Avoiding Lightning at Alta July 4

Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
38
Storms have been pretty rowdy in the Wasatch for the past few days. Much lightning, thunder and rain with a smattering of hail as well. On July 3, my wife and I went for a quick backpack up at Alta. We stayed right on the Baldy ridge between Snowbird and Alta so we had a view of the valley floor all the way to the Oquirrh Mountains. The sky was clear but around 2am a bolt woke us both up, despite being very far away. One look at the radar on my iphone told us that we should pack up and head down for a less exposed place.

It started raining as we were finishing and as we were hiking down to the Watson Shelter, there was lightning all around. We ended up setting up our tent on the concrete with a nice outside roof over our heads and watched the show for a few hours. It was intense until about 4am and then just rained till about 7am. I was proud of our decision making even though we had gotten caught out there. We knew exactly where we were going in advance because we scoped it on the way up.

I love adventures like this as long as you end up safe. 40% chance of thunderstorms turned into one of the most intense storms the area has seen in months. Incidentally, it looks like the other ranges in the West are seeing similar storms. I was planning to head to the San Juans in CO this weekend but they also had 50% chance of thunderstorms. Stay safe out there and look for your safety spots on the way up.

Mt. Superior on the way up
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Looking down Little Cottonwood Canyon
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Lightning lighting up the sky, light painting on the wall with my headlamp
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Nice and sunny the next morning
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Breakfast
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July 5 from Guardsman Pass - more storms coming. Ran in to heavy rain and intense lightning on the way down.
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Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,918
Nice! Sounds like it was a good place to wait out the storm. I just came back from 4 days in the Winds and the weather was very unsettled there as well.
 

Duke

Mountain Carver
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
382
We just got back from a trip to Lake Mead and because of my daughter's school schedule and me being exhausted from the Lake trip, we decided to just stay at home and take it easy over the 4th. I sat on my back porch and watched the thunderstorms develop and thought that it was kind of nice that I didn't have to worry about the storm itself and could just enjoy the beauty of it all. I love watching thunderheads form in the evening just as long as I am not camping on boating trip or hiking over a ridge with my tall, lightning rod-esque flyrod case. But I was thinking.....somewhere there are some boaters or backpackers that are getting hit by this and looking for shelter.
 

TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
589
Nice TR. Thanks for the gratuitous shot of the bacon. Once again everything is better with bacon.

Salud, amigo!
 

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