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Windchill


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Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

I’m planning on hiking Mt. Elbert this weekend and the predicted windchill is -30, is this unreasonable weather to prepare for?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

No, go ahead and have fun.

Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

Thanks for the reply

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

I was going to suggest you post over on 14ers.com since MountainProject is more about rock climbing (and maybe ice), but looks like you already did that. Most of the replies you got over there are solid advice. In case you're real and in the interest preventing you from getting hurt or worse: hiking a 14er in winter has very real dangers. Frost nip, frost bite, hypothermia, and death are all possibilities. Route finding will be more difficult in winter, traveling will be much slower, there is danger of avalanche if you venture onto the wrong slope, high wind can be a huge hazard in winter by creating whiteout conditions and freeze exposed skin, and if you're benighted on a 14er in winter your chance of survival is pretty close to zero. For people who are experienced and prepared, Mt. Elbert is fairly low risk. But nobody, NOBODY, can assure you that Mt. Elbert is safe for YOU. Because none of us have any idea what kind of experience you have or how prepared you are, nor can we predict what the condition will be on Mt. Elbert on Feb 25. Safety on the mountain often reply on judgement calls based on the condition at the moment, not something you can predict days out. Generally speaking though, if you're asking questions like "is -30 windchill unreasonable to prepare for", "will the trail be visible", "how much snow can I expect", "do you think I will have any trouble with getting stuck during a storm", then you probably don't have the experience to make a safe winter ascent of Mt. Elbert.

People have died on 14ers. In summer and in winter. Don't be some accident we read about in the news later.

Just Solo · · Colorado Springs · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 80

If you don’t have ski’s and know the route it will be a slog and very, very, slow. Snowshoes can get it done, and the ridge is probably wind blown, but down low in the trees the route can be a little tougher to find. It is a longer route (standard) than it seems.  Also, you will most likely need to hike most, if not all, the road as it may be snow covered. As mentioned, a 14’er in winter is challenging, and while Elbert is “easy” when it is a hike, winter conditions change the whole game. If you are not experienced with high altitude winter conditions it wouldn’t be the best decision to try a 14’er on a whim. Things can get bad really quick. I’ve been up on more than a few in winter in warmer conditions and -30 is just brutal. High winds can literally knock you to the ground. If you go, be very prepared to deal with anything.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476

You need to find out if the summer trail crosses any avalanche slopes. A friend of a friend died attempting Torreys Peak several years ago because the summer trail crossed an avy slope on Kelso Mountain along the first part of the trail. The 14er site is also good for current trial conditions.

Just Solo · · Colorado Springs · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 80
Tim Stich wrote:

You need to find out if the summer trail crosses any avalanche slopes. A friend of a friend died attempting Torreys Peak several years ago because the summer trail crossed an avy slope on Kelso Mountain along the first part of the trail. The 14er site is also good for current trial conditions.

Kelso is notorious for that. Death from above. The standard route is reasonably safe from avy threat, though there are a couple of spots to pay attention to. It has been a really snowy, cold week up there. Gotta have all cylinders firing...

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476
Just Solo wrote:

Kelso is notorious for that. Death from above. The standard route is reasonably safe from avy threat, though there are a couple of spots to pay attention to. It has been a really snowy, cold week up there. Gotta have all cylinders firing...

My mistake, they planned to do Kelso Ridge.

http://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/acc/acc_report.php?accfm=inv&acc_id=555

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

Zach, are you alive?

Yesterday was really really windy across almost the entire state. I skied to just below treeline in the Sangre's for exercise (no summit aspirations whatsoever), it felt like a hurricane. I can't imagine what it would have been like above treeline, anywhere in the state (actually I can, that's why I'm concerned for you).

So post up, tell us you stayed home and baked brownies, or that it was totally easy and I'm an old lady. Seriously, I'm concerned.

Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

The entire road to the trailhead was impassable by car and I turned around after snow shoeing for 6 miles and 4 hours in when I saw a sign that said the trailhead was 3 miles away

Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

I’m gonna make another summit attempt in March when I can hopefully get closer to the trailhead by car or skis

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 156
Just Solo · · Colorado Springs · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 80
Long Ranger wrote:


Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

Thanks for confirming I’m talking about Elbert, I’m planning on using skis to get to the trailhead in March On the assumption that it won’t be passable by car

Just Solo · · Colorado Springs · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 80
Zach G wrote:

Thanks for confirming I’m talking about Elbert, I’m planning on using skis to get to the trailhead in March On the assumption that it won’t be passable by car

Keep in mind, you are more likely to encounter hard winter conditions in March. It is the snowiest month of the year. No offense, but from your posts here and on 14ers.com you sound very inexperienced. It would be wise to get in some time up high when conditions are more favorable, avalanche risk lower, and the consequences not as major. Then take an avy 1 course and learn some solid skills prior to setting out for a big winter adventure.

Zach G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

I don’t plan on having better conditions in March I just plan on being better prepared for the conditions

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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