2008-07-07 14:29:30.000 – Ted Letcher,  Summit Intern

Enjoying the Big H, by watching sunrise first.

The summit this past week has been particularly interesting, for a number of reasons I might add. Instead of focusing on the all of the aspects that aided in making this week somewhat abnormal, I’m going to center my attention on perhaps the most notable of the anomalies. That is of course the fair weather. If you are at all familiar with the mountain you know that the summit is usually stuck inside of a cloud (about 60% of the time). This week however (barring few exceptions) has been fog free. The facet of the unusually mild weather has been the wind. The average wind speed up here is generally around 35 mph, the past few days, it has strained to surpass ten at times.

So, what’s the reason for all of this boring weather you ask? The answer is fairly simple. The summit, along with the rest of the northeast, is under the influence of high pressure. If you have every studied a weather map, you will have noticed a bunch of curved lines along with A bunch of “L’s” and “H’s” strewn about. These letters indicate pressure centers. L stands for low pressure and H for high pressure. High pressure acts analogous to a lid on the atmosphere suppressing any clouds and precipitation from forming.

Clear skies and calm weather on the summits mean more recreational hikers. I myself indulged in a couple of hikes this week. However I will focus on the hike I took down to Tuckerman’s Ravine to accompany Brian (shift leader) while he skied on what was left of the snow down there. This hike disconcerted me a slight bit because I witnessed a lot of people that were under prepared and not even close to being appropriately dressed for climbing any mountain, let alone Mount Washington. So as a public service announcement, please hike smart, that includes: dressing appropriately, understanding the weather, and knowing when to quit.

With that said, I highly recommend coming out to enjoy these rare spells of mild weather on the higher summits. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


Ted Letcher,  Summit Intern

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