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Winter trip across Trail Ridge Road?

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Winter trip across Trail Ridge Road?

Postby marcdurant » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:18 pm


I search the archives but didn't find anything.

I'm thinking about doing an east to west trip across RMNP in the next month or two. I would probably follow Trail Ridge Road most of the way.

Does anyone have specific knowledge about avalanche paths across Trail Ridge Road? I can guess, looking at a topo, but I'm hoping for actual info from plow drivers, or people who have been up there a lot.

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Postby Bill Reed » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:56 am

Don't have any specific knowledge other than driving over it many times, but since your post is 10 hours old with no responses, I'll give you my two cents.
I can't think of a place along the road that would be prone to avalanche. North side has a fairly steep slope but I wouldn't think it would load up with snow because,.... it faces north. West side is steep but has much timber. If you went up Fall River Road, I suppose there could be some risk in the upper portions but not much because there's not much above you.
Biggest issue in crossing I think, would be exposure to wind and whiteout.
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Postby Kiefer » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:27 am

Gotta agree with everything that Bill said.
Winds will prolly be your main contingent.
Normally, I'd say watch the western descent but with the heavy forest on that side, you should be ok.

Another option that would cut off A LOT of distance is to take Old Fall River Road. This is something I've thought about for a long time but of course, this approach involves a significantly higher degree of avy potential.

Great idea by the way! 8)
If you push through with this, ya migt want to give park staff a head's up you'll be up there.
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Postby marcdurant » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:01 pm

Thanks for the ideas.

The wind is one of the reasons I'd go east to west. If it gets nasty heading into the wind, you can retreat with the wind at your back, over terrain you've already visited.

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Postby marcdurant » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:47 am

Hiked up the first six miles of the road on Sunday. Naturally the clouds rolled in and visibility dropped to 100', so I didn't get a good look at the slopes higher up. Saw some small natural slides down in Hanging Valley, on the SE side of Sundance mtn, along with some heavily loaded NE facing slopes.

A close examination of the topo map indicates a number of spots where the road crosses slopes with angles between 27% and 40%. Most stretches aren't too long except for a two-mile stretch just after Fall River road joins up. That one could be bypassed by cutting down on the Ute trail from the Gore Range overlook.

In any case, looks like I'll put the trip off for a month or so to let things settle down up there.

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trail ridge

Postby Rich McFadden » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:27 am

Just skied across Trail Ridge road at Hidden Valley area on north side of RMNP. Conditions were windpack and solid. I can't envision any avalanche threats along the road OR the Old Road. I've biked up the Old road before in spring with snow on it. Not once did I see an avy threat. Just do it and enjoy!
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