Trip Report: Northern San Juans 1.14.15

A trip to Silverton, CO for the AIARE ITC (Instructor Training Course) gave a close look at the conditions on Red Mountain Pass. There was a decent storm event on January 12, 2015 putting down between 10-12″. The weather warmed quickly on January 13th & 14th in to the low 30’s at higher elevations above 12k. As the profile below shows there is a bit of an “Oreo effect” in the snowpack (a weak layer sandwiched between stiffer slabs). It is more pronounced in some areas – particularly the northern aspects.

Snow Profile 1.13.15
Snow Profile 1.13.15

There was some avalanche activity in the northern aspects of the Miller Creek Basin (the hairpin turn on 550 just before the final ascent to Red Mountain Pass proper). These were smaller R1 & R2 slides. There was also some activity on the east aspect of Lookout Peak.

Here’s a look at conditions and snow profiles from the west side of Red Mountain Pass on 1.13.15

On 1.14.15 we opted for an area between Red Mountain #3 and McMillan Peak. Conditions were amazing! Nothing beats the San Juans. I cannot wait for the return trip in April for the Annual Silverton Splitfest!

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