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Coldest Summit

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby mike_kadow » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:13 pm

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


Pssh, pansy. We went out sledding when it was 40 below. :-D



Good call. You're absolutely right. :wink:

We had schools close due to -70+ temps (with wind of course) and loved having the day off to frolic!

It just seems different when you need your bare hands to work with in those temps. Tis chilly quick.
(I feel warm just thinking about those nights.) \:D/

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Brent D » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:31 pm

Wow, some czy temps!

Not nearly as low as others, but low enough! Mt. Democrat about 15 years ago, a very cold October day, I believe in the high teens. Thankfully no wind and sunny, but once on top you could see it had been a bit windier the days before! :shock:

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby GregMiller » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:47 pm

mike_kadow wrote:Good call. You're absolutely right. :wink:

We had schools close due to -70+ temps (with wind of course) and loved having the day off to frolic!

It just seems different when you need your bare hands to work with in those temps. Tis chilly quick.
(I feel warm just thinking about those nights.) \:D/


In all honesty, I can't really say that I miss the ridiculously cold temperatures, I've kind of grown to like the Front Range :-D
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Randy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:22 pm

Ok not a 14er, BUT, Mt. Washington in NH, -40 with 60 mile per hour winds you do the math, you could NOT stop walking, even with double boots you feel feel the cold creeping into your feet if you stopped.

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby smoove » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Randy wrote:Ok not a 14er, BUT, Mt. Washington in NH, -40 with 60 mile per hour winds you do the math, you could NOT stop walking, even with double boots you feel feel the cold creeping into your feet if you stopped.


So that's -91? :shock:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/
Last edited by smoove on Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby sgladbach » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:31 pm

This thread put me in mind of the First Winter Ascent of Denali. Great story!


I'm not big on watching the numbers; I feel it distracts from me reading my own performance. Its always good to FEEL when your body is telling you to put on more clothes, slow down so you don't sweat, turn around till another day, etc. [I feel the same about weighing a pack. If need it, put it in; the weight is what the weight is.]

However, A few days come to mind. The car thermometer read -29F when I left early in the AM for San Luis. My little clip-on thermometer read -5F high over the 14 hour day and the temp was -24F when I got back to the car. Fortunately, there was very little wind. I've been much more uncomfortable on other winter peaks. A day on Elbert sticks out as the worst. High winds pelting your face with blowing snow and ice. Windchill factor -62F. I can think of a few days like this. However, I was properly clothed and making certain I didn't sweat.

The coldest I ever FELT were trips on El Diente and Culebra. I bet the wind chill was closer to -10F, but both hikes were over 24 hours and I felt exhausted and dehydrated; I was much more vulnerable to frostbite.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby highcomm » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:25 pm

I know you guys are proud of your 14er summits out west but nothing compares to Mt. Washington, NH when it comes to cold and wind. Average high temp on the summit is 33.9 degrees. Average low is 22.4 degrees. During a 71-hour stretch from around 3 p.m. on January 13 to around 2 p.m. on January 16, 2004, the wind chill on the summit never went above −50 °F. The highest winds ever observed by man were recorded there on April 12, 1934 - 231mph. The mountain averages hurricane-force winds 100 days/year. Keep in mind that Mt. Washington is only 6,288 feet in elevation.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Doug Shaw » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:37 pm

highcomm wrote:I know you guys are proud of your 14er summits out west but nothing compares to Mt. Washington, NH when it comes to cold and wind.


Pshaw! That's nothing, you banal terrestrialist.

Try the Nix-Charon traverse. Had some pretty intense screaming barfies after that one.

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby smoove » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:41 pm

highcomm wrote:The highest winds ever observed by man were recorded there on April 12, 1934 - 231mph.



Eh...that's surface wind speed. The wind in F5 tornados can reach speeds of 318 mph. I wouldn't be surprised if Mt. Washington holds the record for wind chill, but to say there's no comparison to winter (and wintry) 14er summits is a little silly. You oughtta come out and try some in the dead of winter if you haven't yet! ;)

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby Scott P » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:19 pm

I know you guys are proud of your 14er summits out west but nothing compares to Mt. Washington, NH when it comes to cold and wind. Average high temp on the summit is 33.9 degrees. Average low is 22.4 degrees.


Bull crap. Many locations out west are as windy, but much colder. Mt Washington is just the coldest place with a Official First Order Weather Station. SNOTEL sites and mountain radars are not official weather stations, though they do take weather data.

Mount Washington has an average annual temperature of 27.2F (which is slightly lower than the figure you posted, perhaps yours is a 30 year average). Its average wind speed is an impressive 35.3 MPH. Yes, it has a harsh climate.

Pikes Peak is colder, but not as windy. It has an annual temperature of 18.8F, but an average windspeed of 21.2 MPH, which is lower than that of Mt Washington. It could be argued that it has milder climate because of a lower wind speed, even though it is colder.

Longs Peak has wind statistics, but no temperature ones. It is safe to assume that Longs Peak is colder than Pikes Peak. For the period of record, it had an average wind speed of 34.3 MPH, about the same as Mt Washington. Even if you use the average Pikes Peak temperature data as equal, Longs Peak would have a harsher climate than Mt Washington, because it is about as windy, but much colder. Even though the weather station lasted a short time, Longs Peak clocked a 201 MPH wind. In all likelihood, it would have beaten this several times had the weather station lasted longer.

Mount Rainier is much colder and snowier than Mt Washington. Its annual temperature is 11.9. In fact its average high in July is 33F, colder than the average yearly high temp you post. I don't know of any wind data though, so maybe you could argue that Mt. Washington is windier (and it likely is). Much warmer too.

None of these peaks compare to the Alaska mountains though. On Denali, the annual temperature there is -28F and temperatures (without the windchill) on its slopes have dropped to -100F. The average temperature in July is much colder than the average January temperature on Mt Washington. It is almost certainly windier as well. Weather balloon data estimates an average annual wind speed of over 45 MPH.

So Mt Washington IS the coldest location in the US with both an observatory and a long term first order weather station. It is NOT however, the coldest location. Any claim otherwise is due to local pride and naivety.

Now, I have a debate to watch, so see you later.
Last edited by Scott P on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby VagabondSurveyor » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:11 pm

+1 Well said.

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Re: Coldest Summit

Postby caveman_ug » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:12 pm

Wow. Lots of data. Ok I know it's only an estimate but my.coldest 14er experience by far was on Pikes. I camped near tree line in early February in a bivy bagwith two ridge rests under my negative 20 rated bag and though I am a warm sleeper, had on long johns, ate a big slug of calories before bed and was sheltered from wind by being under some twisted spruce trees I still had to shiver myself warm after getting in bed. If I had to guess I would say it was close to 40 below

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