‘Large,’ ‘dangerous’ avalanches possible in Summit County, warning says | SummitDaily.com

‘Large,’ ‘dangerous’ avalanches possible in Summit County, warning says

Dense slabs of recently fallen snow are resting ‘precariously’ on top of weak layers near the ground in Summit County, according to a warning issued for the Gore and Front ranges by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. 

Observers for the center reported dozens of avalanches for the region encompassing Summit County north of Breckenridge. At least two people were caught in the slides near Berthoud Pass but survived without injuries. 

An avalanche is pictured on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, while looking across the Straight Creek drainage of Summit County. Backcountry travelers collapsed the weak snow low in the avalanche path producing cracks in the snow that shot uphill.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Courtesy photo

Conditions are expected to grow more dangerous on Monday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 6, since more snow and strong winds are in the forecast. Both days are listed as a Level 4 out of a five-point scale. 

Backcountry travelers can expect to trigger a “large” and “dangerous” avalanche on, near or below steep northerly and easterly facing slopes at all elevations, which means areas below, near and above the tree line in the mountains. The danger is the same at all elevations. 

“We recommend that you do not travel in or near avalanche terrain,” the Colorado Avalanche Center wrote in its report. 

The heavier snow is sitting on top of a layer of “weak, faceted, sugar snow,” that developed during the November dry spell, according to Dylan Craaybeek of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. 

“As the snow starts to collect and this slab thickens and begins to settle, avalanches are going to begin breaking wider, be more destructive and it’s going to be more dangerous as this slab begins to develop,” Craaybeek said.

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