Anatomy of a Storm Route
Longs Peak
14,259 feet, 4346 meter
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Longs Peak is famous for creating it own weather. In July 2004, several friends and I were climbing an adjacant mountain, Storm Peak and watched a storm develop entirely on it's own. It was an incredible demonstration of how on what was otherwise a perfect day, Long's can surprise you with a wicked storm complete with rain, hail and lightening

SunriseClear morning over the diamond on Long's PeakThe day started off absolutely we left the trail head about 4:00 AM. We had intended on climbing the Keiner's route just off the diamond. But for lack of a rope, we had to abandon our plan and settle for a pleasant day hike. After some debate we headed towards Storm Peak, a 13,326 pile of rocks

Mild winds from the east moved higher becoming less dense. This combined with lower air pressure caused the air to expand. As it expands, it cools, about 5.5 degrees for every 1000 feet. As the air moved higher and cooled and reached the "dewpoint", the temperature at which water vapor in the air becomes saturated, the water molecules started to condense into water droplets. They became visible as clouds.

The air continued to cool as it rose and more water drops formed - or the clouds got thicker. When they were large enough, they fell to the ground as rain, sleet, hail or snow.

We had left Storm Peak and were headed down as the rain started to fall.