This new app provides forecasts for Colorado’s 14ers

Recently released app OpenSummit, from the folks who also brought you OpenSnow, seamlessly brings hikers weather forecasts for all of Colorado’s 53 14ers (mountains that rise above 14,000 feet and are pretty wicked to summit).

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OpenSummit provides helpful information for Colorado’s 14ers, like tips on what to pack, and when to start—well before sunrise. Photo: Courtesy of Lingyu Xie

On any hike, you can easily run into wind, rain, snow and other crazy elements.

But when you are on a 14er? Most likely you’ll be above treeline and completely exposed, which is where OpenSummit comes in handy for staying safe and prepared.

The idea started in the summer of 2015 when Joel Gratz, Andrew Murray and Sam Collentine began a bi-weekly newsletter that highlighted weather forecasts for regions in Colorado that have multiple 14ers.

After the newsletter followers continued to grow, and the huge success that OpenSnow quickly garnered, it just made sense to turn the newsletter into an app.

“Joe and I both live in Colorado, and we go high alpine hiking often,” says Collentine, the operations manager and forecaster for OpenSummit. “Besides being able to get forecasts for ourselves, we didn’t really find a good resource on desktop or mobile that used good forecasts for Colorado high alpine.”

In early April of this year, work on OpenSummit began. “Now we are taking a forecast that we look at all the time and provide it in a beautiful and improved way for our users to take that data and use it on their adventures,” says Collentine.

The app provides forecasts for chance of lightening, chance of precipitation, summit wind speed and summit temperatures.

If your GPS is turned on, the Basecamp page automatically shows any nearby 14ers, but you can also create a wishlist of the 14ers that you aim to complete.

With the free version of OpenSummit, you’ll get the hourly forecasts for the next two days; for days 3-5, you’ll need to upgrade to the All Access Pass for $19.99 a year.

“We are taking national weather service data that we worked into the back end,” Collentine explains. “That is our number one source, which is good data that isn’t shown very well on the web or on mobile.”

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OpenSummit provides hourly weather data, like chance of lightening, for Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Image: Courtesy of OpenSummit

As the seasons progress, so will the app. Collentine has plans for quick and concise information that will help users plan their entire trips.

“We don’t want to just give you the weather data and then decide for yourself,” he says. “We want to help our users plan their adventures with a personal forecasted trip for the mountains — what time you should be on the mountain, how you should get there, what you should bring with.”

Already, the app has more than just weather content. On the Learn page, you’ll find advice on how to Leave No Trace while hiking, a Gear and Supplies checklist and Lightening Safety Tips.

Another feature of OpenSummit is the Instagram integration, which shows any recent Instagram photos that have been taken near any Colorado 14ers.

That way, not only do you have the projected forecast, but real time trail conditions like if there is snow or mud.

Two hikers heading up the north ridge line to reach the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross.
Two hikers head up the north ridge line to reach the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross at 14,005 feet. Photo: Courtesy of Lingyu Xie

And don’t worry if you loose service up high and in the middle of nowhere — OpenSummit’s latest update includes the ability to still receive projected forecasts even when you are offline.

The app automatically saves weather forecasts once you’ve viewed them and shows when the forecast was last updated so that you can always tell if you are getting the latest data.  

Available for FREE on the App store; Android app coming next summer. 

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