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April 19, 2007
The storm that blew through earlier this week wreaked havoc all over the state. The accompanying high winds and rains are still causing disruption in many places with roads closed & people dealing with debris everywhere. Close to home, Mt Washington got 35"(89cm)of snow coupled with sustained 100+ mph(161+ kph) East winds on Tuesday. This caused the summit Observatory to suffer all kinds of damage. So much so that the weather reporting and prediction is still not on line as of this report.
While some parts of the region received massive snowfall, here in the Valley we didn't get all that much. The snow that started on Monday switched back and forth between rain, sleet and snow with rain mostly winning out. I didn't see more than an inch or two of snow, but the rain meter showed 2.5+ inches of rain. Of course this created a real mess on the roads. Many of my friends have had big time problems with flooding in their yards and basements. It hasn't been pleasant.
Of course all this rain has provided us with a real mud season for the first time in several years. The ground is over-saturated and all the graded roads are a mess, if not washed out altogether. There are places in Madison and Eaton where people can't get into their homes via unpaved roads. Power is still out a surprising number of places. Hiking in the woods can leave you up to your kneed in mud if you're not careful, and of course stream crossings can be extremely problematic. In many places the volume of water flowing downhill often has nowhere else to go but down the hiking trails. The Bryce path and some of the trails around Whitehorse and Cathedral were quite a mess the last few days. It's going to take a couple of weeks for the ground to dry out.
Needless to say the amount of snow in upper elevations has been a problem as well as a blessing. Wildcat Ski Area and Bretton Woods have seen incredible skiing for this time of year. Maybe even the best of the season. I'll bet that there were a lot of folks taking powder-days earlier in the week. However there was an avalanche in the Ravine recently that was very nearly a tragedy. Of course this is a time to use caution when you are having fun. If you go up into the ravines be sure to heed the avalanche warnings.
We haven't had 3 consecutive days with temps above 60 since last November! That looks to change over the weekend with temps on the rise and it will certainly be a welcome relief. This clear and dry pattern should hold through the weekend. With only a few showers passing through next Tuesday into the later part of next week things will be nice! The rain has washed a lot of the ice & snow off of the cliffs, leaving only the Whitehorse slabs really problematic from that standpoint. However as usual Cathedral will hang on to its moisture longer than other areas. Humphrey's, the South Buttress of Whitehorse and as always Rumney will be the most promising areas to climb. Better get there early this weekend. I predict that pent up demand will make it a crowded time at the crags.
Oh yeah... I was all ready to put the snowblower away 3 weeks ago, but kept it in the garage & am glad that I did. It got more use than the previous 3 months of winter. I was talking with my wife about it yesterday and she said I better be careful, that kind of talk will get us another foot! But, as of this morning it's still in the garage...
The annual Quincy Quarries ClimbFest is looking for volunteers to help with planning. ClimbFest is a not-for-profit event, supported in part by the Appalachian Mountain Club Mountaineering Committee, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Volunteers like you. For more information, visit ClimbFest.com.
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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
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