CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A backcountry skier sustained no injuries after triggering an avalanche near the top of Jones Pass on Friday. The skier filed an anonymous report with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center that was posted early Saturday morning.
In it, the skier and a partner wrote that they traveled along Jones Pass Road approaching the crest of the pass at almost 12,500 feet elevation.
“Right near where the road meets a corniced ridge at the top, the snow become very reactive,” the skier stated in the report. “A big wind-slab sitting over the road just below the cornice near the top was the problem…avalanche broke right on this slope.”
The pair was “skinning” on skis, an alpine touring technique using traction strips on skis to climb terrain before removing them for descent. The lead skier reported the slide broke “all around him.” The skier deployed an avalanche airbag and was carried between 50 and 60 feet downhill.
“The slide crown was approximately two feet and the avalanche could have easily buried someone if it had propagated down the slope and picked up speed,” he wrote.
Another skier in a section slightly to the north of Jones Pass sent the CAIC a photo of the fresh yet unstable conditions encountered there, also on Friday.
A skier perished in a Jones Pass avalanche last March.