Clicking a picture will take you to a full quality version of that photo. Please note that I have not put any restrictions on your ability to download any of these full quality versions. All that I ask in return is that you please credit myself and the Mount Washington Observatory if you are downloading for personal or non-profit use. On the other hand, if you would like to use a photo for anything that might garner you a profit, that is a whole different story, and please contact me or the Observatory for more information.
One of the perks of living and working on Mount Washington is having the ability to pick good weather days to take a break from work to get outside and enjoy having such an incredible ‘back yard'. My favorite way to do this in the winter time is to go skiing. Of course, skiing on Mount Washington is a true backcountry experience; there are no lifts to take you back up, no manicured trails, and no avalanche control. For me, this raw experience is one of the draws of the whole concept.
Because I don't have any formal avalanche safety training or any avalanche safety equipment, I stay away from the steeper terrain during the mid winter months and stick to some lower angle terrain, specifically the East Snowfields. As the name would suggest, the East Snowfields form on eastern slope of the summit cone, in an area that is sheltered from prevailing winds. They are close enough that I can get down there, take two full runs (about 500 vertical each) and get back to the summit in the course of an hour. The snow conditions are definitely hit or miss, but it's always worth it to get outside for some fresh air.
The earliest I ever got to ski in the East Snowfields was Halloween Day 2011:
A fairly substantial early snow storm dumped just enough snow to make things skiable, and it was actually pretty darn good skiing too!
The snow at the top of the fields had been drifted into some very interesting formations called sastrugi:
I've only had one true powder day in the East Snowfields. Good powder skiing above treeline on Mount Washington is hard to come by because of the nearly constant high winds in the winter. This day, December 21, 2007 was definitely an exception:
Here are a few of my other favorite, but random shots taken while skiing in the East Snowfields. First is a shot of me from March 7, 2006:
These next two shots are both of former observer Neil Lareau, and were taken on April 30, 2006:
Of course,there's lots of other places to ski on the mountain, some closer than others. On the north side of the summit cone, a relatively small bowl will sometimes fill with snow and become skiable. I've nicknamed it the ‘North Bowl'. Creative, I know. On one particular day, after a storm in early March of 2010 (one that I highlighted yesterday, actually), winds were from such a direction that this area was loaded full of snow. I mentioned how rare a powder day is on Mount Washington, and this was the second of the only two that I ever got. Here's what the north side of the summit cone looked like on February 28, 2010:
I've spent my last 5 birthdays on the mountain, and in 2007 when I turned 24, I got the best birthday present I could have asked for on Mount Washington: some great early season skiing in the Great Gulf on the north side of Mount Washington. The run, called Turkey Chute, was short but definitely worth it:
On a few occasions, we've stayed as close to home as possible, and had to get creative to find some skiing. Christmas day of 2010 was one of those days. We used a significant drift that formed between the geographical summit and the building that houses the Observatory to build a sort of half pipe:
Later that day, we headed down to the an area near one of the parking lots and had some fun with a snow drift down there:
Once the spring time hits every year, I venture out to much steeper and much more difficult terrain. Last year, on May 2, I skied one of the steepest and most interesting gullies I have ever had the chance to, anywhere. It's called Pipeline Gully, and here's what it looks like from a distance:
That photo is composed of roughly 12 images stitched together, all take from a distance of several miles away. It's a pretty steep run, as you can see from this picture:
The hike/climb back up was one of the most difficult I've ever experienced as well. Here's me finally making my way back to the top:
Depending on how much snow fell during a particular winter, and how warm the spring ends up getting, there can often be skiing to be found in a handful of places on or near the mountain into the summer months. On June 16, 2007, I hiked about 6 or 7 miles round trip to a snowfield on neighboring Mount Jefferson that holds out into the summer months every year. Here's what it looked like from a distance:
And here's what it looked like when I was skiing it:
Only about 10-15 turns, but totally worth it just to do it once. Another summer ski adventure that I took simply to say ‘I did it" was on July 4, 2008. What better way to celebrate our country than some skiing? I ventured down to Tuckerman Ravine that day, and here's what I saw:
Just like the Jefferson Snowfield, it was only enough snow for about 15 turns, but again well worth it:
That's all for today folks. Tomorrow's post will be all about the two summit felines that I have the privilege of living with during my time on the mountain!
After 250 entries in this blog (including this one), this will be may last.
As I prepare to leave the Observatory in a few days, this is the sixth and final part in a series of posts the will showcase my favorite pictures that have taken on Mount Washington over the last 5+ years I have lived and worked there. Today I will show a number of pictures that didn't fit into any of the previously presented categories.
As I prepare to leave the Observatory in a few days, this is the first part in a series of posts the will showcase my favorite pictures that have taken on Mount Washington over the last 5+ years I have lived and worked there. Today's post is about the cats that have called Mount Washington their home while I worked there.
As I prepare to leave the Observatory in a few days, this is the fourth in a series of posts the will showcase my favorite pictures that have taken on Mount Washington over the last 5+ years I have lived and worked there. Today I will share some pictures from my backcountry skiing adventures during the time I have lived on the mountain.
As I prepare to leave the Observatory in a few days, this is the third part in a series of posts the will showcase my favorite pictures that have taken on Mount Washington over the last 5+ years I have lived and worked there. Today's post will share some photos that were taken during some particularly memorable storms.
As I prepare to leave the Observatory in a few days, this is the second in a series of posts the will showcase my favorite pictures that have taken on Mount Washington over the last 5+ years I have lived and worked there. Today's topic is clouds and optical phenomena.