The CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) Website is a great resource for backcountry avalanche information and forecasts. Providing specific info for different zones throughout Colorado including the Northern San Juans, CAIC is a great go-to for anyone in the Telluride area venturing into the backcountry as well as some of the steeper in-bounds terrain. For their forecasts, the CAIC developed the Danger Rose which is a super-useful tool to gauge the current avalanche threat. The following is a description of the Danger Rose from the CAIC website.
“Developed by the CAIC, the Avalanche Danger Rose is a quick, visual representation of the backcountry avalanche danger. The rose is not a map of danger in the zone. Instead, rose represents slope aspect and elevation, and the colors represent the danger ratings for those slopes and elevations. Imagine looking down on a cone-shaped mountain. On the Zone Forecast pages, clicking on the red question mark will run an animated demonstration of this. The 3-nested circles represent elevations. The outside ring represents terrain below treeline. The middle ring represents terrain at treeline, and the inside circle represents terrain above treeline. The colors follow the Avalanche Danger Scale.”
Here are a few examples of the Danger Rose,
|This danger rose to the right represents the backcountry avalanche danger for all slopes below treeline at moderate. At treeline the danger on SW to W to NW aspects is also moderate; however, on N to E to S aspects the danger at treeline is considerable. Above treeline the danger on S to W to NW aspects is considerable. On N to E to SE aspects above treeline the danger is high.|
|This danger rose to the right shows a low danger with pockets of moderate for all slopes below treeline. The danger for all slopes at treeline is low. Above treeline the danger is moderate with pockets of considerable danger on N to E to SE aspects|
Here is the link to the Northern San Juan Avalanche Forecast Page, a great site to bookmark and
their phone number for daily recorded forecasts- 970-247-8187.
The CAIC began in 1973 as the Colorado Avalanche Warning Center and is the oldest public avalanche forecast program in the United States.