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Four Great Traverses in Winter?

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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby Winter8000m » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:47 am

Scott P wrote:
A CO Legend recently told me that climbing in winter in CO will prepare you for anything on the planet


Except glacier travel.


Or jungles. :-D Or hippos. While camping in a remote place in Africa, our tent got surrounded by a herd of hippos. So far it hasn't happened to us in Colorado. :-D



I think this is misleading. It will prepare you for the cold and being able to handle it. I feel the best preparation is actually doing what your goal is on a smaller scale which will in most cases take you out of CO. (For mountaineering, Rainier...etc.) 99% of stuff out there makes the Diamond look extremely tiny as far as climbing goes. I think CO is the first step in preparation. To say it will prepare you for anything on the planet, well sounds a little misleading. Just my opinion.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby Bean » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:54 am

I Man wrote:I believe Montana and Utah have the same issues, but less population and less people in the mountains.

They don't. Utah's backcountry is as busy or busier than CO's.

Our snowpack issues are due to our cold, dry weather. Our lack of snowfall results in a thinner pack with stronger temperature gradients. Our frequent cold clear nights wreak havoc on the stability of the snowpack. A "good" snow year in CO is a mediocre (at best) year for most other areas in the west.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby I Man » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:57 am

Bean wrote:
I Man wrote:I believe Montana and Utah have the same issues, but less population and less people in the mountains.

They don't. Utah's backcountry is as busy or busier than CO's.

Our snowpack issues are due to our cold, dry weather. Our lack of snowfall results in a thinner pack with stronger temperature gradients. Our frequent cold clear nights wreak havoc on the stability of the snowpack. A "good" snow year in CO is a mediocre (at best) year for most other areas in the west.


Good info, Thanks Bean. I certainly don't know that much being a non-skiier and all :lol:
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:13 pm

Winter8000m wrote:
Scott P wrote:
A CO Legend recently told me that climbing in winter in CO will prepare you for anything on the planet


Except glacier travel.


Or jungles. :-D Or hippos. While camping in a remote place in Africa, our tent got surrounded by a herd of hippos. So far it hasn't happened to us in Colorado. :-D



I think this is misleading. It will prepare you for the cold and being able to handle it. I feel the best preparation is actually doing what your goal is on a smaller scale which will in most cases take you out of CO. (For mountaineering, Rainier...etc.) 99% of stuff out there makes the Diamond look extremely tiny as far as climbing goes. I think CO is the first step in preparation. To say it will prepare you for anything on the planet, well sounds a little misleading. Just my opinion.



Colorado was good enough for Hornbein before the West Ridge Everest FA.

"This is where I really cut my teeth and learned how to climb," Hornbein said. "Those winter ascents on Longs, the winter camping, was really my training ground. It wasn't just Longs, but that was the centerpiece of the playground that I learned on."

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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby RoanMtnMan » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:57 pm

Bean wrote:
I Man wrote:I believe Montana and Utah have the same issues, but less population and less people in the mountains.

They don't. Utah's backcountry is as busy or busier than CO's.

Our snowpack issues are due to our cold, dry weather. Our lack of snowfall results in a thinner pack with stronger temperature gradients. Our frequent cold clear nights wreak havoc on the stability of the snowpack. A "good" snow year in CO is a mediocre (at best) year for most other areas in the west.


To expand. Temperature gradient is the difference between the ground temperature and the surface or air temperature. If the difference is less than 1 degree per 10 cm then the formation of round (bonding) crystals occurs. If greater than 1 degree per 10cm then the formation of facets (non-bonding) crystals occurs. The ground is always ~0 degrees Celcius. So the snow crystal formation pattern is dictated by our air temperature (cold in CO) and the depth of your snowpack (relatively thin). Utah for instance has similar water content snow and temperatures, but they get twice as much snowfall, which flattens the temperature gradient and promotes bonding crystal formation. The Pacific NW has such a stable snowpack because they get so much snow and being on the coast, it is relatively warm. We could go on to talk about how our high winds also give us unusual avy danger, but that is enough snow science geeking out for one day.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby osprey » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:05 pm

Regarding Hornbein - when he retired he moved to Estes Park.
( Off topic I realize. )

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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby Winter8000m » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:35 pm

SchralpTheGnar wrote:
Winter8000m wrote:
I think CO is the first step in preparation.



Colorado was good enough for Hornbein before the West Ridge Everest FA.

"This is where I really cut my teeth and learned how to climb," Hornbein said. "Those winter ascents on Longs, the winter camping, was really my training ground. It wasn't just Longs, but that was the centerpiece of the playground that I learned on."


Yup. That's where he learned. Again, I think CO is a perfect place to learn and practice the skill. One simply needs to go somewhere else to train and get the skills/experience for bigger objectives. Whether it be Peru/Patagonia/Alaska/Canada.....etc. Not trying to say Colorado sucks. It just doesn't have the magnitude of the greater ranges. You can't expect to do just winter objectives in CO whether it be the NF of Capitol or Quandary and expect to be ready for the Himalayas...unless you pay someone to drag you up. Yes, CO is great for training but I disagree it will prepare you for everything out there. To each his own.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:50 pm

I Man wrote:A CO Legend recently told me that climbing in winter in CO will prepare you for anything on the planet


They say the same thing up here about climbing in Scotland in winter. And quote the number of Brittish/Scottish climbers who trained and cut their teeth in the Cairngorms and Snowdonia.

Joe Simpson, Don Whillans, Edward Whymper, Alan Rouse, Doug Scott, and of course Sir Chris Bonington.

Having done both CO and Scottish winter climbs, I'd say that while the absolute temps and altitude in Scotland aren't as cold or high, they hurt more because you're always, always wet. And its frickin' dark. Or, to use the local vernacular, grim.

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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby RoanMtnMan » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:50 pm

pvnisher wrote:Having done both CO and Scottish winter climbs, I'd say that while the absolute temps and altitude in Scotland aren't as cold or high, they hurt more because you're always, always wet. And its frickin' dark. Or, to use the local vernacular, grim.


Agreed. Cold is one thing, but cold and wet are another. Hence my previous comment on coastal range weather. I think a lot of CO only climbers are initially stymied by what happens in the wet mountains. It's a whole different game. Scottish weather marvels me. Unlike CO, 3 layer gore-tex actually seems imperative.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:25 pm

RoanMtnMan wrote:Unlike CO, 3 layer gore-tex actually seems imperative.


I asked one of the guys I climbed with about what gear to bring, etc. I asked if I should bring my softshell pants and jacket. He had never heard of softshell. And I didn't see any for sale in the gear shop.

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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby Scott P » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:00 pm

I find it sad that these theads no longer generate into the discussions of TGC.
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Re: Four Great Traverses in Winter?

Postby seano732 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:31 pm

ScottP- That's cause he's already done the great 4, in winter, like, 3 times.... :lol:

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