1st 14er 1st-2nd wk of Dec

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Scott P
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Re: 1st 14er 1st-2nd wk of Dec

Postby Scott P » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:04 pm

Interesting... Leadville is warmer than Minneapolis in the Winter..

Yes, because of wind drainage and lack of inversions/radiative cooling, Leadville is warmer in winter than many lower elevation cities in Colorado.

Maybell, 4300 feet lower than Leadville is as cold in winter:


So is the (4000 feet lower) Craig downtown or the Airport (Craig SW station is a bit warmer):


Places like Fraser, Gunnison and Taylor Park, even though lower are much colder in winter than Leadville:


Places with wind drainage, i.e. Leadville, which is on a slope, and valley bottoms such as Gunnison represent cold air pooling in the flat valley bottoms. This is reflected in the mountains and alpine areas as well. Places in the basin bottoms are sheltered by wind, but get much colder at night than the top of the peaks and the ridgetops. You will notice that in winter and at night, Gunnison and Taylor Park are even colder than the summit of Pikes Peak. On the other hand the windchill is much colder above timberline which more than offsets the slightly warmer night temeratures.

If you can find a sheltered place on a ridgetop (especially below timberline), they often make the best winter campsites. The sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, the nights are warmer, the views great and the sun hit the ridge in the morning hours before it hits the basin floors. If you are above timberline though, you don't want to camp on the ridges unless the weather is perfect. Either that or you have a bomb proof tent. Even one of my "bombproof" tents blew apart in a storm when I camped on top of a mountain once.
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Re: 1st 14er 1st-2nd wk of Dec

Postby VagabondSurveyor » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:26 pm

Good explanation. Thanks!
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Re: 1st 14er 1st-2nd wk of Dec

Postby LU09 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:19 am

Scott P wrote:Anyway to LU09, if you did want to climb Shrine Mountain and the Wingle Ridge (just below 12K), we will be staying at Chucks Cabin November 30-December 1:


It's $30 per person and would be a good climb to start out with.
Something like that would be good to start with since the trail is usually packed to the cabin and the cabin provides close by shelter when climbing the peaks (which still have great scenery). It would make a good warm up/practice trip for a 14er (or a good one in itself) and a good way to test gear out without getting into something more strenuous/remote/cold.

If you climb a 14er without a practice trip, make sure to go with someone experienced that can check your gear.

Thanks for the invite. Right now my plans wouldn't get me into Denver until Dec 6th but I'll let you know if that changes. Hiking with some people with experiance makes sense though. I'll have to check back with the site closer to game time.
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Re: 1st 14er 1st-2nd wk of Dec

Postby nyker » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:59 pm

LU09, Although as discussed the weather could be quite agreeable in early December, it also could be quite brutal. If you're a seasoned skiier than maybe this is a moot point and your very familiar with cold temps, then ignore this! :-)

If you're not, come late October and November, I'd suggest spending some time up at Mt Washington in New Hampshire and get used to some cold there to test yourself and your gear. You'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't. If you've never done this before, EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) actually sponsors some trips there in Fall/Winter/Spring.

Good Luck!

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