2006-09-24 21:01:13.000 – The Summit Crew,  Mount Washington Observatory


A cold front has swept through the White Mountains this afternoon, causing the night observer’s sleep to come to an abrupt end around noon today. Winds picked up to around 90 mph and the sound of thunder filled the Observer bedroom. Soon after, however, the summit was temporarily free of fog, with a spectacular rainbow to the east.

We have now gone back into the fog (typical for weather behind a cold front) and temperatures are beginning to fall into the 30’s. Winds remain above hurricane force and more showers are expected by later today and tonight. This is, of course, perfect weather for developing hypothermia…..

This past Wednesday night provided quite a set of challenges to us as the summit community rallied to deal with our first case of severe hypothermia of the season. Conditions during the day went from bad to worse but, sadly, were predictably so. We wish the best for the young hiker, who during the last news reports we heard is still in critical condition.

We can draw upon this instance to encourage all hikers this fall not to underestimate the weather conditions on Mount Washington in autumn. The autumn climate on the high summits is perhaps the most changeable, and most underestimated, of all the seasons. It is important to remember that the current conditions on the summit (or at any higher elevation destination) can change dramatically between the time hikers leave the base and arrive at their destination, which, by the way, is exactly “half-way”. With proper plans and preparation, a more positively memorable experience can be had on Mount Washington in autumn.


The Summit Crew,  Mount Washington Observatory

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