Quandary on Tenmile peak names, Summit County’s record snowfalls


Ah, yes, some of the more cleverly named peaks in the county: Peaks One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Nine.

It took teams of researchers months of hard work and brutal brainstorming. All right, maybe it wasn’t such a painstaking process. There are other peaks in this range, such as Quandary (possibly named after the wisest goat in the world, though not the dominant suggestion), Pacific and Father Dyer (named for the skiing preacher who visited throughout Summit County), along with Wheeler Mountain. But the numbered peaks make up the majority of them.

You see, it seems the Tenmile Range really is part of the Mosquito Range, but there are a couple of important geological features that necessitate viewing them as separate, according to the Summit Post website.

First and most important, the Continental Divide worms its way through the two. This is the easiest way to tell where Mosquito ends and Tenmile begins: Tenmile includes all of the peaks north of the Divide. Also, the Colorado Mineral Belt crosses the range. This is important not only for the geology of the area, but for how the peaks have historically been used.

The Gore and Tenmile ranges are roughly the same age (and, no, this goat wasn’t around when they were mole hills), but they have seen far different uses.

During the mining boom here in the High Country, the majority of claims popped up along the Tenmile Range because the mountains there are far less formidable than the Gore Range mountains, and also because of the Tenmile’s intimate relationship with the Colorado Mineral Belt.

Because the cliff faces on the Gore Range are much rougher than those in the Tenmile, they also have seen less recreational use historically.

Things might change a little moving forward, though, as extreme sports and backcountry blazers have made very little terrain out of bounds.

This is not a suggestion to go for it, but merely an observation; please do not fly off the side of the Gore Range and blame a cranky old goat when it doesn’t go well.

How’s your anticipation? Still excited to hear how the peaks were named? Drum roll please … the Tenmile Range is roughly 10 miles in length, and each of the numbered peaks stands approximately 1 mile apart from its neighbor. A little anti-climatic, isn’t it?


Was last weekend’s dusting not enough? This old goat can certainly appreciate the need for snow, but some of these records might stretch beyond the desirable.

According to the National Weather Service, the largest snowfall on record in Summit County is brought to us by the Green Mountain Dam weather station, and totaled 30.5 inches in one day. This massive total fell on April 4, 1947. Some might be surprised that this large amount came so late in the season, but in fact, January, February and March are the snowiest months in Summit, so 30 inches in April isn’t really a stretch.

If you prefer your records a little closer to home, the Breckenridge weather station recorded its largest snowfall on Oct. 10, 2005, totaling 24.1 inches; this beat out the record of 24 inches set on Dec. 7, 1943, and matched the amount that fell on April 24, 2003. Kudos to all you locals who dug out of those messes, and to all the people who in 20 years will be telling their kids about having to walk to school, uphill in both directions, under 2 feet of snow (whether it happened or not).

Dillon’s largest snowfall on record also matched 24 inches and fell on April 9, 1944.

Now for all the Frisco residents hoping to hear tales of people in the 1800s digging themselves out with nothing but a gold pan and a stick of dynamite, I’m sorry to say you are sadly mistaken. Most of us actually saw the record high for Frisco — 19 inches, which fell on Jan. 31, 2014.

Previously, Frisco’s record was 8 inches in one day, which fell on Sept. 22, 2006; not really much to brag about when you’re talking to the Front Rangers.

Silverthorne’s record total is also 19 inches, which fell on March 3, 2008. Rounding out the county, Keystone has the lowest record total, with 18 inches falling on Jan. 31, 1996.

How all of these different towns have such wildly different records is a bit of a mystery for this old goat, but if you’ve ever ventured throughout the county on a snowy day, it’s easy to see that each area really does have its own climate. On any given day it’s very possible that snow will fall all day in Frisco, and Dillon never sees a flake, or vice versa.

Now if you’re interested in record low temperatures, the Dillon weather station has some dandies on hand. The all-time record for lowest temperature goes back to Jan. 10, 1962, at -44 degrees. The record actually tied the previous low temperature set on Jan. 22, 1940, giving Summit a whopping 74 years above -45 degrees. Not bad considering our neighbor to the north beat this record on the last day of 2014, with Daniel, Wyoming, recording a low temperature of -48 degrees, and no, that does not count the wind chill.

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