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  1. #1
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    northern whites

    Default Not a great stretch of weather for doing the AT in the whites

    The Mt Washington Observatory issues a daily higher summits forecast which covers the whites. Mid to late February and March is a popular time of year to go hiking up on the summits and there can be nice weather stretches but not all the time. There have been several high profile deaths and serious injuries in the region over the years in February where folks from outside the region head assuming they will hit a good stretch and decide that once up here they will take a chance that the conditions will not be as bad as the forecast.

    With severe conditions expected from summits to the valleys, hiking will be extremely risky Monday and Monday night and hiking above tree line is strongly discouraged through Tuesday. If search and rescue needs arise, help will be slow going or postponed until conditions improve. All SAR assistance if needed will have to come from below, as summit staff will not be able to assist in any way. A single injury will potentially put several lives at risk not just your own. Additionally, driving to locations will be difficult and debris on and along roadways, especially from downed tree limbs and powerline, could slow travel. Hiking in the woods will also have the risk of falling trees or tree limbs as gusts in foothill regions and neighboring valleys reach upwards of 70 mph. This could result in loss of power in areas, which could also lead to loss of wireless communications slowing help further. Additionally, debris that is aloft, including chunks of ice and snow, will act as high speed projectiles which could cause bodily harm or knock one unconscious. Blowing snow will also be limiting vis at times too especially when in the mix with summit fog. And as previously mentioned, frostbite and hypothermia risks will be possible from trailheads to summits.

  2. #2


    I drove down to EMS in North Conway Saturday to buy new boots (I wear out a pair every year). Every trail head was full to overflowing on RT16. There must have been 1,000 cars at Pinkham, the parking lot was full and cars were lined up for half a mile along the side of the road. It was a nice, sunny day.

    But what a difference a day makes. Sunday the wind kicked up, then the rain and sleet started. My yard is full of branches. Overnight we got 6" of wet snow and it's still blowing like crazy out there. We're in the "is it still snowing or just blowing around?" stage of the storm now. There's probably a whole lot of new blowdowns across the trails now.

    This school vacation week for Mass and NH, so it's possible everyone out Saturday didn't go home Sunday when the weather suddenly turned violent. This is what makes the Whites so dangerous, how fast the weather changes from and nice day to life threating in a very short period of time.
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