Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  12/30/2011
Modified:  01/05/2012
Date Climbed:   12/28/2011
Author:  JustinB

 Yale - East Ridge (12/28/11)  

I attempted my first solo winter fourteener ascent on Mt. Yale via the East Ridge on December 28th. I reached 13,400 before turning around due to 100+ mph wind.

Full report and photos here: A Solo Fourteener Winter Climb

Copy and paste if link doesn't work:


 Comments or Questions

Link broken
12/30/2011 20:03
FYI. probably more like 60-70mph winds, 100+ would mean more than just turning your back to the gusts.

Great work and a good decision to turn around, looked like a nice day out


Link works
12/30/2011 20:34
Just make copy pasta in the address bar.

Congrats on the attempt! Still better than a desk.

Typically, I figure ~25 mph is enough to annoy/wobble, ~40 mph requires bracing, ~60 mph requires full stoppage and hunkering, and 75 mph requires clingering. 100 mph would give me little wings. But I'm a lightweight.


12/30/2011 20:42
Thanks for the wind speed information. I was guessing purely on the reported wind speed at Kenosha Pass plus my experience on Yale, which was by far the most intense wind I have ever experienced in my life. I edited the blog post to reflect 60-70 mph estimated wind speed.

Exiled Michigander

Gauging Wind
12/30/2011 23:50
Here's what you need to buy:


You should attempt Yale's East Ridge again when the weather is a bit better. Stiffler_from_Denver and I did it last January on a warm, sunny day with absolutely no wind (should not have qualified as a winter climb!). It's a great hike when conditions are good. You'll get it next time!


Denver weather today
12/31/2011 15:56
Not to sound argumentative, but I heard on NPR this morning that Denver and the plains will see 70 mph wind gusts today. When I was on Yale I can assure you the wind was DRAMATICALLY stronger than anything I have ever seen in my life. It sounded like a freight train. I can not imagine those same wind speeds I experienced occurring in Denver/in the foothills/on the plains. Thoughts?


link problem
12/31/2011 18:17
I still can't get the link to work, and I'm really interested in your TR, as we r headed there end of January. Am I doing something wrong, or am I just internet challenged?


Copy - Paste
12/31/2011 18:19
I'm not sure why the link is broken, but if you copy - paste into your browser it should work.


12/31/2011 19:59
Thanks JustinB, I tried that and it still didn't work. If you have time, could you let me know the conditions from Avalanche Gulch TH to the E Ridge proper? I'm also curious if you tried it all in one day or camped out. Thanks again and Happy New Year!


12/31/2011 20:00
Thanks JustinB, I tried that and it still didn't work. If you have time, could you let me know the conditions from Avalanche Gulch TH to the E Ridge proper? I'm also curious if you tried it all in one day or camped out. Thanks again and Happy New Year!


12/31/2011 20:28
One day. Packed trail all the way to the saddle. I booted the snowshoe track and kept my snowshoes on my pack except for maybe the last quarter mile to the saddle. The ridge is windblown on the north aspect and loaded/corniced on the southern aspect. Without loads of fresh snow or high winds on the ridge to slow you down it should be easily achievable in a day. Left the TH at 6:45 and was back at my truck at 3:45 (including a detour down the drainage adjacent to the drainage the trail follows just for fun, which slowed me down because I wound up postholing knee-deep facets with my snowshoes on).


Thanks Again!
12/31/2011 21:26
Strong work! Thanks for the info.


re: good question
01/01/2012 04:53
I'm not a meteorologist but I can propose a couple things based on fluid dynamics. Keep in mind that I'm trying to answer why the same wind speed in different locations can produce different forces rather than how wind speeds differ in mountains:

1) We're all blowing smoke based on non-scientific personal experiences. Common among mountaineers.

2) Cold air (mountains) is more dense than warm air (plains) - heat rises. Also, we're talking about mountain air, not super high atmospheric air densities. Force (what you feel) is a product of mass (dens*Vol)and acceleration. Since cold air is more dense, it applies more force as more molecules are present to ram into you. Consider if I were to throw 5 apples at you at 60 mph compared to if I were to throw 15 apples at you at 60 mph.

This point can seem a bit odd because the warmer air also has faster moving particles; however, they are also more spread apart (less dense) in an open system (as opposed to a closed system - balloon).

3) Rugged topography causes mountain wind speeds to vary considerably, leading to acceleration (a derivation of velocity), which gives us Force.

4) The wind entry angle is different on a ridge and can produce lift.

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