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Updated photos below taken by Matt Buchanan, Pete Olson, & Bill Woodard on 3/3/2016

An avalanche has caused significant damage to a section of the Alpine Tunnel Road. Following the early February snowstorm a number of naturally triggered avalanches occurred in the area beyond Sherrod Loop. The largest avalanche, located on the major rock slide in the vicinity of the old town of Woodstock, damaged a section of the palisade wall and appears to have torn away a section of the road surface. Pitkin snowmobilers Bill Woodard, Michael Ebert, Eric Batman, and Pete Olson first encountered the big slide on a ride up Alpine Tunnel Road on February 8. The group did not notice the palisade damage then but could see several other smaller slides in the road ahead. The group wisely turned around. On February 12 Matt Buchanan, Bill Woodard, and Pete Olson traveled the old Stage Coach trail and at the bottom of the slide noticed and photographed the damaged palisade. Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Olson have provided information and photos to the Forest Service and the Alpine Tunnel Association. It is anticipated that further evaluation will be required in order to determine if the road is passable. It should be noted that the Alpine Tunnel Road was built in the 1880’s and the palisades have remained in good condition for nearly 135 years until the February 2016 avalanche. More information on the history of the Alpine Tunnel Road can be found at http://narrowgauge.org/alpine-tunnel/html/index.html. Pitkin-News will provide further updates as they become available from the Forest Service. (Photos courtesy of Matt Buchanan.)

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Updated photos below taken by Matt Buchanan, who was accompanied by Pete Olson, & Bill Woodard on March 3/2016. The three snowmobiled up the tunnel road to the Woodstock area where the avalanche covered the road, making travel beyond impossible. They then climbed the debris field left behind by the avalanche to the railroad grade just above the damaged portion of the roadbed. These picture were taken from above the road damage looking downgrade in the direction of Sherrod Loop. Forty to Fifty feet of the Palisade wall suffered extensive damage. Due to snow cover they were unable to determine how much of the road's original width remained.


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