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Acrophobe
11-12-2007, 09:01 AM
First, I know I'm reviving an old thread - in most forums I've visited, that's bad form. But I didn't want to clutter the forum with a new one. :)

Anyway, my dad and I are planning a climb next Saturday. Perhaps one of the southern presidentials. Eisenhower or something. And I was wondering if the summit forecast for Washington that's posted on this website is accurate for other mountains in the area? I know they're a bit shorter, so conditions are liable to be a little more friendly?

JimS
11-12-2007, 09:28 AM
First, I know I'm reviving an old thread - in most forums I've visited, that's bad form. But I didn't want to clutter the forum with a new one. :)

Anyway, my dad and I are planning a climb next Saturday. Perhaps one of the southern presidentials. Eisenhower or something. And I was wondering if the summit forecast for Washington that's posted on this website is accurate for other mountains in the area? I know they're a bit shorter, so conditions are liable to be a little more friendly?

I think that this definately deserves its own thread...

Will post thoughts later today...

bclark
11-12-2007, 09:54 AM
And I was wondering if the summit forecast for Washington that's posted on this website is accurate for other mountains in the area? I know they're a bit shorter, so conditions are liable to be a little more friendly?

The forecast posted on our website is meant to include pretty much all of the Presidential Range. That's why we call it the "higher summits forecast". At the same time, it is often very difficult to say what it's going to be like across the entire range, so the forecast tends to have a focus on the summit of Mt. Washington.



I guess my point is that the forecast we issue is certainly a relevant tool to use to plan your hike in the southern presidentials. However, it is only one of the tools you should use. Certainly, if you get to treeline and discover that the weather is just too much, that's where you should turn around. Unfortunately, many people aren't able to make that decision to turn around. Remember, the mountains will always be there another day.

bclark
11-12-2007, 09:55 AM
I think that this definately deserves its own thread...

Will post thoughts later today...

Oops, sorry Jim, your reply wasn't there when I started mine. Feel free to add your thoughts to mine....

JimS
11-12-2007, 10:58 AM
Oops, sorry Jim, your reply wasn't there when I started mine. Feel free to add your thoughts to mine....

Since were in the thread already...don't mind if I do...
Perhaps BillO or Mike D can separate this out.

The summit's forecast was origionally designed for above treeline areas of the white mountains. It gives the conditions that you could expect when traveling in exposed areas. Will all areas above treeline have the conditions that are on the outlook, no, but there are certainly areas at 4000 feet that have conditions that can, in the right situation rival the summit.

The key is to read the terrain. In this month's issue of backpacker magazine, former MWO Observer Neil Lareau is interviewed about this, and talks about how the mountain can give clues about the conditions ahead on the trail. If the trees get shorter, more knarled, or dissappear altogether, it should be a sign that this is a spot more prone to severe weather. If you enter a funnel in the terrain, or an exposed ridge, you can get different conditions. Aspect has probably the greatest effect though.

The guides hiking MW often say that in certain wind directions, if they can get their clients over Lion's Head, it's a cake walk (relative) to the top. This is a good example of lower elevations experiencing those similar to the summits outlook.

Hope that gives insight.

Jim

Acrophobe
11-12-2007, 03:49 PM
So you mean that even on the smaller summits like Carrigain, Eisenhower, and Chocorua, we could be encountering sub-zero windchills even this early in the winter? I can see that for Washington, but I'm suprised that those kind of conditions extend to other mountains. Guess I'm glad I asked. :)


Incidently, my brother and I were out canoeing a few minutes ago, and found even now patches of ice half an inch thick. Promises to be a great season for the winter-philes among us. :D

JimS
11-13-2007, 02:09 PM
So you mean that even on the smaller summits like Carrigain, Eisenhower, and Chocorua, we could be encountering sub-zero windchills even this early in the winter?

For temperature, a general rule of thumb is 3 to 5 degrees of cooling for every 1000Ft of elevation. So for mountains at 4000ft, it's usually 6 to 10 degrees warmer than Washington. But, as stated the winds in certain spots can be nearly, or even just as severe, so you certainly can get into quite a pickle on lower summits.

The good thing about the lower summits though...it's alot easier to retreat to the trees!!!

Brad
11-13-2007, 04:19 PM
So you mean that even on the smaller summits like Carrigain, Eisenhower, and Chocorua, we could be encountering sub-zero windchills even this early in the winter? I can see that for Washington, but I'm suprised that those kind of conditions extend to other mountains. Guess I'm glad I asked. :)
If you are exposed above treeline, you are exposed. The temperature is predictable and you can prepare for it. The wind chill can do you in - and fast. The major issue is wind and the wind chill effect. I have measured minus 37 degree wind chills in Tuckermans Ravine on a nice sunny day. Get back into the trees just below HoJos and you warm right up. I would be concerned getting out above treeline on any mountain in the Whites in the winter. Be careful and it is a lot of fun.