Thunderstorms

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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elenarhodes
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Thunderstorms

Post by elenarhodes » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:48 pm

Good evening!

My husband and I are headed out on our 4th backpacking trip on Monday. We have done 2 one nighters and the High Sierra trail two years ago. This year we are going to do the Mineral King loop. I find that after every trip I realize something else that I didn't know. We are slowly learning and researching as we go. It's always humbling and amazing to be out in Mother Nature.

My question, the weather shows 20% chance of thunderstorms after 11AM for most of the days of our trip. I know that this is common in the Sierras in the summer, but I am curious what others do during the thunderstorms. I know to hit the passes in the AM (Franklin Pass and either Black Rock Pass or Kaweah Gap), but what about the days where we spend all of it above 10K feet? Do most keep hiking, or hunker down all afternoon? Two years ago I remember pouring rain we hiked through and hailstorms that stopped us in our tracks, but not necessarily lightening scares.

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

Elena

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maverick
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Re: Thunderstorms

Post by maverick » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:30 am

Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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bobby49
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Re: Thunderstorms

Post by bobby49 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:49 pm

I've been up high on some peaks when the storm got too close. Once you have had a static discharge buzz in and out of your parka hood, it gets serious. Then when you see ball lightning, it gets very serious. There are all sorts of ways to avoid becoming a crispy critter, but in general, just don't be up high where there is nothing for protection when the storm is coming in.
An old anecdote: A bunch of backpackers had arrived on the summit of Mount Whitney. Due to wind and approaching storm, they took refuge inside the summit hut. The lightning cloud passed over, and a lightning bolt struck. It hit the highest object around, which was the metal stovepipe above the hut. Unfortunately, one man was standing inside directly underneath it, so he was killed outright. Others were burned and dazed. Others had their synthetic socks melted onto their feet. A helicopter was summoned and took the injured off that day. The deceased and the uninjured were flown out the following morning. That is just the sort of place where you do not want to be during a storm. Watch the sky and listen to the thunder to determine how close it is getting.

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