Book Review: Ten Years on the Rock Pile

For those of us who grew up in northern New England, it is common knowledge that Mt. Washington’s 6,288-foot summit is home to the worst ground level winds ever recorded on the planet. With maximum recorded wind speeds of 231 miles per hour, it follows that winter storms are the stuff of legends, as were the people who operated the year round meteorological and television post on the mountaintop. With his weekly reports, musings and observations from the peak during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, transmitter supervisor Lee Vincent became a household name. Throughout those ten years, Vincent’s newspaper column beguiled readers and armchair travelers by reporting on the many light hearted pranks pulled on the “goofers” or tourists who ventured up the mountain via cog, car or foot. He spoke lightly of coping with winds of “only” 135 miles per hour, of the many adventures just getting up and down the mountain, observing the “wildlife,” brushes with the Presence, which the Indians called Agiochook and generally provided an entertaining look at life on the rock pile.

This collection of Vincent’s work will bring back fond memories for anyone who grew up with his entertaining columns or the evening weather reports from Mt. Washington. Far from politically correct, Vincent was not afraid to air a few petty grievances, point a finger or pull a leg as the mood struck, all of which makes for great reading and gaining a feel for what life on the top of Mt. Washington was like nearly fifty years ago.

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