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July 4, 2020

In response to questions on the locations of various snowslides and snow events, Silver World asked local graphics artist Patrice Palmer to prepare this map late last Wednesday, March 13.


Avalanche Info Center Reduces
Local, State Levels to Moderate…

Avalanche warnings in all areas of the state, including the Lake City area in the north San Juan sector, have been downgraded to Level 2-Moderate as of Tuesday, March 26.
Concerns due to recent heavy snows on an unstable base still remain in Lake City, according to Commissioner Kristie Borchers with the Emergency Operations Center.
As a result of those concerns, Hinsdale County Road 20 from the ATV staging area onward remains closed to the public due to the continuing avalanche danger.
Also still closed are upper portions of County Road 30 on the upper Lake Fork from Wager Gulch to Sherman, and Lake City Ski Hill.
Also remaining closed is the Waterdog Lake Trail.
Other areas were evaluated as of last Saturday, March 23, and reopened to the public. Monte Queen Subdivision at Vickers Ranch had been downgraded to an Area of Concern with voluntary evacuation last week, but as of Saturday all restrictions were removed.
Monte Queen Subdivision has seven homes, three of which are occupied.
The county’s Emergency Operations Center, located in the commissioners’ meeting room at Coursey Annex, was a beehive of activity keeping track of the unfolding emergency situation beginning with the slide which demolished the Justin Casey house on Tuesday, March 12, and continuing until mid-week last week.
A third public information session was held in the Armory on Monday, March 18, and at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, the Emergency Operations Center closed.
Pro-active response to the emergency continues this week, including a Trauma Response Presentation and group discussion conducted by Gunnison’s Center for Mental Health and Solutions Wellness Center, Montrose, which was held at Lake City Area Medical Center on Monday, March 25.
According to Borchers, as Public Information Officer for the EOC, residents should remain vigilant for four environmental factors which could elevate the avalanche danger: a significant snow event, or rain on snow, or a succession of two to three nights when the temperature is above freezing. A fourth factor now added to the mix is a return of snowslides.
Snowslide activity serves as a barometer for additional slides, and residents should be on the lookout — and report to the county — if they observe new snowslides taking place.
In its downgrade to a Level 2 – Moderate avalanche danger warning for the south San Juans,
Colorado Avalanche Center states the warning level reflects “Heightened avalanche conditions on
specific terrain features… evaluate snow and terrain carefully.”
A multi-page timeline of snowslide events which have occurred since early March makes for fascinating reading and indeed represents unprecedented snowslide activity in the Lake City area.
According to Borchers, a total of 24 slides have occurred — both far and near, some relatively small and others, such as the T-Mountain Gulch and Gladiator slides, of truly gargantuan proportions.
A listing of the slides and date of occurrence, per the report, is as follows:
March 4 – two slides on Station 11 Mountain to the east of Lake City, one blocking the Tri-State Transmission access road and another knocking down part of the perimeter fence at electric substation.
March 8 – Turkey Foot Slide blocks Highway 149 on Slumgullion Pass; adjacent to the Turkey Foot Slide, another unnamed slide was also observed which did not reach Highway 149.
March 9 – T-Mountain Gulch Slide crosses Henson Creek and blocks CR 20.
March 10 – The Modoc Slide, also on Henson Creek, was observed.
March 12 – Sunshine Slide near Sherman destroys Justin Casey house; Hammond Meadow Slide at Bucksnort Ranch blocks CR 30; two upper slides above the Monte Queen Subdivision are reported.
March 13 – snowslide on Station 11 Mountain damages Schuyler Denham residence; Gladiator Slide blocks CR 30 below Lake San Cristobal; two lower Monte Queen snowslides cover Highway 149 between Vickers Ranch and Hummingbird Lane.
March 14 – an upper Alpine Gulch slide is reported, also a small slide on North Bluff Street in Lake City. Reports of the Fannie Fern Slide blocking CR 20. Reports of a large slide between the Fannie Fern and Alpine Gulch, possibly in vicinity of Risorgimento Mine.
March 15 – a snowslide is reported on Cataract Gulch on the upper Lake Fork.
March 17 – snowslide blocks access to a portion of the Alpine Vista Subdivision on the upper Lake Fork.
March 19 – From the Hermit Lake Overlook, a snowslide is reported on 13,830’ Rio Grande Pyramid on the upper Rio Grande.

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