Red Mountain Pass, CO: Closed for Foreseeable Future

Curtis Weller | | AvalancheAvalanche
people snow shed
CDOT employees providing some scale to the massive amount of snow in the Riverside snow shed. Photo Credit: CDOT

The crazy just keeps coming. The wettest winter in recorded American history has produced a voluptuous Colorado snowpack and dangerous avalanche conditions. Avalanche mitigation work by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on Red Mountain Pass between Silverton & Ouray produced a slide so large CDOT has abandoned plans to reopen the pass. Several more feet of snow are in the immediate forecast for the San Juan Mountains. It is not even mid-March. Red Mountain Pass might be closed for a while. Plan accordingly.

We are describing it as “incredible and daunting” and it will keep US 550 Red Mt. Pass CLOSED.

Yesterday, helicopter avalanche control operations were performed on more than 20 avalanche paths on three mountain passes in SW CO. As a result of this mitigation, incredible amounts of snow and debris hit the road and require the continued and indefinite closure of Red Mt. Pass.

Of great concern is the West Riverside slide which brought down 40 to 60 feet of new snow onto the highway and filled the Riverside snow shed.

These significant runs only reinforce the high avalanche danger warnings issued this week by our partnering agency the Colorado Avalanche Information Center – CAIC, along with our decision to close this pass for safety.


holy cow
There are a road and a snowshed somewhere in this photo. Photo Credit: CDOT
a lot o snow
A look inside the Riverside snow shed. Photo Credit: CDOT
a lot of snow
Colorado’s current snowpack. Credit: NRCS

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