High Wind Dangers?

Posted by: Whitney Zone

High Wind Dangers? - 09/14/06 10:43 AM

Posted by Tuffbnme, 09-14-06
Six of us are headed up to do the MMWT and summit this weekend. With the recent forecast... "Advisory conditions will most likely begin by this afternoon into Friday, with gusts to 40 mph in the Owens Valley and 50+ in the High Country. The Sierra Crest will experience 60+ mph" Should we be concerned about getting blown off the trail? Literally? Some of the pictures I've seen show a small trail and a big drop off, especially at the crests. 60 mph gust can carry a lot of punch somtimes.


Posted by Steve C, 09-14-06
If you read Dennis' weather report on this board, you will see that winds should peak on Friday, and the weekend will be breezy. Since you are going over the weekend, you ought to be ok.

But even if you are there during the peak winds, the gusts could knock you down, but not blow you away. I have found that in strong winds, you might lose your balance, but your natural response is to crouch down and hit the ground. If this happens, you only move several feet. You won't be literally blown off the trail.

For more weather links, including the NOAA site, see the weather link on the Whitney Portal Store main page (link at the bottom of this page), or go directly to it here:
Whitney weather links.
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Posted by Richard, 09-14-06
I have been up there when it was pretty windy, but I can't begin to guess what the wind speed actually was. I would think that a 60 mph wind could knock you off your feet especially if you happened to be off balance anyway. More to the point is that it will not be a fun hike under such conditions. It's a miserable day being constantly blasted by high winds. You can't take your gloves off because your hands get really cold. You can't hold your camera steady. Dust and grit get blown into your eyes. Good luck trying read a map. I would inquire about permits for next week instead.


Posted by westcoastdog, 09-14-06
Depends on your height and weight. Petite women may have problems. Once on Shasta near the peak the fellow in front of me who was a six footer got knocked down when a gust hit him mid step.

Although no snow is forecast, it may be an unpleasant surprise. September is always an iffy month and I've had snow storms as early as Labor Day in the southern Sierras.


Posted by dmatt, 09-14-06
If any of you are interested in the current wind speeds @ Fort Independence (typically one of the highest in the Owens Valley) just let me know. Right now, WS is averaging 20+ with gusts to 35 mph. I expect that to pick up later today and Friday.

Dennis


Posted by Tuffbnme, 09-14-06
Thanks guys,

Dennis, I may take you up on your offer for a quick current weather check before departure.


Posted by JPR, 09-14-06
If you are in gusty conditions, keeping your tent from blowing away can be a big concern. One thing that works is to pop the poles out of the grommets so that the tent lays flat on the ground and then carefully place some rocks or logs on the tent to keep it lying flat.


Posted by Doug Sr, 09-15-06
Hi Look for rock slides and trees that may fall any where in the mountains during high winds and Fires are always a problem so be very careful with stoves and fuel,

Another problem now are deer on the road day and night, at times on each side of the road in the same area so you can not tell which way they will cross. Look for skid marks on the road, these are most common spots, due to springs in the area. And the deer feed on the grass. Thanks Doug


Posted by rockhopper, 09-04-08
No kidding about the rock slides, Doug! (I'm a longtime lurker, newly registered participant). Last Sunday, 8/31/08 our group of 4 went to hike Mt. Dana to prep for our next Whitney trip (beginning 9/8/08). Winds on the ridges were predicted to be 45 to 65 mph, but we didn't have to get to the top to see their effects. A landslide let go above Hwy 120 about 1/4 mile ahead of us as we were travelling. I had the pleasure of weaving my car through 4 1000-lb. boulders and a lot of smaller debris. We did summit Mt. Dana that day, but had to hunker down several times on the way to wait out the 60 mph+ wind gusts.


Posted by Steve Larson, 09-04-08
Hiking in heavy wind usually isn't dangerous, but aside from being unpleasant, it can also be very tiring. It's a lot of work to move against that force, and constantly having to catch your balance when the wind changes speed or direction uses a lot of muscles you aren't even aware of. If you have a choice, I'd suggest trying when it isn't forecast.


Posted by wbtravis5152, 09-05-08
It really makes for a long and miserable day. Make sure you have clothing that can handle the wind. Goggles and/or glacier glasses might be a big plus in these conditions.

Hiking is more about the process than destination, in my mind. If this is your first trip to the Mt. Whitney area you will have an awesome time no matter what.
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Posted by Nextdrink, 09-05-08
I was up in the Portal camp grounds #17 over the weekend and that wind knocked down a 100ft tree I heard that thing hit the ground man little scared at that. It hit camp ground #40 and #41 I think too busy watching them cut the thing up. I heard it took a chunk out of the picnic table on the site. No one was there so no injuries.

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