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  •  Mt Washington in Winter

     Or, overnight at the MWN Weather Observatory

    In the fall of 1986 my Mom won a weather-guessing contest sponsored by WBNC Radio in Conway NH, and her prize was an overnight stay at the Mt Washington Weather Observatory. She was kind enough to let me go up the mountain in her place. So at 0800 on 7 Mar 1987, I arrived at the Glen House in Pinkham Notch, ready for my adventure.

    You can find lots of fantastic pictures and other info at the Observatory web site.



    A Thiokol snow vehicle is our transportation up the 7-mile Auto Road to the summit (in the background).



    Here we are about to start up the Cut-off, which shaves about a mile off the trip. But it's a LOT steeper. 



     Above timber-line, we found build-ups of rime ice on the posts along the road. These horizontal icicles are formed by drops of moisture driven by the wind onto a surface. They build into the wind.



    Looking north from the summit across the Great Gulf to the northern Presidential Mountains: Mts Jefferson, Adams, and Madison. I've climbed all these peaks in the summer, so it's really interesting to see them in winter from this elevation.



     This is the instrument tower of the Observatory.



    Looking southwest from the summit. 



    Here I am out on the roof of the Sherman Adams Summit House, with the Observatory tower behind me. The wind was blowing at about 75 MPH at the time. 



    Alto-cumulus clouds made for a beautiful sunset. 



     I had a big debate before bedtime whether to set the alarm for sunrise, but decided it was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. When I first got outside, the fog was very thick, but it started to break just as the sun came up over the horizon, far off in Maine.



    As the sun rose higher, the summit fog cleared, leaving some clouds in the valleys below us. 



    This is the Sherman Adams Summit House, with the Cog Railway track going up from right to left. 
     mwn0012  All too soon it was time to head back down to civilization. I rode in the Thiokol down to tree-line, where two of us alit and rode sleds the remaining 3 miles down the mountain. Longest sled ride I've ever had!

    A couple of great books about the early days of the Observatory and its first two winters:

    Mount Washington in Winter 1870-1871

    C. H. Hitchcock & J. H. Huntington

    Chick & Andrews, Boston 1871

    Available as a 1986 reprint from Heritage Books


    Mount Washington Reoccupied

    Robert S. Monahan

    Stephen Daye Press, Brattleboro VT 1933