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Thread: Longest snow cover?

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    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    Longest snow cover?

    Given the massive snow accumulation this winter and cool temperatures this Spring, it would seem like we are gearing up for a year of extraordinarily long snow cover at the higher elevations. I was up by Ethan Pond yesterday in NH, and there was still an average of 2 feet of snow cover or more in places. It is getting hard to imagine it melting before June.
    Obviously you can find patches in June often, but what's the longest you all remember seeing snow cover into the Spring??
    (That isn't like Tuckermans, or the summer of 1816, but just a high elevation plateau kind of similar to the Ethan Pond area).
    Just curious because I think this is going to be a banner year for snow cover longevity in places.
    In addition, it seems like the brooks haven't crested yet. I think they have not raged their hardest since most of the water up high is still contained as snow and not runoff yet.
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    I have seen deep snow years that lasted in June. I think 2005 held onto the snow pack late. I don't think we are at the point where the Tuckerman Glacier will form anytime soon

    I do remember year where snowshoes would be useful in shaded spots up to Memorial Day. The region has been stuck with the jet stream on top of us multiple weeks, when it shift north it will get warm at night and that will make dent in the remaining snowpack.

    The old timers in the Berlin Gorham area, did not plant their tomatoes until the "seven" snow field was gone in Kings Ravine and some years the seven has lasted until 7/7.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Some years it does seem like the snowpack will last into June. But from what I have seen, you get into May and the temps go up fast. What really kicks the melt into high gear is the nighttime temps rising. I've heard people say, "the snow will last till July!!" and its gone by beginning of June.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I only have about 7 years of reference point but it seems in most years by Mid-May the snow is generally gone with exception of some slushy monorail and patches in deep ravines and North facing areas. I haven't been up to NH since mid March but based on trip report photos, etc it sounds like several feet of full coverage is still pretty common in many spots. I'd expect there will definitely be June snow this year in a lot of places. I think it was 2015 when I climbed Washington via Great Gulf Trail mid June and the area around Spaulding Lake had 2+ feet of snow around it and many of the ravines on Clay were holding large patches of snow that two guys were actually skiing. That is the latest I can recall seeing substantial snow anywhere.
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    Junior Member JToll's Avatar
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    I have a picture from June 17, 2009 with large snow fields at the top of Jefferson.

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Many moons ago we hiked through Mahoosuc Notch and then over Goose Eye on the Fourth of July, and while clamoring through the boulders, I was surprised to see a fair amount of ice still packed down below us. Dang that day was hot and humid! But that was certainly exceptional, if not still neat.

    As with "Sierra," I think the big thing is when the lows start to rise and the snow loses any opportunity to re-freeze at night. May is just a tough month to be hiking in the Whites. The bugs are out, it's warm, but the trails are a mess. Either they're muddy, or they're crumbling monorail, and the streams can be high.

    I guess because grid hiking is so popular now (I suspect there are hundreds and hundreds of us), NH lacks a shoulder season where folks avoid the trails, but if they did, it would be, what, late April to early June?

    Brian

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I was in the Southern Presidential Range today. The snow is constant above 2800'. Worse snowshoes for a good bit - except on the longer rockier stretches above treeline.

    Tim
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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JToll View Post
    I have a picture from June 17, 2009 with large snow fields at the top of Jefferson.
    I think we did the Franconia loop that Memorial Day and there was still a ton of snow from Little Haystack down towards the upper crossing (after there being very little on the way up OBP). Definitely the snowiest Memorial Day Hike we did.
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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    Many moons ago we hiked through Mahoosuc Notch and then over Goose Eye on the Fourth of July, and while clamoring through the boulders, I was surprised to see a fair amount of ice still packed down below us. Dang that day was hot and humid! But that was certainly exceptional, if not still neat.

    As with "Sierra," I think the big thing is when the lows start to rise and the snow loses any opportunity to re-freeze at night. May is just a tough month to be hiking in the Whites. The bugs are out, it's warm, but the trails are a mess. Either they're muddy, or they're crumbling monorail, and the streams can be high.

    I guess because grid hiking is so popular now (I suspect there are hundreds and hundreds of us), NH lacks a shoulder season where folks avoid the trails, but if they did, it would be, what, late April to early June?

    Brian
    This year is more the norm of what it was like back in the 60’s and 70’s. Yea I know I’m older than dirt and I’m usually a perpetually cranky kind of guy with no real name. But skiing in Tuck’s until late June into early July was common much of the time.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    July 4, 2008, there were a few guys skiing "the beach" (the snowfield above the knees) on Jefferson.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Member Greenmountaingoat's Avatar
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    I walked up the closed portion of route 108 in Stowe VT during lunch yesterday. 95% dry pavement for the first mile but some big patches of snow starting at 2000'. Lots of bare ground on the hillsides but some of the protected gullies will be hanging on for a wile. It's also above 60 degrees and raining today so I suspect not too much longer before they can open the road.
    NH 31/48 ADK 26/46 NE 65/115

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    This year is more the norm of what it was like back in the 60’s and 70’s. Yea I know I’m older than dirt and I’m usually a perpetually cranky kind of guy with no real name. But skiing in Tuck’s until late June into early July was common much of the time.
    You got that right Skiguy!

    In the 60s my dear old dad did not consider a ski season a success unless he and the rest of the Sterling Ski Club from CT spent a long Memorial Day weekend in Tucks.

    That's just what he did every Memorial Day. Then there was a REALLY heavy snow year (66?) when went went back for the 4th of July.

    cb
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  13. #13
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    You got that right Skiguy!

    In the 60s my dear old dad did not consider a ski season a success unless he and the rest of the Sterling Ski Club from CT spent a long Memorial Day weekend in Tucks.

    That's just what he did every Memorial Day. Then there was a REALLY heavy snow year (66?) when went went back for the 4th of July.

    cb
    I bet those guys had no reason to be Curmudgeons. I think the year your thinking of was '69.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    1997. Mount Washington got over 90" of snow in May alone. In mid-June, there was still 3-4 feet of snow on places like Twinway. The AMC shelters and campsites had a hard time digging out and getting up and running. People were skiing the Tucks headwall past August 1. I had lunch on the Jefferson snowfield on July 4th and it was still sizable.
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    The spring of 1997 I drove up from Portland to Berlin for a job interview. It was the week before Memorial Day. I came up through Conway in the AM and then after the interview decided to take a drive down RT 113 through Evans Notch. I do not remember any gates or if they existed they were open. It did not look very well used. I got up just short of the top of the notch on the north side and went around a corner to see a 6 foot high snowbank completely blocking the road. It was obvious that no one had driven through there for several months except snowmobiles.

    I accepted the job an moved up to the north county. The road was open by fourth of July.

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