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What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby Lemmiwinks » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:04 am

As far as avy training goes, there are plenty of old threads with info/recommendations on the best courses. A lot of people will recommend Friends of Berthoud Pass which offers a free course and is good for beginners. If you have the resources to pay for a class and are looking for something a little more in depth, I did an AIARE Level 1 class through CMS last winter that was outstanding (http://coloradomountainschool.com/plan-your-trip/#).
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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby I Man » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

This is an unpopular opinion, but classes are not the only way to learn. The free lectures are great as are books. "staying alive in avalanche terrain" by Bruce Temper is great. I learned from friends and mentors, mostly in the field and I found this to be very effective, but most of all cheap and fun. I have not taken any mountaineering courses at all and plan to keep it that way. There are plenty of awesome and knowledgeable people around Colorado that are willing to help.

Also, many peaks can be hiked with minimal danger if you know how to pick routes (or ask for suggestions). Other peaks will never be "safe" regardless of how good conditions are. Everyone has their own risk tolerance and only you can make that decision for yourself.

Avalanches by far scare me more than anything else Colorado's mountains have to offer. Take it seriously.

Again though....don't listen to me

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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby rkalsbeek » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:11 pm

And once again, 14ers community comes through for me!

Dave B wrote:It sounds like you got what you were interested in.

I sure did! Thanks for the additional information on Colorado snowpack.

Dave B wrote:Avy I requires a substantial amount of time and money. An avy awareness class through Friends of Berthoud Pass, REI or any other organization is a great place to start as it's free and only a couple hours long.

I've attended the REI information sessions on basic avalanche safety, and I've heard from friends about Friends of Berthoud Pass. I'll have to check it out. I'm also curious what the CMC offers.

Dave B wrote:Then, you can refer to this page on climbing the 14ers in winter (mainted by Scott P)

Uhhh, this is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing. Quandary and Sherman were probably going to be my firsts, but this list is really great.

Lemmiwinks wrote:As far as avy training goes, there are plenty of old threads with info/recommendations on the best courses

Thanks! I'll make sure to search through everything on this site.

I Man wrote:This is an unpopular opinion, but classes are not the only way to learn

I totally agree. I have friends who are experienced in travelling in snow/avalanche prone terrain. They are just much better skiers than I am, and I'm more interested in the climbing up/down than skiing. But I'll make sure to travel with them and learn as much as I can.

I Man wrote:Avalanches by far scare me more than anything else Colorado's mountains have to offer.

I also completely agree with this too! In the summer, I can look at a peak and basically tell if it is in/out of my comfort level or ability. I just need to learn the same with snow. It just seems like from what I've learned so far, there are great conditions, but never perfect enough where you are completely clear of any avalanche risk.

Again - thanks to everyone for the information and advice.
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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:30 pm

Back to your weather question for winter. Not sure if this is what you were looking for, but lots of folks reading this, so hopefully helpful. Here's what I do every day in winter.

1. Check avy roses on the CAIC website.
By checking various zones on a daily basis, you can get a sense of the progress and feel of the snowpack as it builds during the year. This is very important. Also, you can go back in time to an individual day and get the forecast for that time, on the CAIC's site, to answer part of the question about previous forecasts.

2. Check general NOAA weather for peaks of interest.

Often, you can find daytime highs in the teens or even 20s at 14,000 feet throughout winter. Look at the days ahead. Check daily and note how storms are more quantum and discrete during winter. Watch how they can move fore and aft in time during the course of the forecast, so you can get a sense of what is "believable" and what is suspect in the forecast, and likely scenarios for how a forecast may change from the one-week out period till your trip.

3. Check GFS models.
I personally watch for winds at the 500mb heights, even more so than snow. The idea is, it's much easier to do a peak when there is, for example, 3" of soft falling snow during the course of the day, than when there is 80 mph winds and the sky is otherwise clear. Winds, in winter, can be tough on peaks, and dangerous. They redistribute snow, load previously unloaded areas, and pick up and transport mountaineers. The GFS models will also give you a good idea of where the jet is. By watching this, you can get a good idea of where it's going and when things will get "bluebird." BTW, the GFS models are what the NOAA forecasters use to predict the weather.

4. Check the Snotel site for areas of interest.

This will not only give you max and min temps, but more importantly, give you an idea of snowpack depth and accumulation over time at various areas.


Lastly, look at trip reports here, and especially the condition report page. This can be invaluable.


Good luck in your winter meanderings. Be safe, and have fun!

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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby uwe » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:37 pm

[Quote from rkalsbeek] - "I've attended the REI information sessions on basic avalanche safety, and I've heard from friends about Friends of Berthoud Pass. I'll have to check it out. I'm also curious what the CMC offers."



CMC offers avalanche awareness classes this coming November, & AIARE 1 next January and February.
http://www.hikingdenver.net/schools/avalanche-terrain-avoidance-seminar.

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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby rkalsbeek » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:09 am

Dances at Moon - this is exactly what is looking for! Just how I should be monitoring weather during the week.

Thanks for your insight.
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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby gb » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:19 am

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:
1. Check avy roses on the CAIC website.
By checking various zones on a daily basis, you can get a sense of the progress and feel of the snowpack as it builds during the year. This is very important. Also, you can go back in time to an individual day and get the forecast for that time, on the CAIC's site, to answer part of the question about previous forecasts.

2. Check general NOAA weather for peaks of interest.

Often, you can find daytime highs in the teens or even 20s at 14,000 feet throughout winter. Look at the days ahead. Check daily and note how storms are more quantum and discrete during winter. Watch how they can move fore and aft in time during the course of the forecast, so you can get a sense of what is "believable" and what is suspect in the forecast, and likely scenarios for how a forecast may change from the one-week out period till your trip.



Great list but thought I'd add the following. Read the fine print, not just the avy roses. that's the best way to know the particular avalanche problems you should keep an eye out for. Not all "moderates" are the same; moderate with deep slabs might mean stay home while moderate with surface sluffs might mean go have fun.

Same for NOAA- I pay more attention to the forecast discussion tab than anything else. you really get a good feel for what the forecasters really think when you read the discussion every day.

Lastly, I downloaded a free android app for snotel a couple of weeks ago that I've been liking and thought others might be interested: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jasonflaherty.snoteldata

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Re: What kind of weather are you looking for over the week?

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:38 pm

While caic is a great resource you need to take that info with a few pounds of salt. The amount of spatial variability within the Colorado snowpack within a few hundred feet is incredible. To attempt to distill this to a single range is a Herculean effort, so be smart, use your instincts, and learn to read terrain.

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