12-31-09 A unique place for New Year’s Eve…

While not officially a “guiding” assignment, I was honored to be invited to co-lead a special New Year’s Eve trip to the summit of Mt. Washington with the Mount Washington Observatory. As part of their “EduTrips”, a small group of weather enthusiasts would board the MWO snow-tractor for an ascent of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.  Much educational content was provided by Michelle Cruz, the Director of Education for the non-profit organization (and also my fiancee), and a gourmet 9 course dinner was provided by MWO volunteers, supporters, and gourmet chefs, Ed O’Malley and John Bouhs.

The day dawned with some promising weather for the ascent...

In a staging room at the base of the Auto Road we checked equipment and clothing...

About 5 miles and 3000 feet up we exited the Cat to take in the view. I could get use to getting a ride up the mountain in winter!

After arriving at the summit building we hiked a short distance to the actual geological summit for a photo...

After warming ourselves in the summit buildings and having a bite to eat Michelle gave us a tour of the various un-inhabited (in the winter) summit buildings and some of the weather collection devices scattered there about...

We then went up in the observation tower, where I took a short video of the experience! Video posting TBD.

After our outdoor activities we retired to the warmth of the OBS living quarters where Michelle presented a program on the history of the Observatory...

Close to midnight, and after the most amazing 9 course meal I have ever had, the celebration began.

Michelle "serving" the champagne...

The next morning we posed for a goodbye shot...

All in all it was a terrific New Year’s. We watched the ball drop on TV in Times Square, where millions of people where in attendance. On the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast 15 people rang in 2010 in style. I was glad to be one of them.

For more about the Mount Washington Observatory and it’s membership please visit http://www.mountwashingtonobservatory.com.

About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
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