Colorado avalanche group: ‘Every inch of avalanche terrain is extremely dangerous today’
UPDATE at 3:38 p.m.: A backcountry recreationist was captured in an avalanche near Jones Pass, off US 40 near Berthoud Falls, according to Ethan Greene of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The individual’s condition is currently unknown.
Greene noted that the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office has responded to the incident.
UPDATE at 1:40 p.m.: Another avalanche recently slid down a path on Mt. Royal in Frisco, though it was much smaller than the slide that tore through Mt. Victoria earlier this morning and didn’t impact any buildings, according to Charles Pitman of the Summit Rescue Group.
Lauren Hitchell, owner of Studio B Dance Studio in Frisco, captured the slide in a short video.
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A massive avalanche tore open a new path near Peak 1 in Frisco this morning, adding to concerns about slide danger after another avalanche hit a gas pipeline near Copper Mountain earlier today. Summit Rescue Group Spokesman Charles Pitman said they believe the slide hit near Mt. Victoria, near the J Chute, and stopped somewhere above Rainbow Lake.
The rescue group doesn’t believe anyone was caught in the slide, and there won’t be any search and rescue response. There are no additional road closures as a result of the avalanche.
“Its going to continue to be ugly out there,” said Pitman. “We’re hoping that people don’t go to the backcountry today.”
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has declared “historic” avalanche conditions, raising avalanche danger levels to “Extreme” (5 out of 5) for four different backcountry zones for the first time since it started using the ten zone forecasting system. The CAIC has warned everyone to stay out of avalanche terrain, as every single inch of it is now considered hazardous. Avalanche Warnings are in place for the Front Range, Steamboat and Flat Tops, Vail and Summit County, Sawatch, Aspen, Gunnison, Grand Mesa, and San Juan Mountains.
“Every inch of avalanche terrain is extremely dangerous today,” CAIC posted in a statement on their website Thursday. “Avalanches are running to valley floors and some are exceeding historic run outs…Typical trails and routes may not account for the potential size and consequence of avalanches today.”
“CAIC is saying extreme avalanche conditions,” added Pitman. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. Natural avalanches are going to start coming down everywhere.”
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