Coverage continues to improve around the Front Range, deeper snow on most slopes, fewer logs in the trees, and somewhat less burning in the legs at the bottom of a few laps!
It stayed this temperate for a couple hours, until about 9am. It's hard to say that this kind of temperate doesn't significantly influence decisions throughout a tour. It can define where you tour, how you communicate, and how quickly a difficult situation can become a very serious situation.
As the coverage improves, as typical in January, Cameron Pass tends to get more and more busy. I've typically seen the height of traffic around the 2nd or 3rd weekend of January of each season, whichever is sunny and inviting. I was thinking about that today as we saw 5 or 6 other groups touring in the same zone today.
Nokhu Crags with cross loading building in the NW gullies. We saw one crown that was recent, but the wind was increasing throughout the day, as we typically see after a nice storm. It just can't leave well enough alone!
Noticed some riming at the ridgeline, on the tundra vegetation. This shows that the wind was blowing from the SW, which is no surprise, but also that the humidity was pretty high throughout the storm. It's not rare to have riming, but not super common in Colorado.
Ptarmigan tracks along the tour up, always fun to see. It reminded me that these little creatures live in a place most can't, and follow a pattern that doesn't make sense for most other critters.
Given the number of groups out, there's bound to be behaviors that an avalanche safety instructor can be critical of. Today though the one that stood out throughout the morning was tour groups being influenced by where others were touring. It's always important to remember to focus on your plans for the day, stick with your touring plan, even if others think you're crazy (kind of like the ptarmigans). On a day like this, there are also multiple avalanche problems, and it's important to apply the right data and techniques for what the problems are. Take or renew your avalanche course with NSOS staff at Cameron Pass this season and we can show you how to do this and play safe all winter.