Monday, December 08, 2008
Sheratin - Mountain of Many Moods
Judging by this photo taken yesterday afternoon at around 2:30PM, it is hard to believe that less than 3 hours later the mountain was socked in with clouds, leaving a team of workers setting up a cell phone tower on top stranded.
All day yesterday as I hunted deer down below I listened to the helicopter going back and forth to the top of Sheratin as the workers went about their business of setting up the cell tower. On my way home in the kayak It was flat calm but I noted that the top of Sheratin was already wrapped in fog and that the helicopter was circling and seemingly trying to land. I thought to myself - 'oh well, I guess they'll have to climb down on their own'. And thought nothing more about it. If you look at yesterday's blog post photo of my kayak and the water on my way back you will notice how calm and beautiful it was (@ 3:15 PM) - how could anyone be in real trouble on the top of Sheratin? But look in the distance and you will see the approaching clouds. The storm came in unbelievably quickly, by the time I got to the Anton Larsen Pass on my way home (@ 4:45 PM) it was already raining and totally socked in with fog.
By dawn the winds on top of Sheratin were approaching 100 MPH (sustained 40 MPH at the sheltered Kodiak airport), and it was snowing hard on the top of Sheratin. The barometric pressure dropped almost an inch and a half of mercury in 24 hours (29.8 to 28.55). Right now there is on ongoing rescue operation to get those guys off of the mountain. I am praying for their safety.
What a capricious mountain - in my photos from yesterday she looks so beautiful and serene it's hard to believe she'd already changed her mind. There's a lesson there, and I'm hoping I've learned it. Tonight I'm saying my prayers for those caught on her flank. Patrick