Southern Colorado Avalanche Report & Forecast

The backcountry steeps of the South San Juan Mountains surrounding Durango are ideal for avalanches. Anyone heading into the backcountry around Durango should understand the risks, and be well educated in Avalanche safety. You should have the proper gear and training to not only survive an avalanche, but hopefully avoid getting caught in an avalanche in the first place.

If you don’t fall into the ‘ready’ category, you can still enjoy our local ski resorts, sledding hills or some gentle cross country skiing or snowshoeing.

The following Durango Avalanche report is published daily by the awesome folks at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center where you can find a full report for Southern Colorado, as well as the other avalanche zones of Colorado.

Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 6:59 AM
Issued by: Bill Nalli

Today

 

Tomorrow

Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
  Danger Scale

  • No Rating
  • 1
    Low
  • 2
    Moderate
  • 3
    Considerable
  • 4
    High
  • 5
    Extreme

Summary

Triggering a large avalanche two to three feet deep into old, weak faceted snow remains our most dangerous avalanche problem. Slopes steeper than 35 degrees facing west through north to east are where you’re most likely to find this threat. These slabs are becoming more stubborn but if you happen to find the wrong spot, slides will be large enough to bury, injure, or kill you. If venturing onto steep slopes it is essential to evaluate for, and avoid, this stiff slab over weaker, faceted-snow structure.  

A light dusting of new snow overnight has added one to two inches in favored locations near Wolf Creek Pass. Moderate southwest wind Friday and overnight has created shallow new wind drifts on north through east-facing slopes in the alpine and small avalanches are possible there. Also watch for shallow wet slides on southerlies as the day heats up. Want one more thing to watch out for? Cornices have grown larger and more fragile in the past few weeks so give these cranky beasts some extra distance, especially as temperatures get warmer. Safer riding can be found on wind-sheltered slopes less than 35 degrees out of the sun.

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If you are recreating, please do so responsibly. This includes following social distancing requirements, not taking actions that risk pulling emergency service workers away from the important work they’re doing, or compromising their ability to continue that work. Learn more about the CAIC’s work during the pandemic here.

Governor Polis issued a Statewide Stay-at-Home order on March 25, 2020 - Learn more here

Many of Colorado’s counties have issued public health orders that affect travel and recreation. You can start your search for local information here. Here is some information for this zone: San Miguel County, San Juan County, Ouray County, and Hinsdale County

 

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 12:08 PM by Brian Lazar Statewide Weather Forecast
  Saturday Night Sunday Sunday Night
Temperature (ºF) 23 to 28 38 to 43 23 to 28
Wind Speed (mph) 7 to 17 15 to 25 8 to 18
Wind Direction SW SW WSW
Sky Cover Partly Cloudy Mostly Clear Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

You can also listen to avalanche forecast recordings from CAIC using the player in the sidebar to the right.

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