybe the mountain was using its mystical powers in an attempt to keep the Germans on the summit. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it probably will not be the last.
Stacey Kawecki, Observer and Meteorologist