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Camping high in Colorado in summer
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James McIntosh

Locale: Near Bass Strait
Camping high in Colorado in summer on 07/01/2012 05:51:46 MDT Print View

What are people's thoughts about camping above the timberline in Colorado during the monsoon season? I'm particularly wondering about the hazard from electrical storms in the afternoons off the ridges but still above the trees.


Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Camping high in Colorado in summer on 07/01/2012 07:55:10 MDT Print View

Im a sissy and lightning gives me the wilies. If you're going to make camp below the ridgeline, just descend a little more and get into the trees.

I might be willing to reconsider that If I was camping in a valley between ridges, or if the site was grassy and surrounded by taller stuff.

Edit: where are you headed? Some places are much less lightning prone than others. Mt. Bross? Possibly OK....Longs Peak or Humboldt/Crestone/Carson? F@&$ no.

Edited by COHiker on 07/01/2012 07:58:49 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hmmm... on 07/01/2012 13:12:00 MDT Print View

I'd be in the trees by late afternoon.

Be SURE to take a WPB parka (or a Packa)for the afternoon thunderstorms. I'd also recommend WPB rain pants.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Camping high in Colorado on 07/01/2012 23:13:37 MDT Print View

How does a poncho fair in the Colorado high country during the summer monsoons? Can the winds be managed?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Camping high in Colorado in summer on 07/01/2012 23:44:13 MDT Print View

For protection against lightning, you could try a suit of chain mail. Steel is cheaper, but titanium is lighter. Just remember to ground yourself to the nearest tree.


Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Camping high in Colorado in summer on 07/02/2012 04:19:13 MDT Print View

+1 with Daniel.

I got caught above treeline one early evening in the middle of a hellacious thunder and lightening storm and all I could think of as I was holding onto my trekking poles to stabilize my tent against the freight train winds and pounding hail stones, were the grommets and metal tips at the top! Luckily there were a smattering of trees and rocks around that were taller than me, but still....

I must say it was an impressive display of mother nature's power that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying, but I kept hearing Elmer Fudd in my head singing "I'll kill da waa-bit, kill da waa-bit! Arise, Storm. North winds bwow! South winds bwow! Typhoons... Hurricanes... Earthquakes! Smog!
Oh, whaa I have dun? Oh, whaa have I dun? I killed da waa-bit!"

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re: Re: Camping high in Colorado in summer on 07/02/2012 10:20:18 MDT Print View

Here's a good read on lightning safety in the backcountry that can allow you to make the best choice given your particular situation:

There's no truly safe place to head to while backpacking, but supposedly the recommended precautions can cut your risk of injury in half.

James McIntosh

Locale: Near Bass Strait
OK on 07/03/2012 05:50:56 MDT Print View

OK OK OK I'll camp in the trees, but not near a tall one.

Thanks for the link John.


Edited by JamesMc on 07/03/2012 14:43:05 MDT.