Too much mountain, too little time

2009-04-25 18:42:59.000 – Ali Boris,  Summit Intern

A sunrise well worth the early morning wakeup

It’s always exciting to be up on the summit because there’s a never-ending list of things to do. From hiking to hanging out with the observers, there is never a dull moment nor enough time to sleep. This week has begun as no exception.

On Wednesday, Ryan, Mike and I passed a soccer ball around out on the Obs deck while light, clumpy snowflakes fell on us. The winds were minimal, but continued to increase into Thursday afternoon when we measured the gust of 118 mph that Brian mentioned yesterday. Robin, our current volunteer (she’s also Mike’s mom and makes really, really yummy cookies), had a great time playing in the wind, hooting, hollering, and even asking to go again later. By the time the snow ended that evening, we had gotten a grand total of 13.8 inches in about 24 hours. While it may not be unusual for up here, it was certainly a surprise to me in the middle of April.

As the skies cleared into Friday, Mike and I planned a hike for sunset. Despite my need for study time, I know that it’s worth the extra evening work because I won’t be up on this mountain forever. I met him after he’d taken a run down the East Snowfields (a little slushy, he said, but conditions have since improved) and we headed westward. It was the first time since January that I had been out past the summit area without crampons, and it was quite slick. I slid a few times in my soft plastic boots, but made it home in time for most of dinner. After our usual group lounging time, we elected to go to bed early and do a sunrise hike this morning. Brian, Mike and I headed out with a water bottle full of hot cocoa and a pace quickened by an impending thunderstorm on the radar. I don’t think that I’ve seen such a beautiful sunrise – there were several layers of clouds being lit up with brilliant pinks and oranges that are often dampened to pastels by haze or lower clouds.

The excellent snow conditions enticed Mike and Brian to board and ski, respectively, in the Great Gulf this afternoon. It was an excellent chance for me to do some non-fog observations on my own, with several cloud layers of different types lingering in all directions. We broke a record today with our high temperatures – a record high of 56, low of 39 so far, and an average of 48 – that’s 21 degrees over today’s historical average temp! I was, of course, a bit nervous about getting everything recorded correctly, but in my eighth week I definitely feel it’s time to get a handle on the basics of observations. Again, too much to do and not enough time up here! It’s almost time for another gorgeous sunset, and another very full day to end. Ryan says that we may be able to break tomorrow’s high temperature record by midnight…


Ali Boris,  Summit Intern

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