A skier triggered avalanche on Red Pass near Silverton, Colorado injured two skiers and covered the highway, US 550 on February 13th. The avalanche triggered was a large wet slab that buried the road in 12-15 FEET of avalanche debris. The skiers who were caught in the slide sustained minor injuries, but luckily there were no deaths. The slide was a result of the recent bout of uncharacteristically warm weather that has been lingering in the San Juan’s for over the last week now.
According to CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) the avalanche occurred on a southern aspect above treeline at 12,200′. The avalanche has been ranked a R3, D3. The R-scale reflects how much of the aspect slid in relationship to the entire aspect and the D-scale reflects the destructive power of the slide. Both scales are 1-5.
The slide occurred mid-day on February 16th and CDOT spent the remainder of the day using heavy machinery to clear out the sizable amount of carnage. At this point, Red Mountain Pass is back open. Just a friendly reminder to all who drive it on a regular basis- stay safe out there!