When people quote wind speeds - call them on their bullsh*t


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Trad climber
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:29am PT
I lived on Float A in Douglas Harbor for three winters years ago.

Long nights of Takus gusting 90.

I know wind.

I could spend every day calling people on their bullsh#t. Especially my own.

Everybody loves a good story.

Versamillitude is always appreciated.

The cool thing about talking is you don't have to spell.

the last bivy
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:54am PT
walking cross country through the woods in SoYO on a ridge above the San Joaquin river gorge this past spring, Harrison and I came across a wide area of trees blown over, all of them, and all of them were larger in diameter than the two of us could get our arms around together. BIG trees blown by that gale that went through there. Hurricane force. From that area you can see Mammoth, Banner and Ritter and the path of the wind. Believe me, the forest was blown down.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:08am PT
I've seen bunks of plywood peel and scatter like a decks of cards in Carson City and Juneau many times, i've had property in west Washoe Valley selectively and significantly thinned of old growth pine, i've climbed when the wind has blown the rope straight up rather than just sideways, but i've never, anywhere else, seen anything approaching the ferocity of a sustained winter windstorm as in the corner of the Matanuska-Susitna valley that i have inhabited for the last thirty years.Interior Alaska regularly gets long winter cold snaps associated with clear skies and high barometric pressure systems and as intense low pressure systems come into the gulf of Alaska the pressures have to equalize with the resulting winds funneling and gaining speed through the canyon between the Chugach and Talkeetna ranges and into the valley. I've seen this equalization take several days and sometimes up to a week to play out. During these periods the wind is often sustained above 75 mph and with gusts well exceeding 100 mph on a regular basis. Anywhere else it would be called a hurricane,but here it is just a normal winter condition. My two sons are enduring just such an event right now. They informed me today that the Russian and Ukranian immigrant contractors,that are our main competition, lost two houses in the framing stage.I can't say i'm particularly sorry for them, but i know they will learn.


Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:32am PT
I guess I think people feel they can get away with lying to you to impress you, because ain't no one gonna call 'em on their BS. So I'm gonna start :)

That's what I have really come to appreciate about smart phones... aka BS blockers. :)

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:37am PT
Rick Sumner, thank you.

Mat-Su Valley
Mat-Su Valley
Credit: Reilly
Second only to this place...

Beagle Channel
Beagle Channel
Credit: Reilly

and this place...
Credit: Reilly

rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Nov 30, 2012 - 02:17am PT
Reilly, good to know others on this Taco have experienced a Mat-Su breeze. A lot of the time when the wind is whipping down below it is relatively calm up at Hatcher, as you are probably well aware. I don't know about your other examples ,as i've not experienced their windy delights, so i assume you are right.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 30, 2012 - 07:45am PT
Climbing in 25MPH gusts is f*#king impossible, and it sounds pathetic because asshats claim to climb in 60mph gusts at josh every tuesday.

Well, that's part of the beauty of having moved to the Columbia River Gorge for the highwind windsurfing back in the mid to late 80's - we regularly get to sail on minuscule boards waving tiny sails the size of half a trench coat in summer West winds so strong the river sets up in 15-20' standing waves with a sheet of a solid sheet of white foam across the top that has flip massive barges out in the desert east of Hood River. Guys throw double forward loops off those wave tops and can get 40-60' over the troughs.

On those days, the most dangerous part of windsurfing is just trying to get the damn board on and off the top of your car and down to the beach without getting killed. And you know it's a big day when even the solidly good crowd thins down to just a handful of folks while everyone else sits it out on the beach to watch or goes home beat up and exhausted. Point being, we do know exactly how strong the winter East winds are in the Gorge each year and what windspeeds you can and can't climb in on Beacon Rock.

Up on the final corner ridge where the fierce East wind is forced go up and over the top of Beacon it does blow steady 50kts with long persistent gusts to 70 kts on a quite regular basis each winter. And to climb that final ridge pitch you're almost better off soloing off like a normal day as if you do it roped you have to lace it up or long loops of rope between pieces start to blow out in space over the edge exerting enormous sideways forces on your pro and generating a staggering a downward pull on you by the top of the pitch. That, and 'climbing' on the pitch basically involves having to hug the rock, lock down all four points hard, and ride it out waiting for a momentary let up when you can make one move, possible two, only to then lock all points back down hard and wait it out again. It's a harrowing amount of cold, hard wind you couldn't possibly stand upright against and makes an otherwise easy route into a spectacular and unforgettable experience.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:14am PT
Ed.....thanks for the Beaufort scale but this scale represents SUSTAINED winds.

Storm Force 64-72mph......Very rarely experienced on land; usually with widespread damage

Last night at the Sierra Azul RAWS (again), 1842 feet above sea level behind Los Gatos
30 5:32 S 38 G 70 55 54 100 4.08 54 26.2
30 4:32 S 41 G 71 54 53 100 3.85 54 26.2
30 3:32 S 41 G 74 54 53 100 3.68 54 26.2
30 2:32 S 45 G 83 54 53 100 3.52 54 26.2
30 1:32 S 43 G 72 54 53 100 3.41 54 26.2
30 0:32 S 36 G 72 54 53 100 3.33 54 26.2
Gusting over 70 MPH for 5 hours. Sustained only in the 40s
Those are the gusts that shook my house and woke my wife. I don't wake up till something big hits the house. Which it didn't last night.
Bugged the heck out of Sarah when we were at sea in full gales and I'd sleep my off time on the floor of the cabin.

Gusting to about 20 here now. calm as a sleeping kitten (comparatively)
Oh, and off topic: 3 inches of rain in last 24 hours.

Boulder climber
member since 2002
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:53am PT
Cragman, that picture of Carson Peak is very impressive

Mckinleyville, Ca
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:54am PT
Spring Ridge/Windy Hill.  Off Skyline Blvd, San Mateo County.  ~50mph
Spring Ridge/Windy Hill. Off Skyline Blvd, San Mateo County. ~50mph
Credit: rrider

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:58am PT
just down the road (12 miles as the hawk flies) from my place and 1000 feet lower

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:02pm PT
It bears repeating that the density of air changes with altitude. Also (and this is kind of counter-intuitive) moisture Decreases density. So...40mph at sea level feels harder than a 40mph wind at 15,000 feet. Like the difference between getting hit by 20 mph bike vs a 20 mph car.

You can see from the graph below that as you increase height, density goes down, partial pressure of water vapor (vapor pressure) and temperature play a part also.

air density
air density
Credit: ydpl8s

EDIT: Well I didn't do too good of a job getting the formulas over here, so here is a good reference for all of you that want to look deeper into the subject.


EDIT2: This is also directly tied into why water boils at lower temperatures at higher altitudes. Think back to your 8th grade physical science class when they put a beaker of water under a vacuum bell and got it to "boil" at room temperature as they decreased the pressure.

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
Keep Hurricane Sandy in mind. The top winds were 70 mph and the destruction was enormous. I will try to post some photos of what the wind did near my house. Literally hundreds of trees uprooted or snapped off.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:13pm PT
Nice graph
So what is the mass density of air where I live at 800 meters when saturated with H2O?
Compared to dry air at sea level.

Or considered another way, when I was knocked off my feet on the summit of Rainier on a dry day, the wind speed would have been about 50% higher than required to knock me off my feet at sea level.
Or since I'm familiar with 30 kts of wind when sailing on the SF Bay, I'll be underestimating the wind speed when I'm at altitude?

Of course, without instrumentation, it's all a Wild Arsed Guess.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
The flip side is that, since wind speed numbers don't mean much to most people, when someone says "60mph" i have no idea what that translates to and I think "Ok, i guess it was just blowing really hard".

So, I don't care if they're accurate.

Trad climber
Philadelphia, PA
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
I've only climbed at JT once, and it was incredibly windy, I had a fist jam deep in a crack when a gust blew me sideways and I thought my arm was going to break. Twentynine Palms weather station recorded gusts at 70mph that day. call it BS all you like, you'll know when its 70mph.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
Although Donini claims to be the Windmaster amongst us I've heard from
reliable sources that Guido can break a gale with his bare hands.

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:10pm PT
toss a ciggy butt out...

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
I don't know about all that sh#t but it was blowing like 90 here a minute ago.....

( . )( . )

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 30, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
I'm just the land guy. Guido gets the 71% covered by ocean.
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