Kim Fenske hikes Bierstadt and talks mountain weather
Story and photos by Kim Fenske
When the forecast is for unstable weather, hiking into a remote base camp and planning an ascent of a mountain with severe grades on unmarked slopes or exposed ledges is not a reasonable plan. It’s difficult enough to predict lightning storms in summer when summit strikes threaten. Sudden snowstorm can create white-outs in high winds on high altitude ascents and create slippery conditions for boulder scrambles.
During the spring and summer of 2011, the first four deaths on Fourteeners involved snow conditions. None of the mountains where these death happened are considered easy or moderate ascents on standard hike routes.
Torreys Peak killed a skier who triggered an avalanche in a snowstorm so severe that rescuers were unable to reach the scene by helicopter. A woman slipped down a snow-covered chute during an ascent of Mount Princeton in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area. On nearby Missouri Mountain, a father and daughter who were experienced hikers fell from the ridge near the standard approach and were found several days after they were killed. By contrast, the eleven climbers killed in 2010 near a Fourteener summit were on the most difficult sixteen of the fifty-four peaks and often on non-standard routes. (more…)
Filed under: avalanches, climate and weather, Colorado, hiking, recreation, Snow and weather | Tagged: backcountry, Colorado, Colorado weather, Guanella Pass, hiking, Mount Bierstadt, Mount Shavano, Tabeguache Peak | 1 Comment »