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Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby Liquid Shadow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:23 am

Hi guys, I'm thinking about taking a friend to Chasm Lake in the near future as a mild day hike. I have only been to Chasm Lake in the summer, not the winter, so I have a couple of questions.

In the summer time there is a talus slope just before Mills Moraine that is often covered with snow:
Mills Moraine.jpg
Mills Moraine.jpg (189.17 KiB) Viewed 482 times


Is it safe to cross this slope in the winter in terms of avalanche danger?

Also, if it is generally safe, do you think it's possible to practice ice axe self-arrest on the slope?

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Re: Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby Alpineair » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:44 am

That slope can slide and I have seen warnings posted when the danger is high. If you are not certain about the stability you can try to cross it along the very top.
You do not want to practice self arrest there.
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Re: Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby Liquid Shadow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:43 am

Thanks for the heads-up.

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Re: Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby Dave B » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:34 am

I agree that this slope most definitely can slide. However we were out there 10 days ago trouncing all over this snow field while climbing Columbine Falls. The snow was thick and bulletproof wind crust with pockets of sugar near the rocks.

The Bear Lake snotel is only reporting 2-3" with the last storm so the slope is most likely relatively safe. But keep an eye on snow fall amounts and if much more falls it would be advisable to cross the slope up high like mentioned above.

Edited to add: no, it would not be safe to practice self arrest here. The boulders below would not make for a nice runnout if you lost control. Go to St. Mary's Glacier instead.
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Re: Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby TomPierce » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:21 am

Agree with Dave that the slope can slide, and I read of a few deaths that occurred there I believe back in the 70's, not sure about that. I've crossed it many times in the winter and have not seen any slide debris, but of course in worse conditions it's a risk. One thing I noted when crossing it is that the lower terrain, down the chute of the waterfalls to the small pond (Peacock Pool?) is a textbook terrain trap, so even a small slide could theoretically produce a very bad outcome if a hiker was swept down to the pool and buried. Just my opinion, be careful.
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Re: Snow play near Chasm Lake?

Postby Stevo68 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:52 pm

ive crossed this several times with snow galore it always seemed packed but dont let that fool you. I always had my axe, crampons, and a clinched butthole and been fine.
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