Our storm fronts usually come from the west
Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:41pm

The intervening mountains and deserts wring most moisture out of the clouds. Consequently our climate is dry and arid. A "humid" day is 50% or more. Those are uncommon. Usually humidity is in the 29- 30% range, and sometimes dips into the teens. Crackly, brittle dry. The snow is consequently light and fluffy. Lots of air in it. It actually evaporates before it melts, or can melt. That's why it appears to melt when temperature is only 10F. It's really evaporating.

This year, nine people have been killed on Capitol Peak. It is regarded by many as our hardest Fourteener. This is outcome of the Fourteener craze with people coming from all over the country to climb them. I can't tell you how many times I see a post from someone BEGINNING with Capitol. So folks are abuzz with discussion about what to do. More signs? Laws? Regulations? Climbing by permit, and qualification?

There is a limit to how much you can protect people from themselves and their own stupidity.

At the Aspen Music Festival, I read a magazine one night with an article on "Bagging Fourteeners." Aspen's Fourteeners are in the Elk Range, and they're all dangerous. The rock is unstable and treacherous, and the easiest routes thread their way above stupendous, rotten cliffs on diseased, slippery mudstone. Capitol and Snowmass are different geology- a white rock- not granite, but like granite. The famous knife ridge is solid and stable- for now. That solidity betrays, because elsewhere on the mountain and its neighbor Snowmass, the slabs are so unstable and treacherously poised, they fall with just a little pull. On the knife you have 1600 feet of drop on one side, and 1800 feet on the other. Actual edge of the ridge is no wider than tip of your finger. The magazine made it sound like "something to do." Nine people this year alone, killed. All of them involved falling rock, or them descending "off route" and stepping on something loose that tumbled taking them along with it, down to the cliff bottom more than a thousand feet lower.

Tell you how I feel about "peak baggers." Same mentality as people who fire bullets into living things for their amusement. Or who coal roll their truck past you, leaving a billowing black cloud of smoke and fumes for you to choke on, because they can and it amuses them. Last year, peak baggers took to hauling up cardboard and foamboard signs with the name of the mountain, because in their rush, they can't remember one from another. They even stole street signs in towns- streets with the mountain name, and hauled those up... Goal is to "bag them all." Many left their signs, which others hauled down in litter clean up. This year the thing is to haul up a "painted rock." They paint it with bright colors and put some wording on it... and they're leaving those behind. Because they're climbing the mountains by the hundreds every day, hundreds if not thousands of these painted rocks are being left behind. I think they're called Kindness Rocks.

Like this:

In the space of just a few years these people have laid waste to these mountains. Where you once could go there and see no sign of human impact, now there is almost nowhere you can go on one and NOT see human impact. Litter, wrappers, trails braided into eight lane highways twenty feet wide, their pets and their pet excrement, discarded food like fruit pits and cores, orange and banana peels, old chewing gum... beer cans, wine bottle glass, and their shit. And now these friggin kindness rocks, because that's trendy and popular.

I am wholly unsuccessful and unable to stem this destruction. They don't care. Never occurs to them that apple core doesn't belong at 13,000 feet on a mountain, where because of arctic-like preservative conditions it will take a century to decay. Never crosses their mind that their pet is why pikas and marmots are vacating where people go- same for the goats. More than just a few dogs have been gored by goats... and these morons want something done about the goats! Never occurs to them to leave their pet home.

Trouble in America isn't us. It's them.

  • we do, everyone rushes out to "blow it away" with snow shovels, blowers, and even leaf blowers. LOL. Within no time, however, the water content ramps up and it begins to shrink into heavy duty snow... more
    • Our storm fronts usually come from the west — Pikes, Tue Sep 19 1:41pm