Worst Winter Weather Stories

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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by illusion7il » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Not a horror story, but me and buddy hiked up James Peak in complete white out conditions. Visibility was about 10 feet above St Mary's glacier and I had to completely rely on GPS for navigation. This was the best pic I got from the day.
James Peak.PNG
James Peak.PNG (267.76 KiB) Viewed 2007 times
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by England » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:00 pm

WildWanderer wrote:The date was January 4. We were coming back from a long day of terrible condition skiing at Monarch ( 15*, 45mph winds, blowing snow, etc). We'd stopped for dinner and were now on our way home. It was 7:30pm, and the roads were icy. It was snowing and very, very windy. I was exhausted (while they'd had a blast, taking 3 kids ages 4, 6, and 8 skiing all day in not so fun conditions had worn me out) so I decided to take a nap while my ex drove home. I woke up when the car started suddenly accelerating: My ex had decided to commit suicide, and take the entire family with him. He raced our truck over a cliff and into the Arkansas river (the one paralleling the 50 between Canon City and Salida). As we were flying through the air everything happened in slow motion: I remember thinking we were all going to die, and how dreadfully cold that river was. It was the river we'd gone rafting in this past summer, and I knew you don't pull people out of that river that enter via a vehicle. The Arkansas was raging even now in winter, and I could see ice floating on the top. My mind went into survival mode, knowing as soon as the truck stopped time was of the essence. I had 3 kids sleeping behind me in car seats: Which one did I save first?

"Luckily" the truck landed and got stuck on a very large boulder near the middle of the river, with the front half totally submerged and the back half sticking up, out of the water. I unbuckled all 3 of the kids and had them climb out the back window of the truck, and told them to be careful not to rock the truck in case it dislodged and began carrying us down the river (I was seriously concerned this would happen). It was snowing and cold and we'd left everything in the truck, worried it wasn't stable and would dislodge and carry us all away (so in our haste no mittens, coats, etc). The trek back up the cliff (which was mostly full of dead brush, trees, and steep snow in the beginning) seemed to last forever. Halfway up I couldn't take the kids safely any further, but that's when I heard shouting from the top: Some good Samaritans had been driving behind us and saw us go over, stopped, and were asking if everyone was ok. When I told them the kids weren't able to navigate the terrain any more they climbed down and formed a chain and helped me lift all 3 kids to safety, passing each child from person to person until they reached the top. It was the scariest night of my life, and I am extremely grateful for those who stopped to help.

On a lighter note, when we reached the top an off duty police officer was there. He asked my kids if they were alright. My youngest pointed to her cheek and replied in a dramatic voice: "No! I got a scratch under my eye!" It was from a random branch that had lightly scraped her cheek. I told her that didn't count, but she said adamantly "Mommy! It really hurts!" It was great comic relief. Yes, miraculously we were all ok. Even the truck: It took them 4 hours to remove it from the river, and when it was on the road again I was able to start it. It didn't have any dents/broken windows, etc. All that was wrong was a tire had blown and all tires were frozen to the frame (due to the water and freezing temperatures). Within 30 minutes and after changing the tire it was drivable, but declared a total loss by the insurance company due to a cracked frame. After the divorce was final and I could finally afford to, I bought the exact same truck again.

Moral of the story: Have winter driving skills and make sure you're the one doing the winter driving. Also, Toyota Tundras rock.
Reading this made me sick to my stomach seriously! Full on winter conditions Pancake Rocks above Horse thief, I froze one of my eye balls.
Peter Gallagher quote: "Many people say I move fast for a guy that's out of shape. Then I just remind them that round is a shape".

I have survived 3 avalanches...all my fault. yes i'm a dumb-ass!
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by Altitude High » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:14 pm

Greenhouseguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:54 pm
username72 wrote:
Bill G wrote: That storm convinced me to move somewhere safer. I chose CO.
But the majority of US avalanche deaths occur in Colorado, also don't forget the Pikes Peak bigfoot and Manbearpig.
Bigfoot has never actually lived on Pikes Peak, but you can see Pikes Peak from where he lives in the Lost Creek Wilderness.
We all know Bigfoot lives in the San Juans.
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by oldschool » Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:55 am

....the summer I spent in San Francisco (Mark Twain)
"There's a feeling I get when I look to the West and my spirit is crying for leaving" Led Zeppelin
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by Broken Knee » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:55 am

In early February of 2014, I decided to waltz up Bierstadt since the weather forecast was so nice. Weather.com virtually guaranteed it would be a beautiful day. It was supposed to be cold but sunny with low winds. So I parked by Silver Dollar and skied up the Guanella Pass road. It was a beautiful day. Cruised across the willows area and a ways up the west side before conditions led me to stash my skis and walk up on firm snow interspersed between areas blown free of snow. It was a beautiful day. I was making good time, staying warm and hydrated, taking a picture now and then, happy I'd gotten an early start. I was relaxed and feeling good, you know, because it was a beautiful day.

I was almost up to that spot at 13,800' where the ridge steepens a bit and had a funny feeling that made me turn and look to the west. A storm had materialized out of nowhere and it looked menacing. Or worse. I looked up towards the summit, then back towards the storm, then back at the summit. Then back at the storm. During that time of looking back and forth, the storm seemed to get much closer, much darker and much more menacing. I started jogging back downhill, actually it was more like I was running for my life across a mixture of rocks, ice and snow. I mean, where I was at at the time, it was a beautiful day, but it wasn't going to be that way for long. The 6 people I passed on the way up I passed on the way down and they looked at me weird for my awkward running/slipping/post-holing/swearing technique.

Once at my skis, I put them on and noticed that the 30,000 foot wall of darkness was crossing the willows and I could see that it was windy and snowing RIGHT OVER THERE. Of course, where I was at, it was still a beautiful day. So I let the skis run on the downhill and managed to get a little ways out into the willows before all of hell broke loose. I was being blown backwards, blown sideways, airlifted and body slammed. Off came the skis and I tried to walk forward with the help of my ski poles. No dice. Now it was like a war game, crawling on my hands and knees like a soldier in a movie. Time slowed as I was engulfed in a ground blizzard. WTF would happen if I got disoriented and turned south instead of north? What if I missed the road and went too far west? Who's idea was it to be here in the first place? What happened to my beautiful day? I learned that when you are crawling across the breakable crust of the Guanella Willows in a freaking frozen tornado white out, the willows seem to be much more expansive than when it's not a 20 below ground blizzard with 60 knot winds.

Well, I made it to the road, went down a ways till I could get a break from the wind, put the skis on and got down to the car. I guess you knew that, since if I'd been frozen into an ice cube in the middle of the pass, I wouldn't be writing this. It was a beautiful day.
When life gets you down, climb!
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by Altitude High » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:09 pm

Wow. You must have offended that storm somewhere in the past.

It didn't come out of nowhere. You were ambushed.
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Re: Worst Winter Weather Stories

Post by ltlFish99 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:40 am

1 peak- Longs
2 completely different winter experiences.
1st was a 2nd weekend in February, a longtime ago:

Camped at Black lake, the low was a very nice 25
Went up the trough route the following day under bluebird skies
Other than hiking buddies, zero people observed all day, including the summit.
Went home and picked up a lot of takeout Chinese food for dinner.

2nd was a 2nd weekend in March, a long time ago:
Plan is to camp in boulder field and go up the cable route the following day.

Grabbed a little coffee, and a muffin in Lyons about 4:00pm, With clear skies.
About a mile east of chasm junction it starts to snow, snow about ankle deep, no snowshoes.
Wind is 10 to 20 mph.

Arrive at boulder field around 8:00pm with heavy snow falling, an inch or 2 on the ground, 15 + inches in the tent site enclosure.
Winds are approx. 50mph.
Dig snow out of camp spot in a half circle rock walled enclosure.
Cook a large batch of mac and cheese in vestibule which takes forever as Stove goes out repeatedly from wind.
Enjoy consuming too much of my share of mac and cheese.
Chat with buddy who is heading to Denali in late April about the cable route in a blizzard.
Decide to see what it looks like in am.
Lights out at 9:30pm winds are a consistent 50 plus mph, but its warm.
Earplugs become an essential piece of sleeping gear which I'm glad to have.
Dig snow out from around the tent about 3:00am after a bathroom break.
Wakeup at 6:30, still snowing and Very windy.
Boil water for oatmeal.
After breakfast try to take a look at the route under the current conditions.
Cannot see the route or anything farther than 100 feet.
Decide the cables can wait for another day, pack up camp and head out.
Take our time as it's quite early and we really don't want to leave.
Actually use my compass other than during CMC schools, just for practice and fun.
Stop again in Lyons about noon for more coffee and another muffin.
No snow, no wind skies are partly cloudy, with some sunshine.
By Denver its completely clear and sunny.
My friend jokes that no one will believe our recollection of events.
I say only that I thought it was a grand adventure, which of course longs peak always seems to provide.
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