Snowpack is on track – Loche Vale, RMNP ~ 1.1.14

Our Colorado snowpack is looking good so far. I had a chance to skin up to the Loche Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park on New Year’s Day. Between Chaos Couloir and the Loche; I usually use those areas as a barometer for how the snowpack is shaping up in the broader area. While there does exist bottomless powder on some aspects, the underlying snowpack is shaping up quickly. The avalanche danger has been relatively high above treeline so we opted not to venture up to Andrews Glacier or The Gash.

Colorado SNOTEL data 1/2/14
Colorado SNOTEL data 1/2/14

Comparing SNOTEL data for the past six years on Jan 5th intervals, we are looking good in comparison (note these are snow depths, not snow-water equivalent), this data comes from the Bear Lake, RMNP snow telemetry site:

  • 2008 – 27″
  • 2009 – 23″
  • 2010 – 29″
  • 2011 – 37″
  • 2012 – 24″
  • 2013 – 19″
  • 2014 – 35″

As trivia, the deepest snow in the state as of today is:

  • Lake Irene, RMNP (Grand) – 53″
  • Ripple Creek (Rio Blanco) – 58″
  • Schofield Pass (Gunnison) – 59″
  • Silverton Mountain of course takes the lead in ‘inbounds’ base depth snowpack with 100′ at the top, and 53″ middle. The front-ranger resorts (Vail resorts, Intrawest, et al) all reside around a 40″ +/- base depth, with Steamboat leading the way.

As we move early in to 2014 so far the season is looking very promising for snowpack. The couloirs are filling in nicely and for you ice climbers out there – most of the ice is ‘in’ in the Glacier Gorge area.

Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
Loche Vale at Glacier Gorge junction
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