buzzing on snake dike


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'cross the great divide
May 8, 2008 - 11:57am PT
I just want to agree that the book "Shattered Air", is very well written and quite informative. The realization that I have now is that lightning is a much greater threat to all of us, especially those of us that spend as much time as possible outside, than I previously thought.

Having to make a decision about how to handle that threat, a situation which started this thread, is something we should all be prepared to do.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Armchair climber
Sneaking up behind you
May 8, 2008 - 02:48pm PT
I wonder if it has do do with our internal chemistry. The electrolytes, salinity, and small electric pulses in our bodies.

Haven't researched it much, but rumor is that some people are more likely to get struck than others, and that people who get struck will then have a higher chance of getting struck in the future.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 8, 2008 - 03:22pm PT
Electricity or electrons will surge through the past of least resistance. They will also follow other paths with more resistance but in fewer numbers. The lower the resistance, the more current flow (more electrons flowing).

A lightning strike from above will follow the path of least resistance to the Earth (ground). Wearing rubber shoes only increases your resistance to earth ground, it doesn't eliminate it.

I'd imagine that trees are struck so often because they are literally rooted into earth ground even though they're not a great conductor. Their height plays a part but it probably has more to due with a good ground connection.

Due to humans being a better conductor than trees, shoes or insulation from earth ground is pretty key to not becoming a human resistor. If you stood next to a tall tree but were barefoot, I'd bet the lightning would choose your signal path over the trees.

This is what leads me to belive that our chemistry is what attracts the flow of electricty. It has to because electrical signals need to constanlty flow between our brain and neural network. Electrolytes and salinity in our bodies provide the signal path for these essential signals.

It's still good to insulate yourself from earth ground in a storm because the better the insulation, the less current flow through your body. The difference between getting badly shocked and getting fried like a bug in one of those bug zappers.

Carrying around a rack full of metal doesn't help either.

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
May 8, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
I think the path lighting takes isn't so much the path of least resistance, rather it is the path of highest potential between the clouds and the ground. If it were merely the path of least resistance it would be a simple simple shortest straight shot between the cloud to the ground, but we all know lighting strikes aren't nearly so orderly.

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
May 8, 2008 - 11:06pm PT
Actually not all metal is bad.

If you are worried about lightning, you need a golf club in your rack. Not just any golf club.

It has to be a one iron.

As Lee Trevino noted,

"Even God can't hit a one iron."

fist clamp
May 9, 2008 - 03:04am PT
Do people with hemochromotosis (sp) need to be especially careful?
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
May 12, 2008 - 06:23pm PT

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 12, 2008 - 08:22pm PT
That's a pretty sweet picture, thanks for adding it.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2008 - 02:56am PT
that photo is awesome and amazing for a few reasons. one of which is that it looks like the strike is happening not at the top, or at the cables. its striking near the very spot we were hanging out for 45 minutes a few hundred feet above the top of snake dike trying to decide to go down or not... next time ill go faster!!!!
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
May 13, 2008 - 12:38pm PT
Sorry I couldn't resist... the photos a fake.

I found it on google Earth, some amazing shots around Yosemite.

Here's another photoshop version

However I just read a story about a lightning strike in British Columbia Magazine about Bugaboo Spire in the 1950s or so. Chris you did the right thing getting out of there. Same thing was happening to them, energy all around. Then BAM!. Two dead. Epic retreat etc. The energy travels along the surface of the rock not into the mountain.
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