Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

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Rockabelly
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Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by Rockabelly »

Hi All,

My wife and I just completed our first 14er - Quandary. We trained and prepared for 6 months and successfully reached the summit at 1030am on June 20. We live at 1000ft, so while we trained, nothing could compare us for the elevation. It was much harder than I anticipated. Now, we are discussing hiking another. The physical work doesn't scare us, however, an experience we had with electricity that day has us a little shook.

Details:
We hit the summit at 1030. We departed at 1055. At about 1140 my wife (uphill 20 ft) screamed and claimed she was getting shocked. She pulled off her stalking hat and much of her hair was standing. A second later I too started feeling the little shocks (in between my head and my hat) and then I started hearing a sound like a fishing reel or like tuning an old AM radio. We picked up the pace as fast as we could and were able to escape it after about 10 mins. We then experienced it again after a short break. During the entire time we were also getting hit with tiny ice pellets (they stung a bit but was more of an annoyance than a danger). I'm not exactly sure what I elevation we would have been at the time, but we were likely between 12,700 - 13,200. Once we got near the tree line we were good the rest of the way.

My questions for all of you --- What do you make of this? --- "No big deal, happens all the time, you weren't in any real danger", "Not common, but I've experienced it a few times", "Holy sh*t! You are lucky you didn't get struck" etc...
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justiner
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by justiner »

Static electricity from some electrically charged storm system above -- comes in most days there's monsoon activity (which can be now). Glad you didn't get electrocuted. Did you notice angry clouds above (you didn't mention clouds, but precip.)? See those coming, that's your sign to go down.
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Trotter
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by Trotter »

justiner wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2024 8:14 pm Did you notice angry clouds above (you didn't mention clouds, but precip.)? See those coming, that's your sign to go down.
+1

Even if you haven't summited, dark clouds are a sign to turn around. No peak summit is worth your life.
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. -Nelson Mandela
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called Ego. -Nietzsche
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Rockabelly
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by Rockabelly »

Thanks for responses. I hear you both. I would say that there really wasn’t much warning. If you see my profile pic that was from 6/20. Clear skies at the top all around. The clouds that blew in shortly after weren’t significantly dark or structured like a normal thunderstorm cloud. It was more of just a blanket haze that settled in about 40 mins later.

Learning lesson for me here. Thanks for the input.

I am still curious… is this type of experience common?
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denvermikey
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by denvermikey »

I wouldn't say it is common, but not extremely rare. Does that make sense? I have over 200 summits and can only personally attest to that happening once. We were near the summit of Pyramid and the leader of our climbing group suddenly laid down flat on the rock. When he would slowly rise up, you could actually hear the humming between the tips of his hiking poles that were stashed in his pack. This was pretty early in the day in October btw, well past monsoon season.
Just goes to show that sometimes there isn't anything you can do to mitigate 100% of all possible weather outcomes. Just be prepared and know how to act when the out of the ordinary happens.
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mtree
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by mtree »

That's happened to me twice, both times coming off the summit. NOT a good thing! Although your thumbnail photo is small it appears the clouds were ripe for a rumble. Clouds and storms can form quickly up there any time of day. Billowing clouds are usually a bad omen.

The area you were in was loaded with positive electricity. That's the static you were feeling and hearing. Your body was a mini conductor. Once the storm cloud blows over the area the chance for a lightning strike was super high! Its carrying a load of negative electricity. BOOM!

Now you know.
- I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by justiner »

Rockabelly wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 10:19 am If you see my profile pic that was from 6/20.
I see a big fat dark angry cloud over your right shoulder and less angry clouds filling things in.
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Rockabelly
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Re: Quandary - June 20 - Electricity?

Post by Rockabelly »

Good insight. Thanks all!
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