No injuries or damage after avalanche closes Loveland Pass Thursday |

No injuries or damage after avalanche closes Loveland Pass Thursday

Ryan Spencer
Summit Daily
Avalanche debris spilled onto Loveland Pass on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
Debbie Tolany/Courtesy photo

An avalanche spilled onto Loveland Pass on Thursday, May 4, closing the roadway for a little more than two hours, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Around 5:15 p.m., the slide overran both lanes of traffic on U.S. Highway 6 near mile marker 288.5, closer to the Exit 216 entrance onto the pass, CDOT Communications Manager Presley Fowler said.

The road was undamaged, and no one was hurt or buried.

A closure was in place until about 7:40 p.m. when cleanup was completed, Fowler said. The transportation department’s avalanche team assessed the slide and did further avalanche mitigation before reopening the road, he added.

Backcountry users should be aware of avalanche conditions as well as known slide paths along the highway, which are clearly signed, Fowler said.

“Thank goodness we hadn’t been arrived at that point a few minutes earlier,” said Denver resident Debbie Tolany, who was driving to with her son to their mountain house near Montezuma. “I have only lived here a couple of years, so that was my first time seeing the aftermath of an avalanche.”

A field report on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website describes the avalanche as a “natural loose wet avalanche in the Seven Sisters.” The Seven Sisters are a set of chutes that are a particularly active avalanche area that crosses the highway.

If drivers encounter an avalanche or powder cloud awhile driving, they should reduce speeds, pull over to the shoulder if possible, turn off their vehicle but remain in it, he said.

Drivers should also be prepared with an emergency kit — with jumper cables, an ice scraper, flares or reflective triangles, cat litter or sand for traction, a portable cellphone charger, a blanket, map, food and water — and adequate traction, Fowler said.

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