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Hikers experience electric shocks on Colorado 14ers over the weekend

Posted: 10:25 PM, Jul 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-13 15:43:17-04
hair raising on mount evans.jpg

DENVER -- Hikers on two different mountains this weekend experienced electrical shocks and currents so strong it left their hair standing straight up.

Lori Corliss is an experienced hiker. She and a group of over 30 hikers were on the summit of Mt. Princeton at about 10:30 a.m. when they started feeling shocks on their skin.

She says they all started running for their lives off the summit.

“We all started feeling our hair standing up, skin was tingling. Everything was zapping us, the backpacks, the poles. We said 'everybody run!“ Corliss said.

On Mt. Evans Sunday, a similar situation unfolded with John Savage and Anna Duncan. They left early, checked the forecast and brought the right gear. When the clouds started coming in near the summit, they headed for safety. That's when Anna snapped a photo of John's hair standing straight up.

“My walking poles would tingle and there would be a shock about 50 volts from the metal to my hand; that was crazy, I didn’t realize my hair was up on end,” Savage said.

If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is create space between yourself and others, ditch any metal poles or objects and avoid solitary trees. As a last resort adopt the lightning position by crouching down on the balls of your feet and place your hands over your ears, like so.

If the electricity is in your hair, that is a dangerous sign.

“That’s literally ionized particles going right to the end of your hair and waving at the heavens saying, 'strike me now,'” Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson said. “You are perhaps milliseconds away from being hit by lightning."