It's blowing peace and freedom, it's blowing you and me!
May 17, 2016 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Mount Washington Observatory posts video of man being blown away by 109 mph wind [slyt]. "Weather Observers Mike Dorfman and Tom Padham took a brief break this morning to enjoy the windy and wintry conditions on the observation deck."

(Mount Washington, previously on metafilter: one two three four five)
posted by argonauta (37 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think they deserve a promotion from Weather Observer to Weather Experiencer.
posted by zachlipton at 11:54 AM on May 17, 2016 [32 favorites]

The trails at the top are basically random granite boulders, so it's really not where you want to be in bad weather.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

That was so much less horrific than I imagined when this popped up on Facebook. It's not actually a video of a guy getting whisked off a mountain top, much to the chagrin of my nightmare fuel library. It's just a guy basically frolicking. I am so relieved.
posted by bleep at 11:58 AM on May 17, 2016 [14 favorites]

Every time some naive observer says "What a beautiful mountain!" Mt. Washington gets angry.
posted by Kabanos at 12:00 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Psh, Marcel Marceau didn't need props!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:01 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also previouslier on Metafilter: six, seven
posted by Kabanos at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2016

We got snowed on in Killington, VT this weekend, and nearly blown off the highway driving back to OH. I am so glad we never subjected our car to Mount Washington, braggy bumper sticker be damned!
posted by ChuraChura at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2016

When I was a kid I'd run around in fields when the wind picked up with my jacket spread out to catch the wind and try to fly. With this kind of wind I'd probably have succeeded.

Also, this could be an awesome intuitive demonstration of terminal velocity...
posted by phooky at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

So, at the beginning of the video, he's putting himself in unbalanced positions to show how the wind can keep him from falling or making progress against the wind, and then at the end he casually walks off. But what I really want to know is, is it possible for him to actually fall off whatever platform he's on if he just makes like a flying squirrel and jump?
posted by The arrows are too fast at 12:17 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

With a good rope, he could have been Kite Man.
posted by joeyh at 12:34 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

There is a video somewhere of me at waterfall in Iceland, doing basically this. In this video I open my jacket to catch the wind while standing on the Ice sheet created by the waterfall. This is all fun and games until I slip and hit my knee on the ice. HARD. Still had a ton of fun.
posted by Twain Device at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile in Washington, DC, we've basically seen the sun twice this month.
posted by schmod at 12:37 PM on May 17, 2016

Nice title there, argonauta
posted by clockzero at 12:37 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

At that wind speed, every particle of snow and ice blowing onto skin must be like a tiny blade. Those are some tough Weather Experienceneers.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:38 PM on May 17, 2016

And now I'm relapsing into that horribly addictive drug of compilations of people falling on ice. Damn you!
posted by Existential Dread at 12:43 PM on May 17, 2016

Was that snow or rime ice on the mountain?
posted by stannate at 12:47 PM on May 17, 2016

One good 200mph gust, and that guy is outta there...
posted by mikelieman at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kite Man is my favorite superhero, but even I have to admit he has a pretty limited range of usefulness:

Chief of Police: Kite Man! We have a bank robbery in progress, heavily armed robbers, hostage situation. Can you help us?
Kite Man: Is the bank at the top of Mount Washington?
Chief of Police: No, of course not.
Kite Man: Sorry, nothing I can do. Have you talked to Dust Devil? She's usually pretty good at these sorts of things.
Chief of Police: She said there's too much humidity. Apparently frizzy hair is her Kryptonite.
Kite Man: That's why I shave my head. Try having a good hair day on the top of Mount Washington!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

Ah, Mt. Washington. Took an August backpacking trip there some years ago, wound up in freezing zero visibility fog, stumbled along the granite bouldery ridgeline for hours, became nearly hypothermic, and eventually wound up in the summit visitors' center with my head under the hot air hand dryer trying to stop shivering. Balmy summer days in New Hampshire!
posted by SandCounty at 12:56 PM on May 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

Existential Dread: "And now I'm relapsing into that horribly addictive drug of compilations of people falling on ice . Damn you!"

As a Florida resident I found that hilarious. With a soup├žon of nevermore.
posted by Splunge at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

But what I really want to know is, is it possible for him to actually fall off whatever platform he's on if he just makes like a flying squirrel and jump?

It's a pretty big platform surrounded by a fairly flat summit and parking lots so I don't think he's in too much danger or that he'd be able to go very far if he tried to turn his coat into a wingsuit.

It's a crazy mountain. That video was taken yesterday, which is in mid-spring but still very much unpredictable, wintery conditions. Hiking trips up there this time of year still generally require some sort of traction such as crampons or microspikes and winter clothing.

I've climbed up there about seven or eight times, in all four seasons, and have experienced ice in the middle of summer, short-sleeve conditions in February, with everything in between. Once, on another mountain in the range we had to basically dive for cover every time a gust came up or we'd have been blown over. When the gusts died it would return to being nice and warm.

The last time I climbed up there (with another MeFite!) it was early fall and it was an absolutely perfect day. Like, one of the most perfect days I've ever been in the mountains. There was also still a pile of snow on the summit from a couple days earlier, when the day was much less perfect.
posted by bondcliff at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

As someone who's been knocked down and blown around on a flightdeck by a A-6 this fills me with horror.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:27 PM on May 17, 2016

You know those indoor skydiving places? What if you took one of those machines and set it on its side? The floors are soft pads. A big net at one end catches you when you're lifted off your feet. I can imagine all sorts of fun there...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:34 PM on May 17, 2016

What if you took one of those machines and STRAPPED IT TO YOUR BACK???!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:36 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

That looks like so much FUN! Seriously. Minus the cold part. I think he's able to just walk normally at the end because there is something very large to the left off screen that is blocking the wind there, like a wall or building.
posted by jfwlucy at 2:00 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ah, Mount Washington. If I recall correctly, that was where my dad took a short summer hike with a bunch of people... and the weather turned, and the only reason that they didn't have to send out rescue crews was that a handful of people had thought ahead and had extra layers in their pack and were warm enough to herd the staggering, hypothermic mass back to the car park.
posted by tavella at 2:05 PM on May 17, 2016

What if you took one of those machines and STRAPPED IT TO YOUR BACK???!!!

Something like this.
posted by TedW at 2:23 PM on May 17, 2016

about six years ago, a partner and I were in Patagonia and planning a trek through Los Glaciares National Park, and we had stopped in a ranger station to talk about conditions.

Ranger: "there is a storm forecasted but depending on where you go it may not be so bad."

Me: "Rain? Wind?"

Ranger: "Bit of rain. Wind? This says, '80 kph, gusts up to 120kph'."

Me: "What part of that is not so bad?"

Ranger: "Well, show me where you are going. ... Ok, this part, approach is sheltered, this is ok. This part you should not do tomorrow. Is very exposed. You may be do this instead. Good shelter, except this part near Lago Madre y Hija, be careful, etc. etc."

This is like November, which is their early summer. We got the storm forecasted on our second day, and the wind was like being on a highway with invisble tractor trailers wooshing by every ten seconds. Then there was snow and hail with 45 mph winds. It was, as the ranger said, generally fine inside the trees, but there was a point when we got to that they mentioned that we had to just dash forward for five seconds, then hear another invisible truck coming along, and just hunch down, plant our poles, brace, and then wait, then dash forward another five seconds.

There was one point where I mistimed the approach and didn't brace quickly enough. The invisible truck smacked me, lifted me up, and threw me about three feet. That was one of those moments that's just seared into my head about how scary wind can be. It's just hard to think of, say, what would've happened if we didn't talk to the ranger and did our original itinerary, which involved climbing to higher elevation and potentially getting blown off a mountain.
posted by bl1nk at 2:27 PM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

I was out in the mountains of Olympic National Park during the big windstorm last fall, and while I think the sustained winds there were slightly less intense than in this video, there were certainly gusts that could have carried me away, and moments along narrow ridges that were absolutely terrifying.

As a thick Midwestern transplant, raised on Borden milk and its bounty of growth hormones, I'm often annoyed by all the slight Pacific Northwesterners who breeze past me up the mountain trails, seemingly unburdened by things like mass and gravity. But on that day I was glad for my bulk, because I would have had a hell of a time staying earthbound otherwise.

What surprised me the most about traveling in such strong wind was how much sustained concentration it took with each and every step, to mentally account for the fact that my feet weren't landing quite where I expected them to. And while it was a challenging and uncomfortable day, there were also moments of great joy, the most memorable of which was ascending to a ridge with the wind at my back, all 220 pounds of me plus the 50 pound pack on my back gliding up the mountain with barely any effort, almost as if I was on an escalator.
posted by mammoth at 2:30 PM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

> compilations of people falling on ice

Oh my god the guy at 1:20 and his mate cracking up. You couldn't choreograph a better slip.
posted by lucidium at 2:50 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Holy moley. Now, that's weather.
posted by theora55 at 4:02 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, this is like trying to live in Kingston on a windy (all the time) day!
posted by Kitteh at 4:38 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

A college friend convinced us it was a good idea to climb up there at night, all the way to right below the headwall, with just our normal winter gear.

We found floor space in an open fronted shelter structure up there, but the wind was blowing so hard across the front that the Bernoulli effect sucked most of the air out. To breathe you had to put your face down on the floor and get the air that was coming up through the cracks.

One guy decided to go out front to "get some air," and boy did he. He was blown about 20 feet away and had to crawl back to where we could pull him in.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:52 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

It is possible, if one stays at the old Mt. Washington Resort, to swim in an outdoor, heated pool with a spectacular view of the mountain's peak. Trust me, when conditions at the top are this exciting it is by far the best place to be.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:38 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older You'll have an average lifespan. Don't be upset....   |   Koch Brothers, where art thou? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments