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Every year people get themselves into trouble in the Colorado high country. Sudden changes in weather, lightning or a wrong turn on a trail can get you into trouble and can result in your death. This event is NOT intended to lure the unsuspecting into danger. You are responsible for your own safety and you MUST consider the dangers and your personal limitations.

In particular, watch out for lightning since you may be above treeline and very exposed. It will take some time for you to retreat to safety (perhaps hours), so be conservative when you see thunderstorms approaching. SAFETY MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. If you do not have previous mountaineering experience, don't start with this event. The added complication of this radio event is NOT the way to try your first summit attempt. NO ONE INVOLVED IN THIS EVENT GUARANTEES YOUR SAFETY IN ANY WAY. You are responsible for choosing your own route, judging the severity of approaching weather and maintaining your overall safety.

Here's some safety information adapted from, visit their web site for more detailed safety information.

 Know Your Limitations

  •  Get in shape in the off-season. Even the easiest 14er routes require proper conditioning.
  •  Not everyone is fit enough for every hike. Understand when your body is telling you to turn back.
  •  Make sure you have the proper skills to tackle the route. Many 14er routes can turn from easy hiking to technical climbing in a hurry.
  •  Make sure all of the people in your group have the proper skills for the route.
  •  Turn back if necessary. 

Safe Trekking

  •  Start early.
  •  Pay attention at all times. The altitude may impair your judgment, so it is very important to stay alert.
  •  Keep a safe distance from other hikers.
  •  If you are climbing a steep slope or gully, be careful not to send debris down on other climbers.
  •  Bring a cell phone, satellite phone (and, of course, ham radio gear).
  •  Drink plenty of water.

 Watch the Weather

  •  Pick up a book on weather so you know how to "read" the sky and predict weather as best as possible.
  •  Check the weather forecast the night before your trip.
  •  Dark, brewing clouds are bad.
  •  During summer, lightning is your main problem on a 14er. Start early and turn back if a thunderstorm is brewing.


Lightning Education from NOLS

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has some excellent training material on lightning safety. Visit their web site to go deeper into this important subject.