Warm temperatures making snow slide
SUMMIT COUNTY – Two ice climbers were caught – but escaped burial – in an avalanche south of Hoosier Pass Sunday, the result of warm, spring-like temperatures that have softened snow on all aspects and slopes throughout the state.
Avalanche forecasters expect this week’s warmer weather to result in possible avalanches on all aspects and slopes throughout the state.
According to Nick Logan with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), a high-pressure system is moving across the state, bringing with it higher temperatures that are softening snow.
Three avalanches, most likely triggered by high winds over the weekend, were reported near Hoosier and Boreas passes south of Breckenridge. They were among 33 in the northern mountains. Nineteen of those were natural releases.
Ten slides were reported in the central mountains, and four in the southern mountains, including one triggered by snowshoers who were caught and partially buried.
Fractures ranged from 1 to 15 feet deep.
Weather today should be mostly clear with high temperatures up to 42 and lows in the teens and mid-20s. Wednesday should be cloudy with a chance of widely scattered showers and high temperatures ranging from 24 to 34.
The higher temperatures will likely bring more wet snowslides on sunny aspects beginning in the late mornings, Logan said.
Also, light and moderate winds Sunday near Loveland Pass and other high elevations could result in shallow slides, especially on northeast and southeast aspects, cross-drifted slopes and gullies.
Avalanche danger in the Front Range, Vail and Summit County areas is moderate with areas of considerable at all aspects and elevations, Logan said.
“Moderate” conditions means human-triggered slides are possible, and large, deep slides are unlikely. “Considerable” means natural and human-triggered slides are probable, and large, deep avalanches are possible.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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