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Rime Gone Wrong | by Ben Kimball
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Rime Gone Wrong

This is Jill on Mt. Mansfield. Jill rocks. When I was a sophomore in college, I helped her with her senior thesis, which involved measuring rime ice accretion on these bottle brushes (meant to simulate spruce branches). Rime ice is that cool feathery snow that forms only on one side of an object, usually above treeline. Wind blows clouds something fierce up there, and the moisture condenses right on the side of things - on the side the wind is coming from.

 

Anyway, she rigged up these great contraptions and placed them on Mt. Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont. We would climb up several times a week to her four stations on Sunset Ridge and collect the rime ice in baggies, load them into large backpacks, and trudge it back to campus to measure the melted amounts. Usually the ice just flaked off like pie crust. It was sometimes fun, sometimes tiring, sometimes dangerous, and always exciting.

 

On this particular trip, rain had coated the mountain a few days before (even though it was January - New England insists on being fickle as hell) and this was what we found. That is not rime ice. That is just ice. Bummer for Jill. We spent hours chipping it off, at each of the stations, and hiked down in the dark with headlamps.

 

(she did really well on her thesis in the end) (I had just a little crush on Jill)

 

super cool on black!

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Taken on January 23, 1991