Winter weather has arrived in time for ESAW!

Wet but getting colder and wet is the trend this week. After a significant downpour (3.5″) over the weekend, the summit recorded eight of inches of snow. The snow was accompanied by sustained winds up to 130 mph early and still hurricane force winds MOnday and Tuesday. Social media was blowing up with skiers shredding a foot of snow on the grassy slopes of northern Vermont while the Black Dike on Cannon Cliff saw a prized October ascent. Pinnacle was reported to have been climbed yesterday, Tuesday the 26th. The Presidentials are shining in the sun today as Rocktober seems to be trending towards Snowtober for some (and SaltPumpTober for others)!

The Observatory forecast for the remainder of the week is for below freezing temperatures to hold above the 5,000′ mark as another shot of from tropical system delivers 1-2″ of needed rain to lower elevations. If the freeze line holds or drops lower down the mountain, our steep climbing terrain may get loaded enough from the potential 6-12″ of snow to allow for snow to connect the ice beginning to spread across the terrain. A bed surface may even form here or there.  Speculation aside, now is the time to bring your micro-spikes for journeys on trails above tree-line and to break out your warmer boots and clothes!  Shorter days this time of year often catch the unwary, or poorly prepared, without a headlamp! (mental note to self, recheck pack for headlamp)

At a little over a week away, ticket sales  for the 6th Annual Snow and Avalanche Workshop are ramping up. This all day session represents a meeting of minds from the snow science and avalanche practitioner/educator/patroller/guide world. This year’s event will be heavier on the practitioner side than on the hard core snow science side. Presentations and a panel discussion from the Director of the American Avalanche Association, the Assistant Director of the National Avalanche Center, and an Instructor/Trainer from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education and of course, the past Director of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, Chris Joosen, to recap his career trying to keep folks alive in our little slice of alpine heaven. Tickets are still available and include all presentations, the panel discussion and Q&A opportunities. Frontside Grind coffee, tasty refreshments, local brews from Saco River Brewing and an after party at their brewery nearby featuring Dueling Chefs BBQ food truck, ping-pong, and darts. You’ll find lots of options for lunch with walking distance or a short drive from the new venue at Fryeburg Academy. This theater features plush, cozy upholstered seats and a state of the art A/V system where we’ll be premiering a sweet new 3 minutes of snow and avalanche stoke! Of course, all this stoke on snow, avalanches, skimo and climbing is included in your admission price! Head over to www.esaw.org for more details and buy your electronic ticket. See you there! -Frank

Cloud cap still flowing over the rim, but the HL caretaker reports that most of the snow was blown onto the floor with only some remaining in higher in the gullies.

Cloud cap still flowing over the rim, but the HL caretaker reports that most of the snow was blown onto the floor with only some remaining in higher in the gullies. Trails in the alpine are the usual sheets of ice with stretches of bare rock lurking around waiting to twist your knee.

Still lots of boulders that need to fill in and smooth over vefore much avalanche concern, but you can count on challenging travel through and over and around them. Huntington Ravine trail is probably a full on apline climbing route.

Still lots of boulders and thinly covered rocks that need to fill in and smooth over before avalanche concerns grow, but you can count on challenging travel through, over and around them. Huntington Ravine trail is probably a full on alpine climbing route.

Nice light and clouds on Boott Spur and Hillman's Highway. This route has been increasingly popular as an early season mountaineering objective which can combine low angle ice and snow for a good long and accessible route.

Nice light and clouds on Boott Spur and Hillman’s Highway. This route has been increasingly popular as an early season mountaineering objective which can combine low angle ice and snow for a good long and accessible route.

Lots of flowing water and poorly bonded ice in the Headwall. The Tuckerman Ravine trail likely requires crampons at the bottleneck at the Lip where exposure and steep ice in a narrow bit of trail combine. Microspikes are probably more useful for most of the rest of the way.

Lots of flowing water and poorly bonded ice in the Headwall. The Tuckerman Ravine trail likely requires crampons at the bottleneck at the Lip where exposure and steep ice in a narrow bit of trail combine. Microspikes are probably more useful for most of the rest of the way.