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The 2016-17 Ski Season Thread

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There def must be some wind component to the tree line. You see it even down here...Mt Monadnock tree line is below the summit of 3166 feet. Same elevation in further north NNE can be in the middle of spruce forest. But given the isolation of the peak that high, the wind is relentless up there.

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1 hour ago, ORH_wxman said:

There def must be some wind component to the tree line. You see it even down here...Mt Monadnock tree line is below the summit of 3166 feet. Same elevation in further north NNE can be in the middle of spruce forest. But given the isolation of the peak that high, the wind is relentless up there.

That mountain also suffered a forest fire about 175 years ago. The soil at the summit is to thin for the forest to grow back again.

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1 hour ago, ORH_wxman said:

There def must be some wind component to the tree line. You see it even down here...Mt Monadnock tree line is below the summit of 3166 feet. Same elevation in further north NNE can be in the middle of spruce forest. But given the isolation of the peak that high, the wind is relentless up there.

IMO, soil (meaning: lack of) and summer temps are the most important factors, but wind plays a part, which undoubtedly becomes more important as the first two approach the limits.  I've never climbed Monadnock, but the GE imagery shows the above-trees area to be mainly ledge, with what looks like bog-type plants in the small hollows, where there's probably only organic soil (undoubtedly with low pH.)

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On 5/19/2017 at 3:24 PM, tamarack said:

Found this in a Sugarloaf chat site:

1908: A great forest fire in July burned from Burnt Mtn. across the north side of Sugarloaf and west of the Caribou Pond Road toward Crocker Mountain with a total loss of about 5500 acres. It nearly burned the village of Bigelow and the railroad had a rescue train standing by to remove the residents and their possessions if necessary but the fire came only within one-half mile of Bigelow. This fire provided some of the above treeline skiing on Sugarloaf Mountain which we enjoy today.

The Bangor Daily's centennial article on the fires of 1908 (3rd worst 1900 on, behind 1903 and 1947) noted widespread fires, with the most acres burned in Somerset County.  Sugarloaf summit is in Franklin, but only 6 miles from the county line.  The article had no mention of Sugarloaf, not that anything is proved thereby.  Perhaps the fire enlarged an natural bald, as the climate/site tree line is probably lower than 4,250'. 

I would think the true north east tree line including the adirondacks with the New England mountains is around 4500'. Based on what we have in the adirondacks and the presidentials which other then katidhan are the only peaks above that hight. 

Amazing when you consider out west you can get to 10k with trees 

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On 5/19/2017 at 1:53 PM, tamarack said:

IMO, soil (meaning: lack of) and summer temps are the most important factors, but wind plays a part, which undoubtedly becomes more important as the first two approach the limits.  I've never climbed Monadnock, but the GE imagery shows the above-trees area to be mainly ledge, with what looks like bog-type plants in the small hollows, where there's probably only organic soil (undoubtedly with low pH.)

Wouldn't wind play a role in soil too?  Stripping soil off the rocks if it reaches a really thin point?  I'd think over time (I mean long time) the harsh winds would cause blowing and drifting like short term snowfall.  But if there is vegetation there, it would hold the soil too, so guess it's not that simple ha.

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9 hours ago, LongBeachSurfFreak said:

I would think the true north east tree line including the adirondacks with the New England mountains is around 4500'. Based on what we have in the adirondacks and the presidentials which other then katidhan are the only peaks above that hight. 

Amazing when you consider out west you can get to 10k with trees 

I agree generally.  Mansfield gets barely above treeline at like 4,100ft and above to the 4395 peak.  The ridgeline at 4000ft does have small krumholtz all over it except high wind areas exposed to the prevailing westerlies mostly.

 

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On 5/13/2017 at 7:36 PM, Angus said:

LOL, King Ridge! Thank you for pointing out my mistake. On my way up to Cranmore this year for a NE Ski Museum event, I took rt 153 to avoid the bridge construction over the Saco, it was the first time I'd been by there since mid-late 70's looked exactly as I remembered. My junior high/high school's ski trips were Saturday at Attitash and Sunday at King Ridge, I think we stayed at the Purity Spring resort. I have a friend who now works there and I see a lot of video footage and it looks like it has a lot of fun terrain. That whole area is very pretty too.

My aunt has a place on the backside of what was King Ridge. If you walk to the top of the street you can see the old trails still cut into the trees. (on the far side of the mountain off the King Ridge Triple in the map). http://www.nelsap.org/nh/kingridge.html

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On 5/19/2017 at 8:52 AM, tamarack said:

Sugarloaf fire?  Never heard of this, though there was a lightning-caused blaze on nearby Mt. Abraham last June.  However, a day I haven't learned something is a day I've wasted.  (Not original, though I don't know who to credit.)
I'd always thought the 'Loaf snowfields were naturally above tree line, which (looking at Bigelow, and at Katahdin to the north) appears to be slightly above 4,000'.   Unless inhibited by lack of soil, or removed by catastrophe, trees will grow wherever there's sufficient summer warmth for their seeds to mature.  IMO, "tree line" does not include the krummholz belt, where wind and winter desiccation kills any branches above the snow.  However, Dan's "jet stream" answer is also informative.  Base elevations at CO ski areas tend to be 1,000-3,000' higher than MWN, but those base areas usually approach or pass 90F in a typical summer while MWN's record "warmth" is only 72.  Their average daily max in July is 54, which is only about 7F higher than at Barrow, AK.  (I forget the town's current Inuit name.)

Utqiaġvik

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5 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Wouldn't wind play a role in soil too?  Stripping soil off the rocks if it reaches a really thin point?  I'd think over time (I mean long time) the harsh winds would cause blowing and drifting like short term snowfall.  But if there is vegetation there, it would hold the soil too, so guess it's not that simple ha.

I was thinking this too. The wind helps erode soil. So any natural catastrophic events like fires or floods that help strip a mountain of soil will have an extra hard time growing back if that is in an area of very high winds. 

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14 hours ago, ORH_wxman said:

I was thinking this too. The wind helps erode soil. So any natural catastrophic events like fires or floods that help strip a mountain of soil will have an extra hard time growing back if that is in an area of very high winds. 

The greatest wind effect on vegetation may be in winter, when it blows away most of the snow then desiccates anything sticking above the pack.  Is the krummholz zone considered as above or below tree line?

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