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Thread: Hikers struck by lightning in Colorado

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Hikers struck by lightning in Colorado


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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    I did the Rockies last Sept. Strikes are the leading or large cause of deaths in Colorado. If your not down by 12 noon from the ridge lines you aren't going to be a happy camper. June July August is the worst of course. We did an 8 mile Alpine hike and got hit with Hail big time. Storms build by noon and unleash hell.

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    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Back in the late 60s I was stationed at Fort Carson Colorado. Right around lunchtime we used to bring our chairs outside to watch the lightning show across the way on the front mountain range. We could see the radio towers of the military facility under Cheyenne Mountain. It was a very electrifying atmosphere and fun to watch the incessant strikes. We wondered just what they had for lightning arresters to protect all their stuff from all those summertime strikes.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    I did the Rockies last Sept. Strikes are the leading or large cause of deaths in Colorado. If your not down by 12 noon from the ridge lines you aren't going to be a happy camper. June July August is the worst of course. We did an 8 mile Alpine hike and got hit with Hail big time. Storms build by noon and unleash hell.
    Totally agree with this. Everything I have ever done out there has always been an Alpine Start.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    The treeline on the 13k-14k peaks is very low. You're a moving target. We always do a very early start and get down low with the afternoon follies begin. You can see the clouds building and they are on you before you know it.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
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    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    Seems like almost all of Colorado is above treeline. Side note, but I just did a quick search and Lightning Strikes aren't even listed anywhere in the leading cause of deaths in Colorado. It is high comparing to other states.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I did all headlamp starts on my 14er climbs. I cant tell you how many times, I had to book to a summit and run down even before 12.00pm. Hail is tough too. Once, I had to sit and cover myself with my pack, while marble size hail pelted me. That hail would have really did me in, if it was hitting the top of my head. I got lucky, lasted 10 minutes only.

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    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
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    Actually Devil's Head, where the incident occurred, is only about 30 miles from where we live, located in the first row of foothills west of Castle Rock/Sedalia. It isn't a 14er by any stretch, the "summit" (if you want to call it that) is maybe 9K at most, but it's a popular area for climbers with lots of good outcrops. Treeline is around 11,500. Sunday was a pretty typical early summer day with the usual 30-40% chance of PM storms. Small hail is ubiquitous especially in that neck of the woods. They just were more or less unlucky, and probably didn't pay much attention when it started to thunder, since it happens most days this time of year. Of course, you never want to be the tallest thing, regardless of your elevation, in a thunderstorm.
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Motorcyclist Struck by Lightning?

    Quote Originally Posted by weatherman View Post
    Actually Devil's Head, where the incident occurred, They just were more or less unlucky, and probably didn't pay much attention when it started to thunder, since it happens most days this time of year. Of course, you never want to be the tallest thing, regardless of your elevation, in a thunderstorm.
    You kinda of expect strikes in the mountains as afternoon storms billow up. But here's a real strange one...

    A motorcyclist struck while riding on I 95 in Florida!! The bolt drilled right through his helmet! We all know Florida is a bit strange, but this is really weird.

    So much for rubber tires insulating you from ground and providing a safe haven in a T storm.
    cb
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
    .

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Note that Florida leads the nation in lightning deaths, by a large margin:

    http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lls/fatalities_us.html

    Being a semi tropical state surrounded by water contributes to a higher number of lightning storms.

    Rubber tires help, but what really protects you in a car is the Faraday cage formed by the cars metal frame. Of course this does not apply on a bike.

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I did all headlamp starts on my 14er climbs. I cant tell you how many times, I had to book to a summit and run down even before 12.00pm. Hail is tough too. Once, I had to sit and cover myself with my pack, while marble size hail pelted me. That hail would have really did me in, if it was hitting the top of my head. I got lucky, lasted 10 minutes only.
    Hail really ratchets up the intensity of a storm, especially if it's being wind-driven. You don't really expect to get hit by lightning, and you can deal with rain and wind to a certain extent, but hail makes things slippery and it hurts! I've never experienced anything larger than dime-sized hail and that was more than enough!
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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    Seems like almost all of Colorado is above treeline. Side note, but I just did a quick search and Lightning Strikes aren't even listed anywhere in the leading cause of deaths in Colorado. It is high comparing to other states.
    We were at 11000 ft in tree line but soon was in Alpine zone in 400 ft gain. It depends on were you are. Most of the strikes are at the edge of where the Rockies meet the plains. Out side of Dener area

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