Press release out today, our beloved Independence Pass is closed for the season. The goods are up there. Terrific backcountry skiing when it snows, incredible rock climbing and hiking if we get more Indian summer.
But is Indy really closed? The gate has a lock on it, but… If you know the right people you can get a key. Certain local hunting outfitters can unlock the gate at will and drive the so-called closed road. You can also drive it with an ATV, and once it does get snowcovered the snowmobile access is terrific.
How about those outfitters being able to drive it while the rest of us lesser citizens are shut out? Last year I asked an Aspen area newspaper reporter what was going on with this, and they told me they didn’t want to go public with the answers because it opened a can of worms.
How about we open the worm can and just move the stinking gate higher up the road, so we can at least access the south facing rock climbing areas, and get closer to the alpine snow?
I guess if you carry a gun and wear orange you get special treatment when it comes to access on our public roads and lands. Otherwise forget it.
Here is the PR:
INDEPENDENCE PASS IS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will close Independence Pass for the season. Typically, maintenance crews work to keep the pass open until November 7 each year. The pass was closed on Friday, October 20, with the plan to re-open; but due to the weekend’s snow and wind, white-out conditions, and high winds in the forecast, plows are unable to safely maintain the road for travel.
The pass closure includes the area from just east of Aspen to west of Twin Lakes, a distance of approximately 18 miles. The 12,095-foot Independence Pass is closed each winter for the safety of the traveling public and CDOT maintenance crews. The alternate route to Aspen during the winter closure is I-70 to Glenwood Springs, and SH 82 east (or south) into Aspen.
Weather permitting, CDOT re-opens Independence Pass each May, just prior to the Memorial Day weekend.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.