Colorado – Independence Pass “Closed” for Season

Post by blogger | October 23, 2006      

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:

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.



9 Responses to “Colorado – Independence Pass “Closed” for Season”

  1. Ski Bum (Brian) October 23rd, 2006 1:03 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Awesome website! I am jealous as I moved back home to Minnesota after four fun filled years in Colorado (two in Golden and two in Denver).

  2. Lou October 23rd, 2006 5:27 pm

    Brian, just link to in your blogroll, does that work?

  3. Seth Flanigan October 23rd, 2006 8:08 pm

    Apparantly it is unfortunate that I do not know the area around Independance Pass, but who ever let a closure stop them? In any case, if the road is closed it should be closed. Hunters, climbers, skiers, and recreationists in general might be well suited to take advantage of a trip into the area without trucks, ATV’s, snowmobiles, and the like screaming past you. Take a bike or even a horse in if your destinationis too far to walk into. If the road is open to ‘special’ users, let it be open to them and be happy that you as a ‘special’ user, in another area, has limited and priviledged access.

  4. Geof October 23rd, 2006 9:08 pm

    I agree… let’s open that can-o-worms. I can’t believe that Cdot can keep Red Mnt open but not Indy? Give me a break. I think the gates could use a bit of creative movement as well…

    BTW… A quick gear report… The new Freeride plus’s are STELLAR… MHO…

  5. Steve Seckinger October 24th, 2006 4:03 am

    Good points about road access. I’ve run into the same here in Utah. We’ve got a locked gate right in our subdivision where a road, after it crosses some private inholdings, goes up to some BLM land. Only the cattlemen that lease the land for grazing and deer hunters seem to have a key to the lock.

  6. Carl P October 24th, 2006 7:17 am

    Lou, I just did a quick Google search. There are about 98,000 sites that pull up when you type “locksmith school” into the general search category. This maybe the ticket for some of those trickier access points…it maybe alot cheaper than the used Blackhawk Hawk helicopter that I found on ebay.

  7. Tom October 24th, 2006 9:42 am

    God forbid we should ever open a can of worms and upset the status quo. Change is scary!

  8. Hamish October 24th, 2006 8:33 pm

    LOL @ Carl P! As a beleiver in direct action myself, I admire the DIY approach. Still, Seth has a point that, if you would like a place protected for you, you should respect other places protected (in different ways) for others.
    My take, I wouldn’t want to go up there anyway cuz I couldn’t wear orange while climbing or skiing (although some new-schoolers could and do).

  9. Leo February 7th, 2007 10:14 pm

    I dont know why I don’t find such informative blogs more often…

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