The tools sections lists some of the resources I use to gather information in preparation for a hike in the mountains.
Avalanche Information – While there is a lot of variability in avalanche fatalities from year to year, Colorado has the dubious distinction of leading the nation. The only way to safely survive an avalanche is not to get caught in one. Check conditions before you go and always take the route with least exposure – usually the higher ground.
Mountain Weather – Dedicated mountain weather forecasts provided for up to 5 different elevations. Besides not going during a thunderstorm, keep an eye on the wind speed. High wind sucks the fun out of the adventure very quickly.
14ers.com – an indispensable resource when planning a hike to the highest peaks in Colorado.
Rocky Mtn. Nat’l. Park trail conditions – trail conditions from rangers and volunteers across the park.
Caltopo – provides peak names from a Google Earth perspective, adding substantially to what is provided by Google Earth.
COTREX – Colorado Trail Explorer – attempting to map all the trailheads in Colorado with links to more information
It seems obvious but always worth mentioning, plan to end your hike before thunderstorms roll in.
Location of hikes in this blog
Wind is one of the hard things to gauge when hiking and has turned me back more times than any other weather. The lighter you are the more you will be affected, so it’s relative.
Below are my current categories and what to look out for;
- 0-15 mph: Perfect
- 15-25 mph: Annoying
- 25-35 mph: Stay on safer terrain
- 35-45 mph: Gusts will push you around
- 45-55 mph: Walking becomes difficult
- 55-65 mph: Very difficult to walk, gusts could knock you down. Your ice axe/trekking poles/hands/arms get blown to the side unintentionally
- 65+ mph: Why are you still outside?
Winds can easily exceed 65 mph on a windy day in the high mountains so use caution.