“Sometimes people say D5 avalanches don’t happen in the lower 48 expect maybe on Mt. Rainer but this is probably a D5. I think there was another D5 on Gothic in 1995.” –Art Mears
Leading avalanche consultant Art Mears surveyed the avalanche debris from the historic slide that swept down from Highlands Ridge into Conundrum Creek Valley last weekend and described it as a 300 year event.
“This is definitely a big one for Colorado.”
After his survey Mears said the only comparable slide he has seen in his long career in Colorado struck the Gothic area near Crested Butte in 1995.CAIC rated the slide a 4.5 out of 5 on the avalanche destruction scale but Mears said the destructive potential is difficult to assess until the snow melts. When the ground is clear of snow surveying the date the age of the large conifers the avalanche took out can give a more accurate measure.
Scott Condon wrote an excellent in depth breakdown for Vail Daily detailing the circumstances of the slide. READ ENTIRE VAIL DAILY ARTICLE HERE.
images from Colorado Avalanche Information Center