Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Wind in RMNP

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:17 pm

Wind in RMNP

Postby KowabungaDude » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:39 pm

Is wind usually a factor on summit hikes? My dad, brother and I (all from Iowa, in good flatland shape) went up Estes Cone this summer. The sky was cloudy, but no precipitation. It was great, the rocks were a blast, but when we got out of the trees near the summit the wind about blew us off the side of the final scramble. Being clad in cotton sweatshirts, basketball shorts, and running flats, we retreated, but we were obviously a little disappointed. I'd browsed this site beforehand and never seen any mention of wind, so we were surprised. Was this an aberration, or am I just clueless?

User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:54 pm
Location: Erie, CO

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby roguejackalope » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:48 pm

Wind is always present above treeline, particularly in exposed areas such as ridge crests.

Definitely not an aberration.
"Hiking is just walking where it's okay to pee" - Demetri Martin

Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:25 pm

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:49 pm

With due respect and meant in the most helpful way, "clueless". But that's not a bad thing, because you're asking. I've been on Estes myself in some healthy wind - it is / can be a very big safety factor. Search this forum for "Keyhole" and "wind" on Longs Peak, for example, to see some discussion about it.

User avatar
Posts: 1157
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:33 pm
Location: Crestone, CO and/or Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby jdorje » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:56 pm

Wind is highly variable, though obviously much stronger at higher elevation and in exposed locations. Check the weather and if it's a windy day try to pick somewhere less exposed to hike or take your wind coats. Certainly there are many days that have relatively calm wind.
-Jason Dorje Short

User avatar
Posts: 718
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Borger, Texas

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby huffy13 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:00 pm

Most of my experiences on summit hikes have involved some light to brisk winds (Handies, Huron, Grays and Torreys, Humboldt). I have had one hike (Shavano) that the wind was absolutely insane, over 60 mph, and was strong enough that I just passed up bagging Tabeguache too. Then I have been on a few that it was eerily calm on the summit (Pikes, Sherman, Lindsey, Elbert). And to top it off, when I did the Decalibron the wind was calm on Democrat and Cameron, it was breezy on Lincoln, probably about 5-10 mph winds and then on Bross it was 40+ mph. But as far as being clueless...don't be so hard on yourself. It is a learning experience on every outing in the mountains, just be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

User avatar
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 7:49 pm
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby mountain_man » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:20 pm

I've had hit and miss experiences with wind in RMNP. When I did Estes Cone it was low level clouds, at about 10,000 feet actually, but no winds. Flattop was very windy but Twin Sisters wasn't at all, nor was Chiquita. I don't think the geography of the park has any special characteristics that would lend to higher winds on average. I haven't done Longs though, and have always noticed fast winds above Glacier Gorge every time I've looked. Likely it's just dependent on the local weather that day.

huffy13 wrote:Most of my experiences on summit hikes have involved some light to brisk winds (Handies, Huron, Grays and Torreys, Humboldt). I have had one hike (Shavano) that the wind was absolutely insane, over 60 mph, and was strong enough that I just passed up bagging Tabeguache too. Then I have been on a few that it was eerily calm on the summit (Pikes, Sherman, Lindsey, Elbert). And to top it off, when I did the Decalibron the wind was calm on Democrat and Cameron, it was breezy on Lincoln, probably about 5-10 mph winds and then on Bross it was 40+ mph..


Every one of my 14er summits, except for Sherman and Decalibron, were perfectly calm. Sherman had insane winds on the ridge, but was calm on the summit...

I'm pretty lucky.
"To live and not to breathe is to die in tragedy." - Billie Joe Armstrong
"What I know I could put into a pack as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it on one shoulder, important and honorable, but so small! While everything else continues, unexplained, and unexplainable." - Mary Oliver

User avatar
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby ChrisRoberts » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:30 pm

I'd say you'll experience wind above treeline every 4 of 5 outings. Its quite rare for the weather to be dead calm (unless in the early mornings) in RMNP. It doesn't get a lot of mention because it's just something expected above treeline.
Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to terrapin
Read all about my schemes and adventuring at NoCo Chris Latest TR: DeCaLibron

Posts: 2024
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:19 pm

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby peter303 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:25 am

Yes. It is often a major issue most of the year.
Mid-summer is calmest in my experience.
It can be worst when there are larger temperature difference between mountains and plains.

User avatar
Posts: 519
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:43 am
Location: US East Coast / Cambodia

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby Aspen Summit » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:42 am

The wind got so bad going up Cameron onto Lincoln that I had to put on weight really fast: rocks in my backpack.

Knight
--------
Follow Your Path, Cross ALL Boundaries, and RIDE THE EARTH!!! Woooo Hooooooo!

User avatar
Posts: 2146
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:47 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Wind in RMNP

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:07 am

I'll take a slightly contrary opinion here. While you can have high winds in summer, it's not usually the norm. We summitted Longs in picture-perfect dead calm weather this summer.
Most of my summer outings have been calm, but then, I usually pick a good weather window in advance.
That's summer.





Image
Longs Peak, July 23, 2011.






Now winter, that's another matter. You ain't seen wind till you've seen 80+ mph gusts and spindrift. Here's Longs, just four months earlier.


Image
Longs Peak, March 2,2011.


That said, the RMNP area in general seems to see more in the way of winds than some other areas. Try to pick a good weather window if you can.
For summer, a light windbreaker can help a great deal. MHW makes one that weighs only 3 oz.
I usually have a hooded gortex top as well, but unless unexpected weather comes in, it's usually overkill.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest