Avalanche Warnings in Colorado

Massive Snowstorm Triggers Avalanche Warnings Across Colorado Mountains

DENVER, COLORADO – As a historic snowstorm pummels the Front Range, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) has issued avalanche warnings for several key mountain areas, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness, James Peak Wilderness, Mt. Blue Sky, Pikes Peak, Medicine Bow, Never Summer Mountains, Berthoud, Loveland, and Hoosier Passes.

This extensive warning also covers the southern Sawatch Range down to Monarch Pass and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, indicating a broad spectrum of danger across the state.

Dangerous Conditions and Safety Advisories

A combination of dense, rapidly falling snow and strong easterly winds has created perilous avalanche conditions. The CAIC anticipates numerous avalanches within the storm snow, with some breaking on deeper weak layers and propagating widely across terrain features. These avalanches may run long distances or to valley floors, with many expected to run naturally. Given these conditions, travel in avalanche terrain is strongly discouraged.

Forecast Discussion Highlights

The forecast for Thursday shows impressive snowfall amounts, with over 30 inches of new snow expected on the east side of the Continental Divide and 15 to 20 inches in other affected areas. This unusual weather pattern, driven by strong easterly winds, elevates the risk of avalanches across most of the state. Both sides of the Continental Divide face significant avalanche threats, with travel advice remaining the same: avoid avalanche terrain.

Safety Tips for Avalanche Warnings

  • Avoid Avalanche Terrain: The most effective way to stay safe is to avoid areas prone to avalanches during warnings.
  • Check the Forecast: Stay informed with the latest avalanche forecasts from the CAIC before planning any backcountry travel.
  • Carry Safety Gear: Always carry avalanche safety equipment, including a beacon, probe, and shovel, even if you plan to stay in safer areas.
  • Know the Signs: Be aware of warning signs, such as recent avalanches, cracking snow, and “whumpf” sounds.
  • Educate Yourself: Consider taking an avalanche safety course to learn about recognizing hazardous conditions and rescue techniques.

As Colorado faces this massive snowstorm, the CAIC and local authorities urge everyone to prioritize safety and heed avalanche warnings. Staying informed and prepared can significantly reduce the risk of avalanche accidents.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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