Monday, February 14, 2011

2-14-10 Aquatic Plant Studies Continued

This is a bit of worthwhile news in that I've been fortunate in receiving the original print of Lawrence Collins limnological study that included Eagle Lake on Mt. Lafayette and Lakes of the Clouds on Mt. Washington. I'm indebted to Marjory Collins, Larry's sister, for loaning me her only copy as I was unable to locate mine. The data contained is invaluable for future research regarding possible changes that may have occurred in the aquatic plant population of all the lakes we studied in 1965, but certainly the two alpine lakes. My foray this past summer into Eagle Lake and Lakes of the Clouds plus cursory studies of Lonesome Lake, Carter Lake and Zealand Pond (see Blog entries 7-27-10, 8-7-10, 8-8-10, 8-14-10, 8-15-10 and 8-20-10) will be the beginning of more in-depth (no pun intended) studies during the 2011 summer. So, thanks Margery for pushing onwards and getting this in the mail.

2-14-11 Snow Accumulations in Tuckermans Ravine.

Happy Valentine's Day! We're past Winter's mid-point and the snow in the ravines on Mt. Washington is blissfully piling up. The excellent photo above and the four that follow were all taken by the US Forest Service snow rangers after the large storms ten days ago and were purloined from the USFS Avalanche Information website. Above is that great view from the Huntington Ravine Trail looking back at Boott Spur. Hillmans Highway and Dodges Drop have yet to collect much snow. Snow Ranger Jeff Lane of the Forest Service posted "Moderate" avalanche danger on the Center Bowl, The Lip, The Sluice, and Hillmans Highway. "Low" avalanche danger was posted for Right Gully, the Chute, Left Gully, the lower snowfields and little headwall this morning (2-14-11).

Pinnacle Gully in Huntington Ravine showing avalanche debris at the bottom and a small section of the talus "fan" coming out of Pinnacle and Central gullies that is finally getting covered with snow. For 2-14-11 the avalanche danger in all climbing areas of Huntington Ravine are "Low" except Central Gully which is "Moderate".

Tuckerman Ravine. Check this with earlier photos. There's a lot more snow cover.

Looking up at the Lip (center) and the Sluice (center right) and if you look closely you can see a skier hiking up the sluice and some tracks coming down from the top of the gully.

Right Gully looks very appealing. So there's still 6-8 weeks of snow accumulation to come and snow depth is building steadily by all accounts this morning from Lonesome Lake (35"), Zealand Hut (48"), Carter Notch (43") and Tucks (52"), making a rough average of 4 feet of snow on the ground across the range between 3200- 3800 feet (Zealand's snow stake is at 2700 feet).

I've been sequestered here, in western Massachusetts, the past three weekends with work related stuff going on. It's been more than a month since I've been North which I find frustrating. I've done a bit of work on the blog. I finished the Moat Mountain-White Mountain Alkaline Batholith piece from 5-1-10. It's a good article and probably could use more tightening up but the story of the Batholith is really interesting and Marland Billing's role in the Batholith's coming to light is also fascinating. If you have some time you should go back and read it simply because it explains so much of what you see when you're on top of, say, South Twin or Carrigain, and you look around at the wide arc of the surrounding mountains. Being able to superimpose the Batholith (from 200-300 million years ago) over that image gives an enormously edifying picture of White Mountain history. Even the photo here of Pinnacle Gully relates directly to the Batholith.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2-3-11 Let It Snow!

The following four photos were taken from the USFS link on the Mt. Washington Weather Observatory's (referred to as "The Obs") website. The photos were taken on 12-28-11 (by either Brian, Justin or Chris). I'm using the photos primarily to show the rate and the means by which the ravines on the east side of Mt. Washington fill with snow. In the above photo you can see a lone climber, descending from Right Gully (right center of photo) and traversing across the Sluice; a tiny speck in the upper center of the photo. If you compare this photo with the photos I took 12-26-11 you can see increases in accumulation but mainly from the blizzard of 12-27-10. You can see the remnants of an avalanche in the bottom right of the photo. There has been no appreciable snow accumulation in the past two weeks as reported by the snow rangers. This is being written on 2-2-11 during yet another blizzard and Mt. Washington is expecting a foot, or more, snow in this storm. So stay tuned.

Looking across the "bowl" towards the lip and the Summit. There's appreciably more snow, maybe a foot, on the lower slopes than a month ago. Avalanche advisories are "High" on all trails and surfaces with the fresh snow from the storms of 2-1-11 and 2-2-11. The lone exception is the Little Headwall of Tuckerman's Ravine which is listed as "Moderate." Rangers are advising that, for the next few days, it's not safe even if you are only going up to look around. Meanwhile, the Obs is forecasting another storm which will bring more snow beginning late Saturday afternoon (2-5-11).

Huntington Ravine. Compared to photos I took 12-26-10 there has been little accumulation of snow to date. Odells Gully is in the center with Central Gully on the right.

A great shot of Pinnacle Gully (on the right with Odells Gully in the center of the photo). The talus slope below Pinnacle/Central Gullies is the main measuring stick for snow accumulation in Huntington and it shows, compared to photos from 12-26-10, only a small amount has been added during the past month. We'll have to wait for the photos from this week's storms to track significant changes.

Closer to home, the Holyoke Range got a total of about 2 feet of snow in recent storms up to 1-30-11 when this photo was taken. It's been such a wonderful winter thus far. I know there are some who probably get tired of the snow after back to back storms but I think it's really, really exciting.....

and I'm not the only one that thinks it's the best winter in ages. Snow boarders, a rare site on the Holyoke Range, were everywhere this past weekend.

Snow board tracks in the woods on Mt. Skinner.

Close up of Beech Bark Disease on a 12" dbh Beech on Mt. Skinner.