Author Topic: Seattle To Missoula Prevalent Winds  (Read 2597 times)

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Offline westseattle

Seattle To Missoula Prevalent Winds
« on: April 07, 2013, 09:41:27 pm »
I'm trying to decide whether I should go from Seattle to Missoula or Missoula to Seattle. I ABHOR headwinds. Which direction will give me the most tailwinds?

Mille grazie.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Seattle To Missoula Prevalent Winds
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 10:18:05 pm »
It's a crap shoot. There will probably be a historical bias for one direction, but in any given year, anything is possible. Also, the historical data will be different for different months, so it depends on when you're going.

It also varies along the route, but suppose I pick Spokane (about midway) as a representative sample, and let me pick the month of July at random. The bias for wind direction for July in Spokane is from the southwest. That suggests you might get some slight benefit of going west to east, but the benefit is just a probability and will likely be small. You will still get some headwinds, and those crosswinds will feel like headwinds anyway.

Note that if I were to pick January instead of July, the bias is exactly opposite. There are slightly stronger winds from the northeast in January, although winds from the southwest are in very close second place.

In April, the southwest bias is even stronger than it is in July. In October, the winds come from almost every direction except the northwest, with southwest and northeast winds still occurring more often than other directions, although there are also a lot of winds from the south.

Winter is significantly windier in Spokane than summer, so choosing the season is more of a factor than choosing the direction. I doubt you'd want to go in winter anyway, and July and August are the least windy, so that's probably when you want to go.

Bottom line: Use some other criteria to decide which direction to go.


  • Guest
Re: Seattle To Missoula Prevalent Winds
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 03:05:11 pm »
Are you planning to follow ACA's Pacific Coast, Nothern Tier and Great Parks routes between Seattle and Missoula? (I have done it. It makes for a nice ride, especially if you take a few extra days and go to Glacier National Park to ride up and back down the west side of Going to the Sun Road.) If so, the more important question you might want to consider is how much of a warm up do you need before you hit the mountains. Taking the above-mentioned route west to east will have you crossing the North CVascades Highway on about the 5th day. After that, you have 3 more passes pretty much in a row unless you ride short days. Going the other direction, you won't have any mountain roads othern than GTS (if you decide to do it) for a while. And even there you could leave you gear in camp for the up and down ride of GTS.

If you gert an early start eaxh day you can often minimize the amount of wind you have to deal with.