Monday, February 20, 2012

The Monday Muse: Will She or Won't She?

The answer: it depends.

Will Alex finish the winter 4Ks this season?  As of right now, we've four hikes to go.  Two of those hikes, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Monroe/Mt. Washington, require extensive above-treeline travel on steep and icy slopes.  Perfect weather will be required.  How often does the Presidential Range get perfect weather?  Not that often.

For us, perfect weather means wind speeds of no more than 25mph and a wind chill value of no lower than -10.  In the summer, we don't mind winds up to 50mph if there are large boulders to cling to and walk between, but a high wind speed during the winter increases the chance of a hiker slipping on ice and snow.  In no way am I going to risk my kid sliding off the mountain. 

Not only do we need perfect weather for those two hikes, we need those perfect-weather-days to coincide with dates Hugh can take care of Sage.  This will be tricky, as Hugh's work demands are constant and it's difficult for him to rearrange things at the last minute.

Looks like tomorrow might have decent weather...but we won't be able to take advantage of it as Hugh will be out of town.  I don't see another opportunity for the rest of the week. We're going to end up having only 20-22 days with which to find two good weather windows.

I'm worried.

If we don't get those two perfect weather days, then Alex will have to wait until the next winter season to finish this list.  She wants to finish this year -- badly -- but, as always, safety comes first.  Many folks are comfortable hiking Washington in high winds and frigid temperatures, but I'm not one of them.

The other two hikes, the Twins/Galehead and Mt. Flume, don't require great weather.  Both hikes are mostly in the trees and I don't feel there's much risk involved, as long as the temperatures aren't too cold and the trails are easy to follow or break.  Though both of those hikes will be tiring and difficult, I'm confident we'll get them done before March 20.

But Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington/Monroe?

We'll see.


MadRiver said...

Fear not, I put in a request for good weather.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Oh, okay then. Phew.

Pam Wilmot said...

Hi Trish,

Hope you find someone to look after Sage assuming the weather holds for tomorrow. I sent you a pm about it via views.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Pam, many thanks for your kind message! I appreciate your family's generous offer. Unfortunately, we can't hike tomorrow; I sent you a reply via VFTT.

Have a great hike!

Anonymous said...

Will Alex's last winter 4k be announced beforehand to cheer and congratulate you both at the top?


Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Hi Cutler,

Thanks, we hope to announce the finish beforehand. If all goes well, then we'll finish on Mt. Flume sometime before March 20.

However, right now, we're not 100% confident we'll finish this year. We still have three exposed peaks -- Jefferson, Washington, and Monroe -- to ascend. We are watching the forecasts every day and we will do what we can (within the realms of our personal comfort levels) to get these peaks out of the way. However, there's always the possibility that the forecast will remain uncooperative for the next two which case, we'll go ahead and get Flume, then wait and get those three Presidentials next winter season. Alex will be sorely disappointed, but we're totally at the mercy of the weather right now.