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Colorado’s Red Mountain Pass to Close Indefinitely Because of Avalanches

Editor's Note: TGR understands the inherent risks with winter backcountry activity and urges anyone going out to have the proper knowledge, equipment, a partner, and a plan. For more information on how to stay safe in the backcountry, check out TGR’s annual Safety Week series.

The words “historic” and “unprecedented” have been thrown around to describe the current avalanche cycle holding Colorado’s mountains firmly in its grasp. Highway 550m connecting Ouray with Silverton via Red Mountain Pass got absolutely pummeled by avalanches over the past few days – most of which were set off intentionally by avalanche control experts. Up to 60 feet of snow were deposited on the road – prompting an indefinite closure of the Highway until conditions are safe enough to clear the road.

RELATED: Backountry Skier Dies on Colorado's Jones Pass During Historic Avalanche Cycle

Avalanches deposited so much snow that snow sheds (structures covering the road beneath known avy paths) were completely filled with debris. CAIC and CDOT issued the following statement:

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.

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