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The Perfect Storm, White Mountains

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What could be better than everyone clearing out for the first serious storm of the season, bearing down from the Pacific Northwest? Here at 10,600' elevation in the White Mountains, it is 32°F with rapid accumulation, and it is beautiful to behold. With a fast 4G signal for internet access (personal hot spot feature on iPhone), I can blog away while I monitor the snow depth. I never let a good storm go to waste, but blowing wet snow is too hard to shoot in, and yes, I do use a filter in such weather. When it lets up, it should be spectacular.

Compare this weather to yesterday’s idyllic conditions.

I have 3/4 tank of gas, foul weather gear and boots, several days food, a sleeping bag good down to 5°F or so, a mountain bike (just in case), and M+S tires (not as good as real snow tires, but heck, I need to give them a test). My (acquired used but well maintained) vehicle has 10.75" of clearance under the entire underbody (off road package). Barring deep drifts, I’m not much concerned with traction (3 differentials that can be locked). Besides, I wanted to give the General Grabber AT2 tires a field test. Anyway, even if I got snowed-in for a day or two, it’s just too early in the season to worry about anything less than a monster 20 year storm. To play it safe, 6 inches of accumulation is my “head to lower elevation” metric, due to the risk of much deeper drifts.

White-Out Snow at 10,600'
f5.6 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 100; 2015-10-04 13:05:35
Sony A7R II + 25mm

[low-res image for bot]

A little courage and patience with weather brings the priceless reward of a glorious interlude in nature’s sway. Now I think I’ll have a late lunch, eating some of the extra rainbow trout I cooked last night in my dutch oven.

Hole in the Sky
f8 @ 1/1250 sec, ISO 100; 2015-10-04 13:42:16
Sony A7R II + 25mm

[low-res image for bot]

Trout are good cold too. If properly gutted, they can be cooked with their own roe in place, though the quality of the roe ranged from pretty good to not so good. Curiously, one of them had orange flesh and the others white flesh, even though all were rainbows. Perhaps there was some hybridization with Golden Trout in the gene pool. The one with the orange flesh was best of all, and tasted most like Coho salmon.

Trout Served Cold With Roe
f5.6 @ 1/50 sec, ISO 100; 2015-10-04 14:09:55
Sony A7R II + 25mm

[low-res image for bot]

The General Grabber AT2 255/55 R18 M+S Extra Load is a fine offroad tire (noisier on the road than my preferred Pirelli Scorpion A/T, discontinued several years ago). Even so, in July a sharp rock punched a hole right through the center of the tread block in Silver Canyon and a 2nd tire was damaged, and that was with nice resilient nearly new tires*. 10-ply tires would be better, but 10-ply tires offer terrible ride and handling on roads. This time of year, I carry a spare wheel with another AT2.

The General Grabber AT2 has some siping to the tread (good for snow), and while it is not all that great a snow tire like Michelin Alpin, it does pretty well as a general M+S tire, at least if the temperature is not too far below in freezing. My custom duct-tape repair job can be seen on the lower right plastic fitting below the bumper itself—classy look—that silver duct tape matches the paint nicely. Sometimes them thar' rocks just pop up out of nowhere.

* I got my money’s worth from America’s Tire Company: At $30 per tire for a damage warranty, the $30 per tire I paid delivered two replacement tires (about $200 each). The places I go, the tire warranty is a steal, so I always buy the warranty.

General Grabber AT2 255/55 R18 M+S Extra Load
f2.8 @ 1/50 sec, ISO 100; 2015-10-04 14:09:55
Sony A7R II + 25mm

[low-res image for bot]

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