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Coldest Summit

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Coldest Summit

Postby zephyr_pelicante » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:03 pm

With the sub-freezing temperatures on peaks this weekend, I'm curious: what is the coldest temperature you've ever experienced on a colorado 14er? What was the wind like?

Re: Coldest Summit

Postby taylorzs » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:37 pm

I can think of two times, both on Longs. One was bivying at Chasm lake, early winter, for an attempt at a winter ascent of Kiener's about eight years ago. We were pretty sheltered from wind but temps were well below zero and I remember that being a bitterly cold night. Very beautiful though too. Clear, starry night with the lights of the front range visible far below. There was a feeling of being both in a very rugged, severe, wilderness environment and also being close to civilization as well.
The other time was a March bivy up in the Boulderfield seven years ago or so. I think temps were warmer then, but the wind howled all night and I was sleeping under a tarp that hit my head all night. Between wind howling, cold temps, and getting smacked in the head constantly by a crazy, run-wild tarp I did not get much sleep that night.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby ameristrat » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:00 pm

Did Bierstadt today - Summit temps were supposed to be in the teens. It was blowing at least 25-30, so I'm guessing the wind chill was close to 0. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby illusion7il » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:12 pm

Winter Attempt up Mt. Sherman. I thought this would have been easy considering its the easiest 14er. Definitly not the coldest environment I've been in but probably the windiest. 75+ mph winds and every time the wind gust came with a wall of snow I had to drop down to a T-bow. Many ski resorts had to shut down some or all of there lifts due to the winds that day. I lost my motivation and only made it up about half way from winter closure as the winds only got worse the higher I went.

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby CO Native » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:14 pm

Coldest straight temperature was an overnight trip on Pikes Peak with Teller County SAR. It dropped down to 30 below as we were heading to bed. Might have dropped a few more degrees during the night but no one was willing to climb out of their bags to go check. That was below tree line though.

30 below.jpg
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby EmmaM » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:01 am

ameristrat wrote:Did Bierstadt today - Summit temps were supposed to be in the teens. It was blowing at least 25-30, so I'm guessing the wind chill was close to 0. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR


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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby ajkagy » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:16 am

the coldest air can be found in the valleys at night since the cold air funnels down. It's routinely 15 degrees warmer at night in winter up higher.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Jay521 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:17 am

CO Native wrote:Coldest straight temperature was an overnight trip on Pikes Peak with Teller County SAR. It dropped down to 30 below as we were heading to bed. Might have dropped a few more degrees during the night but no one was willing to climb out of their bags to go check. That was below tree line though.

30 below.jpg


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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby VagabondSurveyor » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:21 am

Summited Minnesotas high point, Eagle mountain in January 2011. Temps in nearby towns were 40 - 45 below zero... (not a Colorado 14er) sorry...

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby nyker » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:05 pm

Perhaps not as cold as others, but for me, it was La Plata's summit on October 12, 2008. It was a day that had temps in the low 30s in Boulder that morning, 15*F with fresh snow at the trailhead and zero to low single digits at ~14,000ft . Coming off a storm with still-sustained winds of over 30ph for most of the day, wind corrected temps at the summit were COLD, well below zero. One of my first trip reports, I just added a few more photos from a flash card I thought I'd lost:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5387&parmpeak=La+Plata+Peak&start=120&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Scott P » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:10 pm

the coldest air can be found in the valleys at night since the cold air funnels down. It's routinely 15 degrees warmer at night in winter up higher.


True, especially on cold, calm, clear nights in the mountain basins. Windchill is lower up high though.

Anyway, I do keep track of my coldest nights in each month, but this includes everything in the Central Rockies (US) rather than just 14ers:

http://www.summitpost.org/overnight-temperatures-in-the-central-rockies/186172

Also, speaking of cold nights, I just set my October record this morning. -1F at Hacking Lake, right near timberline (10,625') in the Eastern Uinta Mountains. Craig, at 6300 feet was offically 13F. Before this morning, I've never had a below zero camp in the mountains before November 14.

Water bodies take much longer to cool, but at Hacking Lake this morning, it was cold enough to freeze over the lake about half. Here is a photograph:

Image

My notes also say the following as far as coldest climbs to date in Colorado:

On February 11 2006, it was at least as cold as -29F on our climb of Nipple Peak (Elkhead Mountains, CO), but it was a day climb only. It was probably the coldest non-windchill temperature that I have climbed in. Luckily there wasn’t much wind on that particular day. The coldest wind chill I’ve climbed in while in the Central Rockies was probably -54F (-77F on the old windchill chart!) on Northstar Mountain (Mosquito Range, CO) on December 9 2005.
Last edited by Scott P on Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby mike_kadow » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:16 pm

Saint Vrain Mountain early April 2012.

High 20s daily and had sustained winds of 40 with gusts to 70+.

Spent the weekend trying to build an igloo. Nightly maintenance left my hands cold to the point of concern.

Whenever I find myself in hardship or a bind, I think of these nights and persevere, as they have been my coldest. \:D/

Then again, WI and MN are much colder but no one is out there building in -40 degrees.
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