What is a pressure ridge?

Pressure Ridge on Moosehead Lake

Large pressure ridge on Moosehead Lake 1/24/15

What is a pressure ridge?  Well, the dictionary defines pressure ridge as a ridge produced on floating ice by buckling or crushing under lateral pressure of wind or tide or on a congealing flow by the continued movement of its liquid interior.  On Moosehead Lake for instance, a pressure ridge is primarily created by the driving force of currents and winds coming from one predominant direction. 

Since it has been brought to our attention that there are some really big pressure ridges on Moosehead Lake, we want to make folks aware that there is serious threat for injury without the utmost caution being used at all times when riding on the lake.   Our club does not promote riding on the ice other than where marked as a crossing, but since we are all aware that ice riding is going to happen, it’s important that riders have the heads up about the pressure ridges we are aware of, as well as the reminder to use caution.

There are two pressure ridges at Mt. Kineo, one on the front side of Kineo and one on the back side of Mt. Kineo.  The one on the back side of Kineo is so big that the riders that made us aware of it stated they were not able to get around it.  There is also another known pressure ridge near Spencer Bay that is very large.  The Greenville PD posted the following pictures of another big pressure ridge near Deer Island.

Pressure ridge Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake Pressure Ridge 1/24/15

Again, we do need to reiterate that the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile club does not promote ice riding.  Our trails are not on the ice.  Instead, we are trying to make people aware of the risk of pressure ridges when riding on ice.  We have seen comments on social media that the local clubs should mark the pressure ridges.  Please understand that clubs are grooming trails and working on the club and ITS trails for riding.  This post is meant to inform, which will hopefully promote safe riding when on the ice.  Please use caution and share this information with your rider friends.

Please share what you see when you are riding, so that more people can be made aware of hazardous areas – webmaster@mooseheadriders.com.  Thank you to the Greenville Police Department and to the Moosehead Chamber of Commerce for sharing with us what they have seen first hand regarding pressure ridges on Moosehead Lake this season.


Submitted by Jessica Hargreaves 1/27/15

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