AMONG THE CLOUDS: Work, Wit & Wild Weather
at the Mount Washington Observatory
100 pages, B&W illustrations, Alpine Books, 2008
“...takes the reader on a charming journey into our atmosphere through the narrative of Eric’s adventures in the White Mountains.”
-from the foreword by meteorologist Mish Michaels
Buy the book in paperback, or download to your Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle.
A flying chunk of ice the size of a baseball whacks an unsuspecting mountaineer on the head. A bored raven steals food from foxes and goes tobogganing on the snow. A mountaintop meteorologist commutes home by sled after enduring a week of nonstop hurricane-force winds.
Where is all this happening? The answer is only at the 6288-foot-high Mount Washington Observatory, perched amongst the clouds in New Hampshire's White Mountains. A record-breaking 231-mph gust of wind shrieked across the summit in 1934, earning the mountain its nickname: “Home of the World's Worst Weather.”
A handful of hardy souls live at the meteorological observatory on the summit year-round, enduring savage thunderstorms, ten-foot snowdrifts, blinding fog, and odd questions from visitors ("Can you see New Hampshire from here?”).
Join veteran weather observer Eric Pinder on this whirlwind literary field trip to the top of Mount Washington. Discover what a meteorologist’s typical day is like in the sometimes harsh, sometimes spectacular world above timberline. Come meet Nin the Cat, Marty Engstrom, tobogganing ravens, meandering moose, hapless hikers, and more. Weather puns and weather wisdom abound. A free 15-page preview is available here.
These humorous and informative stories about life on a mountaintop are sure to appeal to hikers and weather aficionados alike. Foreword by meteorologist Mish Michaels.
“...would make a great holiday gift for most anyone. It is not only witty, it is also educational...Ideal for someone who likes to read about unusual jobs.”
-read the full review at Armchair Interviews.
Read a short excerpt from Among the Clouds,
from chapter 6, “Brain Freeze”:
Tourists are affectionately nicknamed “goofers” by the rangers, guides, and meteorologists on the summit. When a tourist has a question, the weather observatory or the state park rangers’ desk are the first places they go. The funniest questions get written down and circulate amid gales of laughter (Force 10) during off-hours.
“Do you ever get moose up here?” one man asks. Yes, sometimes, the ranger on duty answers. The man pauses, then says, “How do you get them up here?”
One foggy day, a hiker staggers up to the summit, wearily drops his pack by the visitor’s center door, and asks, “Is this the bottom?”
A second sightseer wonders, “Is the summit on top?”
“This is my first time up Mount Washington. What do I do now?”
“Is the trail to the bottom downhill?”
“Does the wind ever get so strong that you won’t let people under a certain weight out of the building?”
“Are the hiking trails manmade?”
A narrow, 7.6-mile road up Mount Washington allows sightseers to reach the peak the easy way, without the sweat and effort of climbing up on foot. Each summer, the road brings a few people completely unfamiliar with the concept of hiking.
“How much does it cost to walk down?”
“I’m not a hiker. Am I allowed to talk to you?”
“I see people outside. How do I get there?”