CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2018/10/15 - Colorado - South of South Arapaho Peak, Indian Peaks

Published 2018/10/16 by Spencer Logan - Forecaster, CAIC


Avalanche Details

  • Location: South of South Arapaho Peak, Indian Peaks
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2018/10/15 (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: One hiker caught, injured
  • Primary Activity: Hiker
  • Primary Travel Mode: Foot

Number

  • Caught: 1
  • Fully Buried: 0
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 0

Avalanche

  • Type: SS
  • Trigger: AF - Foot penetration
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R2
  • Size - Destructive Force: D1.5
  • Sliding Surface: --

Site

  • Slope Aspect: S
  • Site Elevation: 11400 ft
  • Slope Angle: 35 °
  • Slope Characteristic: Unsupported Slope

Weather Summary

Clear skies. 0 to low 10's in the morning, high of 15 in the afternoon. Aspect: south

Accident Summary

A hiker left from the 4th of July trail head. He hiked up the Arapaho Pass and Arapaho Glacier Trails to about 11,500 feet. At that elevation recent snow became too deep to make progress and he decided to descend. To avoid deeper drifts of snow, the hiker moved off trail and descended down a rocky, convex slope.

At about 10:30 the hiker postholed through about four feet of drifted snow. He watched the avalanche fracture above and to the east of him. The majority of the avalanche ran through a gully to the east of the hiker. The avalanche swept him over several cliffs 10 to 15 feet high. He was carried about 150 vertical feet and injured. He hiked out and drove himself to a hospital and said he suffered "cuts, bruises, and a fractured pelvis."

The hiker described the maximum crown depth as three to four feet. The slab was drifted snow from a storm on October 14, and the bed surface from an earlier storm.

"Avy season hit me by surprise today," the hiker said. 

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