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July Temperatures

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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July Temperatures

Postby mts4602 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:42 pm


I will be making my first trip to Colorado 4th of July week this year. What kind of temperatures should I be prepared for in regards to 14s? I've climbed and slept at 8,000 to 10,000 ft in Yosemite during this same week. Temps there were 70s during the day and 40s at night. I realize any day can turn really crappy, but what's typical for this time of year?



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Re: July Temperatures

Postby JTOlson26 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:37 pm

A couple of years ago while doing an overnight on Capital, i slept around 11,500 and the temp probably didn't get down below 35 degrees or so. However, four or five years ago while sleeping at 10,500 near Massive, the morning temp was 27. Be prepared for a wide range.

*Both of the above sited experiences were in July.

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby Skip Perkins » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:20 pm

I have had morning temps at South Colony Lakes of 27 and that afternoon in Salida the thermometer hit 98 (July). Most of my climbing has been in July and August and 90% of the climbs I have done in shorts. Sometimes it will be blustery and cool on the climb and yet still and warm on the summit. It does vary a great deal and you need to have the proper clothing available.
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Re: July Temperatures

Postby RenoBob » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:54 pm

At altitude a 40-50 degree temperature swing during the day would not be uncommon. Prepare for 25 degrees low to 75+degrees high.
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Re: July Temperatures

Postby gonzalj » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:07 pm

Up on the 14ers you can pretty typically expect a low temp in the mid 20's to low 30's and high temp (above 10,000) in the 60's. Most of the summits I reached last year on the nice days were typically in the 50's.

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby Scott P » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:51 pm

The highest recorded temperature on Pikes Peak was 64F. Pikes is probably one of the warmest 14ers as well and anything on a 14er above 60F would be very uncommon and will likely not ever hit 70 for the next few thousand years or so.

On Pikes Peak (for example), the average July high is 47.6F and the average low is 33.7F:

Every day isn't average of course, but on the mountain tops, 10 degrees on either side of average would be what could be expected on the vast majority of days. Don't forget about the windchill either. It can be quite warm and it can snow in summer; often within an hour's period.

On the mountain tops, weather varies greatly in short amounts of time, but day to night temperatures have little swings (especially by Colorado standards). The basins surrounding the peaks have bigger swings, especially at night. Usually the basins are colder at night and warmer in the day. Then again, the windchill is usually much lower on the mountain tops, so they almost always feel colder.
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Re: July Temperatures

Postby BobbyFinn » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:21 pm

I was in a white-out snowstorm on Antero last 4th of July. We went up on a night hike to watch the fireworks. Some folks we saw on the road said it had snowed the last couple of nights before we got there, but it melted off pretty quick.
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Re: July Temperatures

Postby peter303 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:56 am

July is the least likely month to see ice or snow while camping or climbing, but there could still be some.
If you start hiking at daybreak, 40s temps will follow you all the way to summit.
Then it could be quite warm, into the 80s, hiking out of the forest in the afternoon.
I often drink more water hiking out than hiking up in this kind of weather.
Wind, fog, sleet can send wind chills to freezing.
So I always bring light gloves, hat and enough layers for 30s even in the summer.
These will weigh less than the 2-4 liters of water you'll be carrying.

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby Peakjumper » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:48 pm

Tree line is defined by the Average temperature that being it is about 40 degrees above there. That is not to say it cant get warmer or colder. Just be prepared for anything. It does snow in July sometimes up there, but chances are it wont. Wind and afternoon thunderstorms should be the biggest worry. If you get wet and the wind picks up you can get cold very fast. LAYERS!!

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby MtHurd » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:10 am

The temps you gave for Yosemite are about right for Colorado in July on a sunny or partly cloudy day at base camp (lower on the summits). The difference is the monsoon in Colorado. Storms are much more likely, especially in the afternoon, thus you can expect lower temps because of storms. Early July marks the beginning of the monsoon. Plan on starting your climb at first light or even an hour before sunlight with a headlamp to give yourself a better chance of success by missing out on the afternoon storms. Lightning and staying dry will be your biggest concern if you happen to get caught up in a storm. Most storms happen in the afternoon, but storms are possible any part of the day or night. Raingear, a headlamp, warmer clothes than you think you will need just in case, and common sense are essential 14er tools you will need. Longs, Snowmass, or Castle may still have some significant snow on it in early July if you are thinking about one of those. Others may have patches of snow but shouldn't be too bad.

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby mts4602 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:50 pm

Thanks for the info! I think I have a good idea of what to be prepared for.

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Re: July Temperatures

Postby Rcizzle » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:11 pm

Part of it depends on where you are compared to where the Continental Divide is as well as the type of Monsoon season (definitely prevalent in the mountains in July) we are having. It really is dependent on the day. Clear July days can be really brutal in terms of shadeless 70-80 degree hikes, it is always cooler on the peak, but your return from the summit can sap the energy right out of you. The San Juans can get a really warm southwest flow (thanks to the desert) and I have seen a day start out at 22 degrees and skyrocket up to 75.
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