SNow or lack thereof 1_26_10

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peakbagger

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After yesterdays rain event it is probably worth determining whats left for snow on the ground in the whites for folks to make their plans (Hint, everyone has a few days to check out their snowshoes and commence repairs, as crampons are going to be the ticket until we get significant new snow) Additionally any ice bridges are most likely toast so river crossings are going to require some advance planning.

6 to 8 inches left on the ground in the shade at 1400 feet at the Gorham Randolph line :(
 
Great minds... I was just hopping on to see if anyone had any trail beta from today. Hoping that maybe the ones Way Up North were spared the horror of yesterday's rain :(
 
Hoping that maybe the ones Way Up North were spared the horror of yesterday's rain :(

Unfortunately, no, at least not in the Southern Whites... freezing rain overnight Sunday, changed over to hard, wind-driven rain during the day Monday in Waterville Valley (1600 feet). End result was dramatic "consolidation" of the snowpack, and a lot of bare spots in sunny/exposed areas. In the woods and in the shade, 6 to 8", just as Peakbagger said.
 
Over in VT Jay Peak has reported 2" of fresh snow on the ground already since the rain stopped. Not sure how much pack is under that, however.
 
Franconia @ 1200': bare patches in unsheltered areas; 8-10 inches in the shade/woods; the snowshoe track I packed out locally survived fine. It won't take much to revive winter conditions. Biggest problem right now is open streams and rivers that are still disgorging the runoff.
 
The AMC huts backcountry report is a good way to find out too. They are reporting 30 at Zealand, and 34 or so at Hermit Lakes. So a lot of snow was lost, but the good news is that since it is frozen, the snow will turn into a block and will actually last longer into the year. It's snowing in the Whites right now so expect a couple inches in places over solid ice.
 
Appalachia today still had snow on the trails - mostly a thin crust over a few inches of powdery stuff underneath. I tried barebooting but kept crunching through the crust. After putting on snowshoes it was much better - no bare spots to deal with, though there were many blowdowns to navigate. Still good snowshoeing up here (Link, Amphibrach, Air Line, Brookbank, etc).

Stream crossings were high as I expected. Slight flurries today dusted the trails and trees, and the waterfalls were as interesting as they are in the spring runoff, though with much more white stuff! :D



Very overcast and windy, so I didn't go up into the higher elevations today. Barkingcat should have much better weather tomorrow, though! :)
 
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It's snowing in the Whites right now so expect a couple inches in places over solid ice.
And probably preaching to the choir on this site, but if you're up in the Presis, think avy. (The avy report is usually a pretty nice summary of weather over the past 24-48hr in that area.)
 
Stream crossings were high as I expected. Slight flurries today dusted the trails and trees, and the waterfalls were as interesting as they are in the spring runoff, though with much more white stuff!

If anyone else has any Beta on the stream crossings ie. Little river, Gale river,etc. please do share it with us. Thanks. :)
 
I'd be interested in conditions on Mt. Jackson because that's a possibility for the weekend. I've only been up there once via the Webster-Jackson trail and would prefer to ascend that final pitch when it's not too icy. Hoping for some fresh snow by the weekend...
 
Snowing now, bare spots in the open almost covered, more on the way tomorrow. Streams still wide open and running high. Friday's single digit temps should slow down the runoff, but they won't have rebuilt reliable natural bridges by this weekend.
 
Off-Trail Testing: Little Mt. Deception (27-Jan-2010)

I did a very short off-trail jaunt today (27-Jan-2010) to get a rough idea of what the conditions might be for some winter bushwhacking following our recent big rain event.

I parked by the gate at the south end of Cherry Mountain Rd. I then road-walked for about 0.5 mile to a spot between campsites 3 & 4, and then did an off-trail trek eastward for about 1.0 mile to Little Mt. Deception. Without a snow cover, there is a faint path from this location, but in winter conditions, it's basically a mild-mannered bushwhack.

So, in the "for what it's worth" department, below is what I experienced. And, I should caution that it's entirely possible that someone hiking off-trail in a different location at similar elevations would have an experience different from mine. Also, it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway:D), the conditions I experienced today will change as soon as the predicted colder weather arrives.

From the start of the trek (at about 1,800 ft) up to about 2,100 ft, I was breaking through the crust on a fairly regular basis. I was wearing MSR Denali snowshoes (without tails). And, I'm a real lightweight! With a winter pack, I might weigh in at a whopping 160 lbs (or slightly less).
P1030858.JPG

Starting somewhere around 2,100 ft, my "break-throughs" became less frequent. The firmness of the snow gradually increased as I made my way to Mt. Little Deception which tops out at 2,428 ft. Although the snow at the top of Little Deception was moderately firm, I sort of suspect that someone heavier than me might have experienced "break-through".

There were no views today, but on a clear day, there are nice views toward the Presidentials.
P1030855.JPG
LittleDeceptionVu.JPG
 
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Luckily for us, some very nice snow squalls tomorrow should make for good conditions once again in the White's. 4-8 inches looks like a good bet above 1500 feet in the northern Whites. Franconia may do well :) It will be followed by very cold air, around -20 to -30 on Mount Washington Friday morning. So don't fret, help is on the way for non ice lovers.

-Matt
 
Luckily for us, some very nice snow squalls tomorrow should make for good conditions once again in the White's. 4-8 inches looks like a good bet above 1500 feet in the northern Whites. Franconia may do well :) It will be followed by very cold air, around -20 to -30 on Mount Washington Friday morning. So don't fret, help is on the way for non ice lovers.

-Matt

Picked up 3-4" in intense whiteout squalls beween 6-7 p.m. Ground is nicely covered again. Moon is out. Above 2000' probably got a good shot of snow.
 
We obviously have much less snow this year than we have been used to of late. The storm tracks have been to our south. But I also think we've been spoiled by some amazing winters, especially 2007-2008. I wuldn't be surprised if we end up near normal by the end of winter. It is just a shock having so much less snow after two fantastic winters.
 
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