Sunday, January 29, 2006

Weather Permitting...or not.

Windy conditions make it a slow go.

Saturday morning a group of us set out to scout an area near St. Vrain mountain. Our goal track had us walking 12 miles and 3500 vertical feet. This beautiful area used to be home to a ski resort called Rock Creek. The spirit of the resort is still here. Perfect, untouched powder lines were plentiful!
We started at the usual 5:45am from the "stone cup." A early morning coffee shop in Lyons, Colorado with great bean(coffee), breakfast sandwiches and, get this, Vegan Power Muffins. VPM's for short. I had my first VPM Saturday morning on the trail. Packed with calories and carbos(mostly oats and fruit) it was real tasty and powered me up the mountain.
Friday's weather forecast called for partly cloudy skies, with temperatures in the 30's, wind chill values between -1 and 9 with winds from the west at between 13 and 17 mph. Really that's not too bad this time of year, about normal. An "A-Okay" day for January...
But Saturday we found the temperatures in the teens. A subzero windchill and wind speeds that doubled the predicted values. Very Cold!
At our first high point(above tree line), between Meadow and St.Vrain mountains, we estimated the wind speed in the 30's with gust in excess of 50 mph. These conditions make traveling along ridge difficult. Not only can a gust blow you off the mountain, but wind can load avalanche zones. The extra snow can make normally safe terrain dangerous and generally no fun.

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