People Caught In Weekend Avalanche Inside Rocky Mountain National Park
The Colorado avalanche season is not over.
Over the weekend up to 4 people were caught in an avalanche in Rocky Mountain National Park. According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the official avalanche forecast is "Low" for the Colorado mountain high country, however, the danger remains even this last in the season. The 4 victims caught in the slide weren't seriously injured.
There were several slides reported in the park over the weekend. Most were in and around the Emerald Lake area of the park. It's a popular hiking and snowshoeing destination. That part of the park had received an additional nine inches of snow just last week.
The victims were caught in what's called "wet slab" slide. These avalanches occur when a weak layer in the snowpack becomes moist, wet, or saturated. The wet snow loses strength, and the snow above fails and creates the avalanche. Recent temperatures in the park were between 22 and 42 degrees making for heavy, wet snow that sits on top of frozen crust and that's what gave way.
Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says the avalanche danger in the park remains "...significant, and backcountry visitors should stay away from steep, snow-covered terrain." For more information on the park's avalanche, snow, and trail conditions, click HERE.
Credit: Out There Colorado