Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weather Or Not To Go

I cannot stress this enough. So much depends upon the weather while up in these mountains, especially above treeline. On a previous post (Dying On Mt. Washington) you get to see the results of accidents, but more often than not bad choices being made. Typically, what happens when someone runs into bad weather up above treeline is that they set a date, circle it on their calendar and decide that's the day they're going to do a big hike. I can understand this course of thinking because most people have fixed schedules and can only hike on certain days due to their jobs, family or other commitments. However, there still needs to be a back up plan.

The first thing we check every morning when hiking is Mt. Washington's Higher Summit Forecast. It's even more important when hiking with a small dog whose breed is not typically made for winter hiking. Now mind you, it's not even winter yet and this is what this morning's forecast calls for:

In the clouds w/ snow developing. Wind chills 5 to 15 below zero.
Highs: around 20°F
Wind: S shifting W 60-80 mph w/ higher gusts

In the clouds w/ a chance of snow showers. Wind chills 25-35 below zero.
Lows: around 0°F
Wind: WNW 60-80 mph w/ higher gusts

In the clouds with a chance of snow showers. Wind chills 15-25 below zero.
Highs: upper single digits°F
Wind: WNW 60-80 mph decreasing 45-60 mph

What this translates to? We're not going above treeline for the next couple of days at least.

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