Additional mudflows possible at Glenwood Springs’ Red Mountain, city reports

Brown, clay-colored mud and debris still covers the road leading up to Red Mountain in Glenwood Springs on Thursday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

A significant mudflow event prompted the city of Glenwood Springs to close down access to Red Mountain on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the flow continued — and it doesn’t look pretty.

City public information officer Bryana Starbuck told the Post Independent that around 4 p.m. Wednesday high volumes of water began flowing over the road and downhill in multiple directions.

The city reported at 11 a.m. Thursday that the water and debris at Red Mountain has continued to flow and access at the gate remains impassable.

“Some of the smaller culverts on Red Mountain are experiencing blockages from debris build up. City crews continue to make efforts to clear the road and blockages and are working to contain and direct the flow to drainage ditches,” the city reported. “Geotechnical experts are working with City staff to gather information about this flow and evaluate if there are other points of vulnerability.”

The city is also saying that early findings indicate that part of the mountainside toward its top has sloughed off into the drainage, adding to the velocity and quantity of the water coming from the mountain, the city reported.

Muddy water flows out of a drainage culvert at Red Mountain in Glenwood Springs on Thursday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

As snow continues to melt, additional mudflows are possible, and the road at Red Mountain/Jeanne Golay Trail remains closed.

“Hikers should avoid the area for the next few days until the mud dries out,” the city reported. The closure includes Grandstaff Trail.

In addition to its main path, part of the mudflow headed toward the Roaring Fork River, Starbuck said. Starbuck could not speak to whether the amount of flow heading toward the Roaring Fork River increases over time.

Starbuck said the reason the event is being referred to as mudflow — and not a mudslide — is because it’s caused more by flowing water current rather than moving earth caused by slope failure.

“It’s mostly water, but there’s other debris and branches as it rolls down the mountainside,” she said. “It’s a sizable amount of water.”

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