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Summit Camping and Lightning!

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Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby creidinger » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:47 pm

I don't know how many of you have been following Jon Kedrowski's High Bivy's Project to camp on all the 14er this season, but he made it through 53 of the 14ers and monsoon season without lightning at night, until a freak September lightning storm on Harvard last night about 9:40 p.m. He's lucky to be alive.
http://www.jonkeverest.org/blog/2011/09/22/54-Harvard-14420-Lightning-Zapped-Sept-21-22.aspx

I must say I have the utmost respect for anyone who braves the risk of lightning to camp on 14ers. I camped on the summit of Elbert in the middle of winter during perfect weather a few years ago. Seems I'd rather brave winter than lightning. Best wishes to Jon for good weather for his remaining 4 peaks!
"GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." Habakkuk 3:19

Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:58 pm

Holy Cow thats nuts! Glad he's alright!

Couple weeks ago I tried staying the night on top of Mt. Autoban. Around 9:30pm I woke up to these really bright flashes and looked around only to find that I was engulfed in a cloud. These bright flashes persisted but there was no noise. I quickly took out the rod in my bivy and threw it off to the side and decided that it was time to get off the summit. Good thing I knew the way down and I descended onto the side of the mountain where I spent the rest of the night (I actually carried my head lamp because I wanted it as low to the ground as possible). Once I got out of the cloud I could see that the skies over Denver were being lit up by what appeared to be lightning that was only in the clouds (first time I had ever seen something like that). My experience was nothing like this dude's but I think I made the right decision.

Good luck to this guy on his last 4 and I hope he doesn't have anymore close ones.
Everyday is a G r A t E f U L Day here in the CO

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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby RoanMtnMan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:30 pm

Yeah, if you are going to camp on all of the 14ers, then winter is the time for that. You can buy stuff that protects from the cold, but not from the lightning. Climbing 5.6 without a rope in snow, no worries. A buzzing ice axe, terrifying. Personal opinion of course.
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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby CO Native » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:33 pm

Hmm, sleeping on the summit of a mountain not a good idea. Weird. #-o
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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby dubsho3000 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:02 pm

Thought process: I nearly got struck by lightning in a "freak" storm. God must have been watching out for me...


I wonder if he considered the possibility that god tried to kill him, and failed. Maybe the devil saved him...

Ooh, or maybe Zeus tried to kill him, but Hera saved him.

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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:26 pm

CO Native wrote:Hmm, sleeping on the summit of a mountain not a good idea. Weird. #-o
"There's nothing so weird as another person's hobbies". I think this quest is super-cool myself, always wanted to do it myself, never even got started. Lightning seems to be much more rare over night, though of course as we see there are exceptions. Close call! Anxious to see total success in this quest.

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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby creidinger » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:36 pm

I was out elk hunting in the San Juans above Durango last week, and the worst lightning storms were at night. I was glad I tabled my idea to bivy on a ridge and instead opt for the canyon bottom, because of the close lightning that moved in about 11 pm. Two years ago I was out southwest of Glenwood Springs and had a bad feeling about an incoming storm and decided to get in my car. Sure enough, that storm was mostly dry, had frequent, close lightning, and one bolt that was simultaneous with the thunder, during which I felt a pressure wave hit me inside my car. This was at 1 a.m. What's strange about Jon's freak storm is that we were actually in a dry pattern, so where was the moisture to create that storm, especially overnight?
"GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." Habakkuk 3:19

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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby 14erFred » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:43 pm

Not too surprising that Jon K.'s bold quest to become the first to sleep overnight atop all the Colorado 14ers nearly ended in tragedy. If one stays on top for an extended period, lightning is the number one risk. His close call may dissuade other "overnighters" from following in his footsteps. Especially during the warmer months, overnighting is a extreme form of Russian roulette, though it's not without its benefits. The views and the solitude are spectacular, and the intensity of the adventure is extremely powerful. I wish Jon safety and Godspeed in his quest.
"Live as on a mountain." -- Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby sevenvii » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:00 pm

Glad to see his ok, not my personal cup of tea but I could see how someone would derive some pleasure and sense of accomplishment by heading down this path.

dubsho3000 wrote:Thought process: I nearly got struck by lightning in a "freak" storm. God must have been watching out for me...

I wonder if he considered the possibility that god tried to kill him, and failed. Maybe the devil saved him...

Ooh, or maybe Zeus tried to kill him, but Hera saved him.

Thought process:
Person A has a different belief system than me, I of course know that he is stupid and wrong, so I will show my disapproval with some witty internet postin'
-I see how this game is played! :-k

Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:21 pm

One person's idea of insanity is another person's adventure...or is it junk and treasure?

I also agree that if this guy wants that added to his "resume" then more power to him and I wish him the best of luck.
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Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:39 pm

The damage to his tent sounds like the metal in the poles might have been sparking (aka St Elmo's Fire), rather than a direct strike. Burning through nylon doesn't require a jillion volts, a spark from a campfire is quite sufficient. :)
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

Re: Summit Camping and Lightning!

Postby dubsho3000 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:52 pm

sevenvii wrote:Glad to see his ok, not my personal cup of tea but I could see how someone would derive some pleasure and sense of accomplishment by heading down this path.

dubsho3000 wrote:Thought process: I nearly got struck by lightning in a "freak" storm. God must have been watching out for me...

I wonder if he considered the possibility that god tried to kill him, and failed. Maybe the devil saved him...

Ooh, or maybe Zeus tried to kill him, but Hera saved him.

Thought process:
Person A has a different belief system than me, I of course know that he is stupid and wrong, so I will show my disapproval with some witty internet postin'
-I see how this game is played! :-k


At least we agree it was witty

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