Sobering photos from Cameron Pass |

Sobering photos from Cameron Pass

Local avalanche danger rated moderate

Tom Ross

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— The avalanche danger in northern Colorado has subsided over the last five days in spite of gusty winds Monday night that loaded some slopes.

However, backcountry recreationists seeking a way to avoid complacency need look no further than these photos on a discussion group.

A handful of photographs in the site’s chat rooms show the aftermath of a number of non-injury – but apparently human-caused – slides that took place Dec. 5 on the popular backcountry skiing slopes around the Diamond Peaks.

The area on Cameron Pass is only about 75 miles due east of Steamboat Springs, but is outside the Steamboat zone and in the Front Range zone, as defined by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The center has not published a report about the recent slides. However, it has a current report about snowpack conditions in both zones. The danger here last weekend was considerable Friday and Saturday on all points of the compass but northwest, west and southwest. The danger steadily settled until Wednesday, when it was rated moderate on all aspects.

Avalanche forecaster Ethan Greene reported Wednesday morning that new snow could drift into unusual places on the north and northeast winds. The results could create dangerous slabs on weak snow, he added.

“Although the avalanche danger for the Steamboat zone is generally moderate, the most likely place to trigger an avalanche is on a slope that faces north, northeast, east, southeast, south and southwest and is near and above treeline,” Greene wrote.

The recent avalanches at Diamond Peaks took place just to the southwest of the high point of Cameron Pass. They were slab avalanches, according to Steamboat-based retired avalanche forecaster Art Judson. One large slide broke to the ground.

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