Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weather on Mount Washington

They say the weather on Mt. Washington can be unpredictable...Well it has been a couple of days since we have been able to open the Auto Road to our guests. Ice, snow, blistery cold temperatures and fierce winds have created unsafe conditions for vehicles to travel on the Auto Road at this time. On the other hand these same conditions have created a beautiful contrasting backdrop to the vibrant fall colors that are still trying to shine in these last days of fall. Here's a few shots of what we (the staff) got to experience over these last couple days. Let me tell you, it was nothing less than spectacular...

Check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook Page!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall is here...

...and so are our Pumpkin People! Pumpkin People is an event of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. If you haven't checked this event out, prepare for a unique drive through the Mount Washington Valley! Get your map here and begin your Pumpkin People adventure at TD BankNorth in North Conway or at the Mount Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch (that's us)! And if viewing these unique creations is not enough then don't forget to vote! Ballots are located at each participating business and at the end of October awards will be given to People's Choice, Most Difficult, Overall Winner, etc. Enjoy your Pumpkin People adventure!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Josh the Camel Honored by Senator Shaheen

After his ascent of Mt. Washington on July 8, 2009, Josh the Camel received a special Certificate of Appreciation from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

On Wednesday, July 8, Josh became the first camel to ever ascend Mt. Washington. Josh and his entourage, which included a dog, two horses and two humans, took five and a half hours to reach the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak via the Mt. Washington Auto Road.

Senator Shaheen presented Certificate of Appreciation to Josh, which reads:

The certificate includes the Senator’s signature and the official seal of the United States Senate. Along with this honor from the Senator, he also received a “This Camel Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker.

Josh was not immediately available for comment, but members of his entourage report he has recently only been requesting the highest quality feed and not sharing any of it. Apparently, his success has gone to his hump…er, head.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road is open daily to cars, not camels.

To relive Josh's historic climb, click here for the photo gallery.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Colby and Shea repeat winners at Newton’s Revenge

Repeating the top of the leader sheet from the previous year, 30-year-old Anthony Colby and 46-year-old Marti Shea won Newton’s Revenge, a 7.6-mile bike race to the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest mountain in the northeastern United States.

Colby, a native of Dedham, Mass., who lives and trains in the Durango, CO, bested his winning time from last year by nearly two minutes, finishing in 53 minutes and 50 seconds. He rode through the finish almost four minutes ahead of the second-place finisher, 20-year-old Christopher Hong, from Lutherville, MD. Three-time women’s winner, Marti Shea, from Marblehead, MA, also bested her time from last year, coming in at 1:08:42, ahead of second-place finisher and former Ironman Triathlon World Champion, Karen Smyers, who finished at 1:15:43.

The conditions, which can be a daunting challenge on Mt. Washington, proved to be nearly perfect for the 142 cyclists, with sunny skies and a light breeze at the start. Even as riders scaled the 6,288 Mt. Washington, into the teeth of potentially savage conditions, the weather remained favorable, with only a slight headwind giving riders a minor, but undeniable, nudge.

Whereas in the 2008 Newton’s Revenge Colby had a challenge from rider Philip Gaimon, who went on to win the 2008 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, this year Colby rode the race on his own, out of sight from the rest of the riders. Splitting from the pack at the opening cannon blast, Colby mounted a lead that was 47 seconds within the first 1 ½ miles of the race, and only got larger as he climbed. Even though he was competing largely against himself, Colby was determined to not run out of gas: “I just wanted to keep my own pace, but kept saying, ‘oh baby, this is so steep.’ Last year with Phil I think we went too hard at the bottom, and this year I was able to keep it consistent.”

Hong, in his first appearance at Mt. Washington, had a similar race, pushing forward alone, well behind Colby, yet far ahead of the rest of the pack. Keeping his face calm and his posture steady, Hong kept a consistent pace and rode his own race to the finish, where he was greeted by his mother and a great perspective on the challenge of the race. “This is the most tired I’ve ever been,” Hong said, “I was planning on trying to stand up (at the last push) but I felt like I was going backwards, so I just tired to get my weight down and push on.”

At the 2008 Newton’s Revenge, women’s winner Marti Shea was forced to cross the finish line on foot due to a broken chain suffered yards from the finish, but this year she decided that it worked so well last time she’d run the last, brutal 22% grade again. “I just felt like running at the end,” Shea said. “I figured that I could just get off the bike and felt that I could run even faster.”
Shea battled pneumonia before the 2008 Newton’s Revenge, and after a full training schedule this year, was able to knock nearly six minutes off of her winning time from last year. In fact, Shea is the only women’s winner in the history of Newton’s Revenge.

Second place finisher Karen Smyers of Lincoln, MA, watched Shea sprint out at the start, and according to Smyers, “She was gone.” “I’ve never trained for something like this,” the 48-year-old Smyers went on to say of her inaugural trip to Newton’s Revenge, “I think I was using too easy gears, and could use some more practice.” When asked if she will be competing in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb in August, which is held on the same course, Smyers laughed and said she was signed up, but “Don’t make me think about it now!”

Before the start, a healthy mix of seasoned veterans and nervous newcomers milled around the base of Mt. Washington, trading secrets about gearing, and pedaling their bikes on trainers to fire up their climbing muscles. Riders from as far away as Texas journeyed to the White Mountains for the chance to ride up the tallest mountain in the Northeast, and the sense of excitement and nervous tension created a healthy buzz around the start.

Two age group course records were set today, including Shea’s performance of 1:08:42. Shea bested her own course record for females ages 45-49 of 1:14:22, which she set in 2008. One age bracket higher, in the 50 to 54 age division, Dominique Codere of Montreal, Quebec set a new record of 1:23:42, outpacing the old mark of 1:26:03 set by Carol Lanza in 2000.

Newton’s Revenge is also a race that is part of the Bike Up the Mountain Point Series (BUMPS), and current BUMPS leader Douglas Jansen of Pelham, NH made a strong showing, finishing fifth overall in a time of 1:06:23 and increasing his lead in the series. BUMPS, which includes Newton’s Revenge, the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and five other mountain races throughout the Northeast, began at Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks and concludes in October. For further information, see

This year there was an unofficial competitor in the Newton’s Revenge field, as a large moose wandered onto the course at the three mile mark, but retreated to the woods before Colby rode through. Luckily for the competitors, the moose did not make a return to the course.

Newton’s Revenge, first held in 2006, and canceled in 2007 due to bad weather, is held on the same course as the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, an event that dates back to 1973, and attracts a field of 600 riders. This year’s race scheduled for August 15 is already filled to capacity.

Complete results are available at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This Camel Climbed Mt. Washington

Josh the Camel made it to the summit of Mt. Washington today! He's the first ever camel to accomplish this feat. Way to go Josh!

Josh and his entourage left the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road at 3:00am to begin the 7.6-mile trek to the summit. Accompanying Josh were two horses named Kid and Mariah, an Irish wolfhound named Tadhg and his handlers Chris Butler and Jennifer Bolay. Climbing through fog, mist and rain, the crew made good time up the Mt. Washington Auto Road until the final 100 yards. Unaware that the summit was so close, Kid decided he no longer wanted to climb, and Josh refuses to go anywhere without his best buddy. After much cajoling, Josh and the rest of the group crested the final rise to summit about 45 minutes after the stall completing the climb in just over five and a half hours. (Kid arrived on his own soon after.)

When asked about the climb, Josh said, “Chomp, chomp, chomp.” Apparently, he worked up quite an appetite.

Josh spent most of the day on the summit posing for pictures, but not signing autographs. Along with the honor of being the first camel to reach the top of Mt. Washington, he also received a “This Camel Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker.

Picture Time!

More photos on our Facebook page.

- Ryan

Friday, July 3, 2009

Newton's Revenge on the Horizon

Just a quick update on the newest bike race up Mt. Washington. The defending champions, Anthony Colby and Marti Shea, are back to defend their titles!

Here's the press release:
Anthony Colby of Durango, Colorado, has announced that he will return to the Mt. Washington Auto Road on July 11, with his lowest-geared bicycle, to defend his title as the men’s reigning champion in Newton’s Revenge. Colby, 30, last year won this 7.6-mile bike race to the top of the highest peak in the Northeast in 55 minutes five seconds, heightening his reputation as one of the best hillclimbers among professional cyclists in the United States.

Marti Shea, 46, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, will similarly be defending her title as the women’s champion in Newton’s Revenge. Shea, an independent veteran rider and former distance runner, won Newton’s Revenge last year in one hour 14 minutes 22 seconds.

Colby made his Mt. Washington debut in 2005 in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, the older and better-known of the two bike races that take place on the same grueling course each summer. In that race he finished second, beaten only by Olympic gold medalist and four-time Mt. Washington winner Tyler Hamilton.

Now in this third year with the Colavita/Sutter Home racing team, Colby this month has already placed second in one stage of Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota, fifth in another, and is #6 in USA Cycling’s individual National Racing Calendar (NRC) rankings. Colavita/Sutter Home is the top team in the NRC rankings. Elsewhere, he has won the King of the Mountains title (i.e., best climber) in the 2007 Tour de ‘Toona in Altoona, Pennsylvania, won the 2008 Tour of El Paso and placed in the top three finishers in two stages of the Tour of the Gila.

Marti Shea is in fact the only woman ever to win Newton’s Revenge, having also won it in its inaugural year, 2006. In 2007 dangerous weather on the summit forced that race’s cancellation. The 2006 men’s winner was Paul Carpissassi, who finished remarkably in exactly one hour to the nearest tenth of a second.

Registration --

Newton’s Revenge will accept entrants until 5 p.m. on July 9. The entry fee for Newton’s is $300, or $450 for tandems. As the “other” race up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Newton’s Revenge opens for registration only after the Hillclimb has filled to its capacity of 600 entrants. This year the Hillclimb opened for registration on February 1 and filled to capacity two days later. The registration site for Newton’s Revenge is The Hillclimb will take place on August 15.

Background --

Professional cyclists have repeatedly called Mt. Washington a tougher hill to climb than the most difficult ascent in the Tour de France. The Mt. Washington Auto Road rises at an average grade of 12 percent to the summit of Mt. Washington, at 6288 feet the highest point in the northeastern United States. Pedaling in lower gears than anyone normally uses anywhere else, ambitious riders climb 4650 feet in altitude, usually while buffeted by Mt. Washington’s notorious high winds, clouds, fog and other elements.

Race day details –

Sponsored by Polartec, with additional sponsorship from Coca Cola, Michelin, Hammer Nutrition, BikeReg, VDO and the local Red Jersey Cyclery, Newton’s Revenge starts on July 11 at 8:40 a.m. when the first of four waves of riders sprint from the starting line through 400 meters of downhill and then flat road, then begin the grueling ascent. Three successive waves of riders follow at five-minute intervals.

The record for the fastest time on a bicycle up the Auto Road is 49 minutes 24 seconds, set by Tom Danielson in the 2002 Hillclimb. The women’s course record is 54:09, set by Genevieve Jeanson the same year.

On race day, the Auto Road is open beforehand just for support vehicles to drive to the summit with dry clothing and food for the cyclists. In case of prohibitively bad weather on the 11th, the race will be postponed to July 12. Should the entire weekend be canceled by weather, entrants will be refunded half of the $300 entry fee.

Bike Up Mountains Points Series --

Newton’s Revenge and the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb are two of nine events in the Bike Up the Mountain Point Series, familiarly known as BUMPS. The series begins with a race up Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks on June 20 and concludes on October 10, with the two races up Mt. Washington and five other hillclimbs at various locations throughout the summer. At the conclusion, the King and Queen of the Mountains prizes are awarded to the man and woman accumulating the greatest number of points in five of the nine races. In view of the “hors categorie” (beyond category) steepness of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, points earned in Newton’s Revenge and the Hillclimb are doubled. For further information see

Benefit for Observatory --

The Mount Washington Observatory, which receives significant contributions via the proceeds of Newton’s Revenge, is a private, non-profit scientific and educational institution. Its mission is to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate, by maintaining its mountaintop weather station, conducting research and educational programs and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Washington region. Newton’s Revenge will also benefit other local charities.

For more information visit

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The return of the Glen House

Perhaps you've seen or heard a news story or two about the return of the Glen House hotel to be built in Pinkham Notch. Needless to say, we're very excited about our latest project scheduled to open in 2011.

Click here to read the press release.

Hope to see you over the holiday weekend.

- Ryan

Mini's On Top 2009

Well after many days of unending rain, it seemed inevitable that rain would too hinder the gorgeous sunset that hundreds of Mini Cooper owners travel to see each year at the annual Mini's On Top event. If you haven't caught wind of this event yet, go check out their site, even if you aren't a Mini owner, its an amazing site to see all of them parading around together! They started off with their annual BBQ and raffle with unbelievable prizes, like a 2-yr lease to a new Mini! The weather was overcast for much of that time but the sun did come out just as the Mini's were lining up to commence up Mt. Washington . What a beautiful send-off it was, rainbow and all...once they arrived "on top," Mini owner's enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous sunset with a few highlighting clouds. Spectacular!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ride to the Sky Video

Here's the full video from Ride to the Sky.

The weather wasn't picture perfect, but plenty of bikers experienced Mt. Washington. Still a few days left in Bike Week, and we're open daily.

- Ryan

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ride to the Sky 2009

Laconia Bike Week is underway, and yesterday was the first motorcycle only day at the Auto Road. It wasn't a crystal clear, blue sky day by any means, but the hearty souls that chose to take the ride experienced true Mt. Washington weather. It's a ride unlike any other, and these riders really felt that.

Here's some video from Monday:

Ride to the Sky again on Thursday with the second motorcycle only day. Click here for details. Obviously, bikes are also welcome at the Auto Road throughout the remainder of Bike Week and the rest of the season.

See you on the Rockpile!

- Ryan

Oh, I almost forgot...don't forget to get your photo taken by The Phantom is up on the mountain every day during Bike Week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring time at the Glen

It's not all about the view from the top. This spring, as in past years we're being entertained by a family of bears that has been frequenting the side of the Auto Road near the bottom. They don't seem to be particularly concerned about traffic much to the delight of the fortunate tourists who have happened by when Mom and the twins are foraging near the roadside.

And when the little one gets concerned, he climbs up on Mom for a better look -

Photos taken by Nat Putnam - thanks for the great shots, Nat!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Open to the Summit this Weekend!

After a week of operations to the 4.5-mile point, the Mt. Washington Auto Road will open all the way to the summit on Saturday, May 16 at 9:00am. Guests can drive their own vehicles, and guided tours will be available.

In most seasons, the goal is to reach the summit by Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to the lack of consistent snow in March, the Road Crew was able to get the entire length of the Road cleared a week earlier than hoped. Guests may still find winter-like conditions near the summit, including snow and rime ice.

First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is America’s oldest manmade attraction. At nearly 8 miles long, it stretches to the summit of Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., weather permitting.

Click here for the operating schedule.
Click here for rates.

Early season schedule:
May 16: Open to the summit, daily. 9:00am - 4:00pm, weather permitting, subject to change; Guided Tours begin.
Glen View Cafe and Gift Shop also open on May 16
May 23: Red Barn Museum opens for the season

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mt. Washington Auto Road Set to Open for 148th Season

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will open for its 148th season on Saturday, May 9 at 9:00am for guests to drive their own vehicles. The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be open to 4.5 miles to a turnaround point above treeline, which affords stunning vistas of the surrounding peaks and offers a true taste of the Mt. Washington experience.

Each spring, the Road Crew works to remove the ice and snow from the surface of the Mt. Washington Auto Road in order to make it passable for vehicles. Above the 4.5-mile point, the Road Crew is still working to remove the remaining snow and ice from the road surface and make final repairs. As recently as fifty years ago, it was considered a success if the Mt. Washington Auto Road was open to the summit by Independence Day, but weather permitting, the Mt. Washington Auto Road hopes to open to the summit on May 16. Guided tours will also be offered at that time.

Early season pricing is in effect through May 15: $23 per car.

First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is America’s oldest manmade attraction. At nearly 8 miles long, it stretches to the summit of Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting.

Click here for the operating schedule.
Click here for rates.

Early season schedule:
May 9 - May 15: Open to 4.5 miles, daily. 9:00am - 4:00pm, weather permitting
May 16: Open to the summit, daily. 9:00am - 4:00pm, weather permitting, subject to change
Glen View Cafe and Gift Shop also open on May 16
May 23: Red Barn Museum opens for the season

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Trip to the Summit

First off, I don't want anyone to get too excited by mentioning a trip to the summit. We're still a couple weeks away from being able to open to the public to the summit. I was in a 4WD stage with chains, and it was...well...interesting.

The last trip I'd made up the Road was on Saturday, and I wanted to get pictures of the Crew's progress on Cragway. As I reached the 4 Mile Post, it was immediately clear that a great deal of melting had occurred since then. The surrounding peaks had lost a great deal of snow and much less ice and snow was encroaching upon the sides of the Road. However, the temperatures were much lower than they had been the prior couple days. Dramatically lower. In fact, the summit temperature was in the mid twenties at noon, after climbing from a low of 13 overnight. Due to this temperature change, the Road Crew had decided that the best course of action was to wait for temperatures to rise before taking a look at the culverts. With the sub-freezing temperatures, they were certain that they would need to free up some culverts they had already opened, but it wasn't worth trying to open them up with daytime temperatures at the base hovering in the forties.

With the Road Crew working on projects at the base, I knew I wouldn't be getting any photos of them in action. But, I knew that they had broken through all the snow drifts not only on Cragway but also on the 6 Mile and 7 Mile. I was anxious to get some photos and report on the road conditions. All the snow is gone from the road surface on the 5 Mile. But, that section is very muddy and the water bars are deep. Therefore, it's not exactly a speedy trip, but the Road is holding up very well. Once around Cragway turn, I was amazed at how fast it has melted. Granted, it's still quite tall. The Crew worked straight through the weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if they noticed a difference in the size of the drift every hour. So, unfortunately, no epic pictures of Cragway this year, but it's still fairly impressive. And, just like the 5 Mile, Cragway is quite muddy. After stopping for the requisite photos, I kept heading up through the 6 Mile. The newer pavement along the 6 Mile was welcome as driving through muddy water bars really slows things down. Of course, a drive on the Road at this time of year is never easy. With temperatures hovering at freezing, the ice on the 6 and 7 Mile was thick and deep in pockets. Traveling upbound with chains was a bit testing, but I really wanted to get images of the entire length of the Road. Plus, there aren't a lot of place to turn around. By contrast, I reached the summit, and it was completely bare. It's obvious that the winds just don't like snow to stay on the summit. I snapped a photo of the top and headed down.

The trip down was a different story. Driving down over the glacial ice was difficult. Not only is the Road narrowed by the ice on the sides, but with the cold temperatures the ice on the Road was solid. Really solid. I took it very slow, and thankfully, I don't have a hair-raising adventure story to recount. Plus, I don't think I could have lived with the embarrassment of having to call the Road Crew to come rescue me. Needless to say, it's clear that we still have a long way to go to get open to the summit.

Here are all the photos from Wednesday.

Speaking of opening, please stay tuned right here to our blog for all the updates. Per usual, we're going to try to get open to above treeline as soon as we can. Still a lot of work to do below treeline to remove sand and debris from the Road. It's a great trip to that point, and we hope you can join us soon.

- Ryan

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bulldozer is Saved!

Here's some video of the Crew working to extricate the bulldozer on Friday.

With the work of the backhoe, the bulldozer got back to just level enough for the operator to drive it out.

Over the weekend, the free bulldozer was able to clear all the way through Cragway. The Road Crew is now working on the 6 Mile.

More pics coming soon.

- Ryan

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Note on Visibility

Yesterday was an epic day on Mt. Washington. In the words of our Road Foreman, John, "It was not a place people should be." The combination of sub-freezing temperatures, high winds and blowing snow made the conditions extremely difficult. It was the first day this spring we'd had any kind of setback. In fact, on Wednesday, the Crew had actually moved the backhoe and the ice drill above Cragway. The bulldozer had cleared enough of the Cragway Drift for the 4WD pick up with chains to bring the ice drill up near the 6-mile post. All the culverts were open, and things were looking good. But, the mountain decided things were moving too smoothly. So, the weather came in, and the visibility went to zero. John described it best: "Take pieces of white paper. Cover your entire windshield with them, two or three sheets thick. Now get in and drive." Needless to say, it was really tough to see anything.

Now, let's talk about driving a bulldozer on the Mt. Washington Auto Road. In short: it's tough. Think of Cragway Drift as a layer cake—a multi-layered cake. The bulldozer needs to scrape away each layer, one layer at a time until it eventually reaches the road surface. Sounds simple enough. But, the layer cake is tilted. Get to close to the edge, and you slide away. Did I mention that the Cragway Drift is just below 5000 feet? So, take your tilted layer cake and try to peel off a layer with you eyes closed. This was the situation on Thursday. With no visibility, you can't really see the edge of the layer. That's when this happens:

Here's the good news: No one was hurt. No fluids leaked out of the bulldozer. Today was beautiful, and the Crew was able to dig it out.

So, between the bulldozer mishap and the new snow that fell, progressed slowed dramatically today. So much snow fell yesterday afternoon that the backhoe was completely buried this morning, and now that the bulldozer is free, it is basically starting all over again on Cragway. New snow was on the road all the way down to below 4000 feet. The mountain once again reminded us that it's still winter up high.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Bicknell's Thrush Tours

The Mt. Washington Auto Road announces five guided Bicknell’s Thrush Tours in 2009. These special opportunities will be offered in June and will provide birders the chance to spot the rare Bicknell’s Thrush.

More often heard than seen, Bicknell’s Thrush is an extremely rare species with very limited breeding grounds. In fact, in the northeastern United States, Bicknell’s Thrush has been found in only two primarily locations: Mt. Katahdin in Maine and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The unique yet harsh climate is just what the birds prefer due to the combination of low vegetation and abundant moisture.

Because of the uncommon access provided by the Mt. Washington Auto Road, the new Bicknell’s Thrush Tours will give guests a chance to glimpse these elusive birds. And, they are quite elusive. Even though they are often heard along the Auto Road, they are rarely seen. However, the Bicknell’s Thrush Tours will leave early from the base of Mt. Washington, even before the Auto Road opens to the general public, in order to limit the amount of traffic on the Auto Road and to increase the chances of a sighting.

Bicknell’s Thrush Tour Details
Dates: June 6, 10, 13, 14 and 17
Time: Tours depart from the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road at 5:30am. Tours last approximately 2 hours.
Cost: $45
Advanced reservations required.

For complete details or to book a tour, contact Mary Power at 603.466.3988 or email.

Photo courtesy Vermont Center for EcoStudies.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Onto Cragway!

Just a quick update from the day's progress: the bulldozer was able to get up onto Cragway Drift and start clearing out the snow. Not sure just yet how deep it is's deep. Early estimates put the drift at 18-20 feet. So, even with a bulldozer, it's going to take some time.

On the culvert front, all the culverts up to the 5 Mile Post have been drilled and cleared.

Great progress all around.


Rain in the forecast for the next two days. Perhaps some snow, too. So, we have to hope that culverts don't refreeze. Never fun to back track, but that's often how it goes on Mt. Washington. We'll be looking to the skies and make decisions as we go.

- Ryan

Friday, April 17, 2009

Culvert Clearing Video, Anyone?

Why, yes. I did put together a video after yesterday's culvert opening excursion.

Did I mention there are 115 culverts on the Auto Road?

- Ryan

Clearing Culverts

Here are photos of the crew clearing out culverts along the 5 Mile.

Each spring the Road Crew needs to clear the ice from the 115 culverts along the entire length of the Auto Road. Of course, in order to clear them, they first have to find them. Luckily, the crew has a "playbook" with a page for each culvert, and we mark each with a 20-30 foot pole in the fall. Not to mention, the Road Crew has an amazing knowledge of the Auto Road done to every rock and pebble. It's impressive to hear them talk about locating these culverts.

Clearing the culverts is critical because the water needs to run under the road surface and not over it. Erosion is the battle we fight each spring. And, so far this spring, the battle is going well. We'll just keep on moving up.

- Ryan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Road Clearing Video

Here's the first video of the spring highlighting the Road Crew's work.

More pics and video from the culvert clearing extravaganza on the way tomorrow.

- Ryan

Working on the 5 Mile

The Road Crew has lucked out with great weather the past couple days and even more in the forecast. They've made good progress up the mountain and are working on the 5 Mile. To be more specific, all the culverts are cleared to the three above the S Turn. You know, that spot right there. Seriously though, that means they've reached just above 4.5 miles on the Road. Good stuff.

The Road is 95% snow-free below 2 Mile Park, but then the snow creeps in from the side all the way to the S Turn. At Twin Bridges, the ice is close to 12" thick. So, the deep snow is cleared, but plenty of clearing to go. The crew is still running chains the whole way. John is running the grader on the Road today with hope of opening up some holes and clearing the ice away. Continued sunshine would be a big help, too.

The bulldozer is still working on the 5 Mile. There is A LOT of snow to still clear. And, that means A LOT of culverts still left to find. But, work is steady and progress is good.

Here are photos from today.

Video update and culvert update to follow.
Stay tuned.

- Ryan

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ice and Snow

It feels a little odd to be writing about ice and snow depths in April, but that's the life of a Road Crew. The good news is that below halfway, we've found less snow than we usually do. The deepest depth was about 18", which was found around the Twin Bridges. But, we have found plenty of ice. In some places, the ice has been as thick as 15". Not ideal for clearing the Road, but it means that the road surface has been well protected throughout the winter.

At this point, the bulldozer has cleared all the way to the winter cutoff—about 4.5 miles. Now, cleared by the bulldozer doesn't mean that the road surface is bare. Quite the contrary. The bulldozer clears the majority of the snow, but it's not like plowing your driveway. We're still using chains to travel on the Road.

On the culvert front, all the culverts are open to halfway, and the water is flowing just were it should be.

Progress is steady and good. In the words of John, our Road Foreman, "Life is good."

- Ryan

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Moving on Up

Two days of work in the books, and things are looking up. Literally.

The bulldozer has reached the 3 mile post and has cleared the deep snow to that point. It's not exactly plowed like your driveway, but the big stuff is out of the way. Thus far, the Road Crew has found less than average snow cover on the Road, which bodes well for our progress. Of course, snow was falling as the crew headed down yesterday afternoon. Perhaps, Mt. Washington has a sense of humor.

The battle with the frozen culverts has also begun. The crew has been able to clear a number already, but there are 115 of them, so it takes some time to say the least.

I'll be posting more updates as the Road Crew makes their way up the mountain. I'm planning on headed up next week to get some pictures and video.

- Ryan

Monday, April 6, 2009

And So It Begins!

The true beginning of spring on Mt. Washington is marked by the day that crews begin to clear the ice and snow from the Mt. Washington Auto Road. And, that day is tomorrow. The bulldozer arrived this morning, and the crew is getting the equipment ready today.

Unlike last year, there is very little snow on the Road below halfway, so the crew is optimistic that work will progress quickly. Stay tuned to our blog to keep track of the status of the Road as we look towards a May opening. Of course, the mountain always throws a few curve balls at us, so just like snowflakes, no two springs are alike. Needless to say, it's never boring.

If you'd like to see more about the Road opening process, click here. This page documents the process from 2008.

I'll have another update soon, as work gets underway.

- Ryan