Sleeping temps?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Sleeping temps?

Postby Smacko » Wed May 02, 2007 3:31 am

What are the summer early fall night time temperatures around some of the 14ers. Its time for a new sleeping bag and I dont want to do much shivering.
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Sleeping temps?

Postby jackcunningham » Wed May 02, 2007 6:28 am

I'm from Michigan, and for the last 7-8 years I usually camp and climb in Colorado during late summer early fall, Labor Day time frame to be exact. Around Labor Day between 10,000 and 11,000 ft. you can expect night time lows at least close to the freezing point. I have probably experienced temps as low as the mid 20's.
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Postby Scott P » Wed May 02, 2007 6:35 am

Here are all the coldest nights I've had for each month in the area (The Uinta Mountains and CO have similar weather): ... ckies.html

Some of the basins can get pretty cold at night because the cold air drains off the mountains. For example, the basin below Beford and Missouri is one where cool air pools. On July 4 2005, I recorded 21F. That was 7 degrees colder than the official low for the nation that day. If your not in a basin, temperatures are warmer at night.

Expect an average of average of nights in the 30's, but occasionally in the 20's or 40's.

Nights can drop into the teens on summer nights, but this is rare and fairly unusual.

An example of some quick averages for nights in summer (but nights are seldom right on average) for some well known mountain locations in CO:

Pikes Peak Summit: 31
Fraser: 32
Berthoud Pass: 36
Climax (Fremont Pass): 37
Independance Pass 5SW: 33
Wolf Creek Pass: 38
Antero Reservoir: 38
Twin Lakes: 38
Taylor Park: 38

The general theme is nights in the 30's, though the mountain basins are colder (low 30's).
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Postby Cruiser » Wed May 02, 2007 6:50 am

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a cool sleeper. I use a 20 degree bag for all of my overnights in Colorado (above 10,000ft) during the summer months. It's true that I often find myself unzipping it a bit to regulate my temperature, but I'd rather do that than spend a long cold night tossing and turning. Like Scott said temps in the 20's are not unusual during the summer around here.
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Postby ddunlap » Wed May 02, 2007 11:11 am

Be careful of mean temps, you never know when you'll run into a statistical outlyer. In July of 2000 (or 2001; it's tough to tell as the less eventful trips drift into the time fog), I was camping about 20 miles north of Vail, just under treeline. I remember shivering much of the night and thinking that it was very odd for that time of year (I was in a Kelty 20F mummy filled with polarguard). About an hour before daybreak, I got up to 'go' and heard 'crunching' everywhere I walked. As I woke up a bit more and my eyes began to focus, I realized that everything was WHITE! After a bit more shivering, I pulled out my trusty REI thermometer keyring and tossed it on some gear that was outside the tent. I checked it after a few minutes and it read somewhere around 15F.

These days, I've switched to 600 goose down (Golite Doze, conservatively rated at 20F) and (almost) always pack a 8 (coolmax) or 15 (fleece) degree liner. Toasty! That seems to work good for everything but winter.
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Postby 14ers4me » Wed May 02, 2007 12:13 pm

Last summer at about 10000 a little off the N. Halfmoon Creek Trailhead close to Massive's SW Slopes, the temp dipped down to about 30F.
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Postby GW Duncan » Thu May 03, 2007 8:04 pm

I usually sleep in either a Fleece Vest or a full Fleece jacket and most summer nights ( Late June July Early August) I don't even zip my 20 degree bag up - simply lay it on top like a blanket and have slept all the way through the night like this even at 10,000 - 11,000 ft. I have a thermarest pad that helps retain heat. This arrangement allows me to toss and turn and plenty of room to kick around - and stay toasty at the same time.

Sometimes around 3 or 4 AM I will have to zip it up.

However, my wife in the exact same conditions will not only have a full fleece jacket on but will also be zipped all the way and they hood pulled around her and still be a bit chilly.

.... different strokes....
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Postby Smacko » Fri May 04, 2007 4:17 am

Ok then. Thanks for the help. I hope the marmot Sawtooth will suite my needs.
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