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Beat the Heat- Climbing in the Summer

Justin Jaeger on Terradactyl in Upper Chaos Canyon, RMNP. Music by Sofo

Summer time is my favorite time to climb, but the conditions can make sending hard. At my home crag of Eldorado Springs, routes are graded by the heat, like “If you climb it once the sun comes around that corner, it’s a grade harder”. To climb in the heat, I remember to SPEW.


Okay, SPEWing is a corny acronym I just made up, but hear me out…

Shade-Stay out of the sun, simply enough. But remember there are a number of ways to stay in the shade. North facing routes are an obvious choice, but narrow canyons, or areas with abundant trees also work.

Working the crux of Skipper D. Photo= Matt Merrill

Protection– Bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen (or this might happen).

Elevation- I’ve heard the temperature goes down 2.5 degrees for every thousand feet of elevation gain. So an area like Chaos Canyon in RMNP is about 10-15 degrees cooler than the surrounding plains.

The hike to Upper Chaos Canyon, RNMP. Photo= Matt Merrill

Water– Of course you’ll need to drink water (or sports drinks) in the heat. But don’t forget about the evaporative cooling effects of water. In a dry climate, a wet cotton shirt (or hat) may be up to 15 degree cooler than the surrounding air. Additionally, the thermal coefficient of water will facilitate faster heat transfer from your body than air ( 70 degree water sucks your heat away faster than 70 degree air- all other things being equal).

The Meadow Boulder, Upper Chaos Canyon, RMNP

sock hands - word, thanks for the video link… good hanging w/ you. i should have a few photos up soon, including some shots from skipper dAugust 17, 2009 – 5:43 am

sock hands -

boom, bish!August 18, 2009 – 12:08 pm

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