Illness is the number one cause of failure on an expedition, but weather is a close second, and it’s not always in the form of a massive snow dump or rainstorm. Rain or running melt water can derail major rock missions, while hot weather combined with south-facing snow or serac-filled icefields can create a deadly scenario. Then there’s the weather effect on your multiple legs of travel. Flights get delayed, and roads get washed out. Beyond objective hazards and time delays, the conditions might make your climb impossible. It’s best to be mentally prepared for these disappointing situations, going in with low expectations. You can’t change the weather, but you can change your attitude. Weather predictions will never be 100% accurate, but here are few tools and pointers from experts Garrett Madison and Luke Smithwick to prepare you for the most capricious element of your expedition.
He suggests to read up on general weather patterns on the web, in guidebooks, and, if possible, seek advice. “In many of the places I visit, the weather varies so much from location to location because there’s always a subtle, local effect. If you're going to 8,000 meters, forecasters are pretty good at predicting windows of good weather. But below that it's really hard to forecast on a day-to-day basis beyond a 36-hour period. So I look at historic patterns and even call up a local farmer or guide.”