10:50 Thu Nov 17, 2022
New Trail Signs Meant to Improve Weather Safety in the White Mountains
New signs at trail heads leading to upper elevations in the White Mountains state the following, WARNING: Weather Conditions At High Elevations May Be Dangerous. For information from the Mount Washington Observatory about weather conditions & high elevation forecasts, text "weather forecast" to 603-356-2137.
A project led by Observatory Life Trustee Jack Middleton to design and print over 100 warning signs for display at White Mountain trailheads was recently completed.
The bright yellow signs, printed on 1/8” sturdy metal, warn of potentially dangerous weather at higher elevations while informing hikers that a quick text to 603-356-2137 will generate an automated reply with the current summit conditions and Observatory forecast.
With a QR code that generates an automated text when scanned, the signs are meant to increase awareness and access in the backcountry, where WiFi signals are often not available.
“What inspired this are the news reports on a frequent basis of people being injured on mountains at higher elevations, often with injuries that can be life-threatening,” said Middleton. He also credited author Ty Gagne’s books about decision-making and risk in mountaineering as inspiration.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire State Parks, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Randolph Mountain Club have all assisted with hanging the signs at trail heads leading to higher elevations in the Presidential Range and Franconia Notch.
Life Trustee Jack Middleton holds one of the signs warning of high-elevation weather.
MWOBS, Staff Comment