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Weather Reports

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Weather Reports

Postby HikeWI » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:59 am

I've been watching the weather conditions for some of the peaks we want to summit. We arrived in Lakewood Friday around 330pm. Saturday was a get acclimated day. Today rain. Reading the forecasts.

When it says Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy. What kind of views should we expect on the summit being mostly cloudy?

Our plan is to start early and descend by noonish. Plan is Monday summit Grays/Torreys, Monday afternoon drive down to Leadville and Tue do Elbert and Wed do Massive. Thursday we would hike La Plata.

I guess the main question is about the weather. Being an out of towner, are the forecasted weather conditions Ok to hike these peaks?

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby awilbur77 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:10 am

It all depends on the level of risk & suffering one is willing to assume. I say yes with the caveat of: be willing to turn around if t-storms roll in earlier than you expect. Start very early, don't get summit fever, and make good decisions

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:19 am

If the forecast calls for 50% or greater chance of rain and/or thunderstorms, I'd suggest really doing your homework by reading the hourly graphs and other forecast info on those weather pages AND getting back to tree line by noon, not just off the summit. The forecasts are not exact and you could see thunderstorms much earlier above 13,000'. As you mentioned, today it's raining in the morning... I'm near the Tenmile range right now (10am) and there's a lot of moisture and I've already heard some thunder.

Use the "off the summit by noon" guideline carefully when we're in a monsoon pattern. As far as the views, that's secondary. Focus on your safety and whether or not it's even a good idea to head out.
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Re: Weather Reports

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:29 am

Monday's forecast for Grays looks pretty dismal - almost certain rain overnight, a short window of 24% probability from 7 to 11 am, then back to almost certain rain. You might want to treat this as a nice hike up the valley with little chance of a summit - it's still a pretty place to hike, but you're going to get rained on almost for sure. All this is from the hourly graphs, which as Bill says are very useful on days like this.

Or you could just give up your summit ambitions completely for Monday and hike to a lake or waterfall. We hiked in Herman Gulch on Thursday on a similarly gloomy day, and had a nice time looking at the flowers.
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Re: Weather Reports

Postby PaliKona » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:43 am

Lake or river/waterfall hikes are awesome in the rain...South Willow Falls in Silverthorne is awesome, as is McColough Gulch, Mohawk Lakes and Mayflower Gulch, all in Summit County.

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby Dex » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:52 am

BillMiddlebrook wrote:If the forecast calls for 50% or greater chance of rain and/or thunderstorms, I'd suggest really doing your homework by reading the hourly graphs and other forecast info on those weather pages AND getting back to tree line by noon, not just off the summit. The forecasts are not exact and you could see thunderstorms much earlier above 13,000'. As you mentioned, today it's raining in the morning... I'm near the Tenmile range right now (10am) and there's a lot of moisture and I've already heard some thunder.

Use the "off the summit by noon" guideline carefully when we're in a monsoon pattern. As far as the views, that's secondary. Focus on your safety and whether or not it's even a good idea to head out.



I asked a similar question and many of the responses were that if greater then 30% chance of rain on the hourly charts they would not start the hike.

So, I now use 30% as my threshold and look at the hourly info for the trend - increase/decrease in %
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Re: Weather Reports

Postby sunny1 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:56 am

You're getting good advice here.

The only way I'd tackle Grays and Torreys tomorrow would be with a very early start - 0300, or perhaps earlier, depending on your pace.
Keep in mind with these 2 summits, you'll be above treeline for a very long time. Not a good place to be with thunderstorms.
It might be a day where you get into the valley (which is beautiful, and has it's own merits) and turn around there - you'd need to be flexible - not too summit focused - depending on what you see in the sky.

Things dry out Tues, Weds, Thurs - and look much better for your plans Tues, Weds and Thurs.

Remember, safety first!

EDIT: just received a reprimand by PM of an important omission on my part: "AND HAVE FUN!" :mrgreen:
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Re: Weather Reports

Postby Pops921 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:59 am

This time of year, start time and plan depends on my mood...

Summit by noon...means I really don't care if I summit (done this peak before) and I don't feel like getting up
Back to the treeline by noon....means I would like to summit, don't mind a little rain in the trees on the descent
Back to the car by noon....I really want to summit, don't want to get wet (usually happens after storms chased me off the mountain the day before).

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:04 pm

sunny1 wrote:The only way I'd tackle Grays and Torreys tomorrow would be with a very early start - 0300, or perhaps earlier, depending on your pace.

If you start at 0300 tomorrow, you'll be hiking in the rain in the dark for two hours. Not my idea of fun. :wft:
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Re: Weather Reports

Postby rijaca » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:13 pm

Jim Davies wrote:
sunny1 wrote:The only way I'd tackle Grays and Torreys tomorrow would be with a very early start - 0300, or perhaps earlier, depending on your pace.

If you start at 0300 tomorrow, you'll be hiking in the rain in the dark for two hours. Not my idea of fun. :wft:


In the Winfield area this morning, if you were hiking at 0300 you were hiking in the rain. If you were hiking at 0700, you were hiking in the rain.
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Spent a little time on the hill"

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby sunny1 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:27 pm

Jim Davies wrote:
sunny1 wrote:The only way I'd tackle Grays and Torreys tomorrow would be with a very early start - 0300, or perhaps earlier, depending on your pace.


If you start at 0300 tomorrow, you'll be hiking in the rain in the dark for two hours. Not my idea of fun. :wft:


Oops - my bad. :lol:
I had focused on the thunder graph and didn't give full attention to the precipitation potential %.
Agree - looks wet!
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Weather Reports

Postby HikeWI » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:54 pm

Thanks to all the good advice. Number one priority is safety. Hikes and Summits are fine, but our goal would be to do it safely. Lakes, Valley and waterfall hikes sound good. We're going to Idaho Springs today. Any suggestions on rainy day hikes. How's Hell's Hole Trail?

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