More wind, more cold

I had yet another aborted ski trip in the white mountains.  I had crowberry cabin which is about a 26 mile ski in from either the mile 28 trail head on the Elliot Highway, or roughly the same distance from the trail head on the Steese Highway.  I had been warned that it was going to be pretty cold and windy, but the weather stations in the area said it was around -10f in the hills and windy, and so I decided to give it a try, as I could always just turn around.  Warmer weather was forcast to be arriving on Sunday, so coming back out should be nicer.  I left the trail head at around 10am, well after sunrise.  It was quite windy but fairly warm, around -5f according to my thermometer.  This is fine with me – not too cold even with the wind, and the trail was in great shape. BLM had recently groomed the trail and it still had the corduroy patterns.

It gradually got colder as I got further away from the trail head, and was -15f at Lees. Not too big of a deal, that was still manageable. A couple of miles later, as I looked down a hill where the trail crossed a valley, I noticed some icefog or blowing snow covering the bottom of the valley. Hmm. I skied down the trail and down into the lower section, and wow – the stuff I saw from above was icefog – it was super cold, and very windy. My thermometer was still dropping and reached -35f before I decided to put it away and get moving. This was a little more than I was interested in doing, as there are two more low sections just like this one I would have to cross, so I decided to once again bail and ski back out. Disappointing, yes, but -35f in hard winds would not have been fun.

On the upside, it was a beautiful day out there and in the hills it was quite pleasant.

The sky in particular was quite beautiful.

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