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Backcountry avalanche warning in Colorado

Avalanche danger is high across much of the Colorado high country.

Natural and triggered slides likely in the mountains

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Most mountain backcountry areas in Colorado are under an avalanche warning Sunday after more than 12 inches of new snow brought a sketchy early season snowpack to the tipping point.

Forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center say that a widespread cycle of natural and triggered avalanches is likely. Backcountry travelers will easily trigger slides on most aspects and elevations and avalanches will also be easily triggered from a distance of 100 feet or more.

The avalanche danger is in the red zone, rated as high, in all mountain areas but the Sawatch and south San Juans, where it’s rated as considerable.

From the Summit County warning:

“The largest avalanches will occur on slopes facing north through east to southeast near and above treeline. Widespread but smaller avalanches are likely on all other slopes.”

The CAIC has listed reports of 15 avalanches since Jan. 19, including two in the Loveland Pass area and several more from East Vail to the Shrine Pass area. More info at the CAIC website.

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Colorado: Avalanche warning in the San Juans

Avalanche warning in effect for parts of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Click on the map for details.

Slides likely across most of the zone; more snow expected through Wednesday

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Backcountry travelers in the San Juans need to be extra-cautious the next few days, as heavy snowfall has prompted an avalanche warning covering the southern portion of the northern San Juans zone, from Red Mountain Pass northward, west to near Telluride and east to Wolf Creek Pass. For now, the warning is in effect through 12 p.m., Dec. 14.

Between eight to 12 inches of snow have already fallen in the area, and after a lull Tuesday morning, more heavy snow is expected, with another six to eight inches possible across parts of the southern and central mountains by Wednesday morning. Resort snow totals reported at the Colorado Ski Country USA website include eight inches at Purgatory, and six inches at Silverton Mountain and Wolf Creek. Continue reading

Fresh snow, backcountry avalanche warnings in Colorado

The Saturday morning satellite image shows one storm leaving Colorado with another impressive blob of moisture gathering over the Pacific Northwest.

Backcountry travel not recommended in  Front Range, Vail and Summit-area mountains

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Friday night’s storm delivered the good across most of Colorado, dropping anywhere from 6 to 14 inches at ski resorts from Steamboat to Monarch. In a pattern that’s typical of a La Niña year, the moisture moved in from the northwest under a strong jet stream, dropping the most snow along the Continental Divide east of Steamboat Springs, with amounts tapering off to the south, where San Juan ski areas only reported a couple of inches.

A backcountry avalanche warning from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is in effect for the Steamboat and Front Range zones, where travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. Under a “high” danger rating, both triggered and natural avalanches are likely in the backcountry. Continue reading

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