The Clearing Begins!

Rick took me up for my first glimpse of spring clearing. Today couldn’t have been a better day. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky!

This year, we have a Snowcat to plow the snow, rather then the normal bulldozer, which we hope will be more efficient and much faster. The blade on the Snowcat is much wider than the dozer, and the vehicle is designed to move snow on steep surfaces and has better traction. The process begins by pushing snow off the road while leaving enough base/ice to run the Snowcat, backhoe and our trucks with chains without scarring the pavement. We came across Chris in the backhoe at the 1 Mile.

His job is to locate and check all the culverts. Easy, right? Well, not with all the snow that’s been pushed to the edges. The location of every culvert has been mapped out, so Chris uses the map and the backhoe to move snow away from the opening of the culvert. He has to be very very careful not to hit it, break it or bend it, so he focuses on pushing the snow away as much as he can and tries not to dig. After he finds it he climbs down into the snow and checks to see if it is open: clear of ice and snow. If there is day light shining through, he moves onto the next one. If there is no light, it means the culvert is frozen and will requires a bit more work.

As we climbed, Rick couldn’t believe how much snow had been cleared after just one day of work. We reached John in the Snowcat at Mile and a Quarter working the snow.

When pushing the snow off the road, big piles are left along the edge, these piles can’t get too high because shadows will prevent the remaining snow from melting. I got to see him in action. This process can take many weeks with the bad weather on Mt. Washington especially above treeline. The road can be cleared and then the next day, the mountain gets hit with snow and we have to back track and clear it again. Stay tuned for more updates, pictures and videos.

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  • Samantha Jacobs

    Wow!!! That’s one hard job. After visiting Mt. Washington last year, I don’t think I could have the courage to plow the road. Looking down the edge of road into the abyss I wouldn’t plow much after the 3 mile marker.