Vail Pass

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Vail Pass

Submitted By: Dobish on January 20, 2010

Administrator: Dobish

Views: 745 page views

Featured Descent

Colorado » Ten Mile Range

East Slopes

As you drop off of the summit, you are on a large convex slope that is about 38°. This face is almost due East, so it tends to get sun pretty early. In the late spring, this slope can easily be corn by 9:30am at the top, so plan to be up there early.  There are very few hazards on the top section, as there are no rocks or trees that are really poking through.  

Depending on the size of the group, and your time frame, a lot of people will go back up and do multiple laps on the East Face from above the headwall, as this is where the most open terrain is.  Once you get to the headwall, you need to keep a vigilant eye for the convexities and the sliding snow.  These slopes measure at close to 45° and have been getting sun from the very first light.  The tend to slide regularly, but as the snow gets heavier, they could probably do some damage. There are a few descent options to pick, that all wrap around the lake and back to the main gully.

There used to be an old mining cabin, that you can still see the remanants of just above the upper lake. 

After the lakes, if you are done for the day, you should head to the right, so you can avoid the willows and connect back up with teh Crystal Lakes Road.  You can take the road all the way back down to the trailhead if there is snow.

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Details

Vail Pass has a variety of terrain that is great for skiers. The south side of highway 70 is accessible to snowmobilers, and the terrain for skiers is very diverse. There are mellow meadows and large cliffs. From Wikipedia: Vail Pass (10,662 feet, 3249 m) is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado. The pass was named for Charles Vail, a highway engineer. Vail Pass lies on the boundary between Eagle and Summit counties, between Vail on the west and Dillon on the east. It provides the route of Interstate 70 (and earlier U.S. Highway 6) between the upper basins of the Eagle River and the Blue River, both tributaries of the Colorado River. Black Gore Creek, a tributary of Gore Creek, in the watershed of the Eagle, descends from the north side of the pass towards the town of Vail. West Tenmile Creek, in the watershed of the Blue, descends from the south side. The pass is significantly steep on either side (7 to 8%), and two runaway truck ramps are available on the west bound side for truckers with brake failures. The pass was not a traditional historical route of the Rockies. Prior to 1940, the most common route westward was over nearby Shrine Pass, just to the south, which leads to the town of the Red Cliff in the upper Eagle Valley. In 1940, the construction of U.S. Highway 6 bypassed Shrine Pass in favor of the current route to the valley of Gore Creek.

How to Get There

From Denver: Take I-70 West for about 80 miles. From Utah: Take I-70 East

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