We made it to the summit! No frost bite, no forgotten gear, and a relatively quick (and easy) 2 hour Snow Cat ride to the summit up the auto road.
The conditions are actually fairly pleasant for Mount Washington standards. Here’s the 2 p.m. observation from the summit.
METAR KMWN 201854Z 30034KT 0SM -SN FZFG DRSN VV001 M16/M16 RMK VRY LGT ICG
It’s currently 3 degrees with a wind sustained at 39 m.p.h. out of the northwest. For the “rockpile” that’s actually not so bad. Thankfully, the gnarly stuff is still forecast to come in tonight.
Both the NAM and GFS computer models show sustained winds getting close to 70 m.p.h. shortly after sunset. I’ll probably have to race through dinner so I can go out and play in wind chills approaching -40. And of course knock rime ice off signs.
Up here in the observatory, besides me and Chris Podosek (pictured and shivering above), there are 3 observers, an intern, our tour guide, and 2 volunteers who will be doing the cooking. We’re told there’s a ghost up here too making a grand total of 10 staying up in the clouds.
This was the weather briefing we attended when arriving at the summit where the previous shift of weather observers brief the next shift on what to expect. Winds over 100 m.p.h. and wind chills below -50 are fairly common during the winter.
After spending time outside virtually everything from you snow pants to hat to gloves gets covered by an awesome looking film of rime ice. You’ll see it skiing once in a while but up here it’s nearly instantaneous.
Besides winds near hurricane force tonight I’m really hoping the clouds break a bit around sunrise. Hopefully we can get some nice shots of the view from up here. Since we’ve been at the summit we haven’t been able to see much more than 100 yards or so.