View Full Version : Summit Attempt on 2/2/08

02-03-2008, 06:25 PM
Yesterday (Saturday, 2/2/08) had high winds on the summit (gusting over 125mph). This photo was taken by Nate Strong as we made our way across the top of Tuckerman Ravine. One of our 12-person party made this comment about coming around the corner of a boulder on the summit cone: "I looked around and saw five guys sprawled across the snow like they'd gotten shot". Six of our group turned back by the Lion's Head feature. The rest of us turned back at the top of the snowfield before the "keyhole". Only one lone climber hit the summit yesterday, of at least 30 that I know of. Tim Finocchio took this 26sec video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEtEXOmodEk) from behind a cairn near Lion's Head. I'm the guy at the end dropping to one knee.

Bill O
02-03-2008, 08:06 PM
Thanks for sharing. Looks like fun.

What's the keyhole? I like that term, is that also known as split rock?

02-04-2008, 06:59 AM
Thanks for sharing. Looks like fun.

What's the keyhole? I like that term, is that also known as split rock?

Bingo! We used to call it 'split rock' like everybody else, but one buddy kept calling it 'the keyhole' a few years ago and it just stuck.

rockin rex
02-04-2008, 03:06 PM
Anyone thinking of cimbing Washington in winter should see this video!! The group that turned around at Lions head I would have joined you. I am really surprised the next group made it as far as split rock (the key hole). The winds between Lions and the Alpine garden must have been INSANE. The lone climber who reached the top in 118 m.p.h. gust how can you stand up??
To be all alone in winds that high on the cone is amazing!! The climber must have nerves of steel!! Great video.

02-04-2008, 06:46 PM
Good to hear that you turned around when you felt uncomfortable. But a few notes on the weather that day. Not sure where you got gusts over 125 mph from. If it was a hand held device, I have done field research with these prior to working here and can relay that these are not accurate at high winds. The summit only received a calibrated gust of 118 mph and that was only instantaneous. Winds averaged 80-95 between 8 am and noon so, if they made it up then, then they may have experienced the 100 mph gusts. But they were not alone, our sign in book has a few names in their that day, so at least it was a shared experience. Good video to learn from though.

Ryan Knapp
Staff Meteorologist, KMWN

02-05-2008, 11:34 AM
Not sure where you got gusts over 125 mph from.

At Pinkham notch a guy on staff told one of our group that the gusts hit 135 on the summit.

Winds averaged 80-95 between 8 am and noon

We estimated the winds to be around 70-75 at around 1pm between the Lion's Head feature and the start of the snowfields. My rule of thumb is that I don't believe I can walk with a pack on above about 80mph, but that's based on a few dramatic moments including on Madison (where I got pinned to the ground) on the summit.

Also, at Lion's Head itself the winds were hard from the south across Tucks blowing us thankfully away from the ravine. Just before the Alpine Garden trail junction the winds were from the West and then North (coming around the summit cone?) blowing us toward the Ravine. We split into two groups, one headed up and into the deeper snow to move away from the ravine, the other staying truer to the Lion Head trail.

While I'm at it, for anyone who hasn't been on the summit in bad visibility or high winds, here are a few odds-and-ends links. I'm partly motivated by a chance encounter on Saturday with a guy who wanted to buy my compass off me (he didn't think to bring one). He also set his pack down on Lion's Head and it blew into the ravine but snagged on some rhododenron just inches from the 'edge'. Anyway:

This picture (http://picasaweb.google.com/TimFinocchio/BadBoy2008/photo#5162831011101822322) of buddy Tim Finocchio's from Saturday is on the way down across the snowfields and gives a pretty true image of the uniform grey sky/snow and why the compass is our friend.

This grainy, jumpy video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXasV5AWTeQ) was shot by buddy Bob Warren on Saturday and shows how windy it was at the treeline.

And finally this brief video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08d7inypm5E) was shot by me last March, descending from Split Rock into the snowfields. It addresses the question of "how long does it take to disappear from your group?".

02-06-2008, 07:29 PM
great picture!!!!