As my ice axe began to crackle...
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...I snapped this picture and started to get the hell out of Dodge!
(The view is southwest along the ridges of Two Ocean Mountain, across the Mount Leidy Highlands, and to the Gros Ventre Range.)
I had read stories like this before, of ice axes and other metal equipment seeming to pick up a charge as an electrical storm approached, but it was quite different actually experiencing it. There I was, standing near the summit block, sizing up a shot with the dramatic storm clouds, and yapping to my climbing partner-- probably about how I wasn't too worried that the storm would hit us anytime soon-- when there was a strange crackling sound that turned out to be coming from the ice axe strapped to my pack.
We beat a quick retreat from the mountain, and the crackling was gone within seconds. Then the storm hit us, but it was either a weak one or we missed the brunt, because we only got hit with a few minutes of rain and very light snow pellets.
Absaroka Range, WY-- June 2009