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Berthoud Pass in Winter

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby schumi248 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:06 pm

I know its not a 14er TH, but I figured a lot of people on here go skiing in Winter Park, and I was wondering how much different it is driving on an incline/decline that is snowy/icy than on flat ground. Also, what condition is this road normally in during winter?? Any help would be great. Pictures would be helpful if you have them. Thank You.

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby sgladbach » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:25 pm

schumi248 wrote:I was wondering how much different it is driving on an incline/decline that is snowy/icy than on flat ground.


Driving an icy pass is a skill. It takes practice that would be difficult to learn in Witchita (I'm originallyfrom KC, Kansas.) That being said, there is no reason to stay home for fear of an icy pass. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) works very hard to keep the passes open and safe. Usually, careful driving in a front wheel drive vehichle (assuming you don't already have 4WD or AWD) will keep you safe. Travel at a speed where you are confident and not stressed; tune out aggressive drivers who may want you to go faster or who try to pass you on the uphill. The whole pass is only 45 minutes of careful driving.

Have a contingency plan for the rare occasion when the pass is either closed or the conditions are beyond your ability to go over the pass. You may have to spend an extra night in Winter Park or Idaho Springs (or beg a room from some 14ers.com member!), but the same thing has happened to me more often in Garden City, KS (on trips home to see my parents.)
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby Bean » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:39 pm

Unless it's nuking, the road tends to stay in pretty acceptable condition.

If you do head to Berthoud Pass, please don't boot up the skintrack.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby ajkagy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:41 pm

Berthoud is a well maintained road, CDOT does an excellent job of keeping the road plowed and in good shape...use common sense like on any road when the road is icey/snow packed
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby Carl » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:16 pm

More often than not Berthoud Pass is dry in winter. 99% of the time the drive is uneventful. With a little snow it's quite pretty...

Image

Occasionally it really dumps and things get interesting (this is the middle of the road)....

Image

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby schumi248 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:49 pm

Bean wrote:Unless it's nuking, the road tends to stay in pretty acceptable condition.

If you do head to Berthoud Pass, please don't boot up the skintrack.

No need to worry about that, I am driving straight through to Fraser. Thanks for all the info, I have also been on cotrip.org, but they dont have cameras on the pass, so i wanted to see some pictures of it. I think I would know if it is going to be as bad as that second pic by the time it got that bad, I am driving a 05 Grand Am. Not the best for mountain travel in the winter, but at least its FWD. As for backup plan, keep driving on I-70 to silverthorne, take CO-9 north to US-40 in Kremmling, and take 40 east to fraser.

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby RoanMtnMan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:19 pm

Wesley,

Those pics make me very happy. The exception to the rule, but quite a gift.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby prestone818 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:44 am

i drove to wp a couple weeks ago when they got 11". i have a 03 maxima 2wd with standard tires. i will not be doing that again in my car. the majority of the drive on 40 was on snow/ice packed roads. there were a couple times that i would go around a turn at 10 mph then start accelerating for the immediate incline and my tires would have difficulties getting traction.

not sure i would recommend doing it in a 2wd car unless you have winter tires. on the way back the roads were considerably better. but that morning drive was enough for me to not go back to wp in my car.

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby schumi248 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:09 pm

prestone818 wrote:i drove to wp a couple weeks ago when they got 11". i have a 03 maxima 2wd with standard tires. i will not be doing that again in my car. the majority of the drive on 40 was on snow/ice packed roads. there were a couple times that i would go around a turn at 10 mph then start accelerating for the immediate incline and my tires would have difficulties getting traction.

not sure i would recommend doing it in a 2wd car unless you have winter tires. on the way back the roads were considerably better. but that morning drive was enough for me to not go back to wp in my car.



I'll be going over at about 3 pm, so hopefully, its not too bad.

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:15 pm

CDOT really pays a lot of attention to Berthoud Pass. They do a great job of keeping the road passable for regular 2wd cars. That said, if it's been snowing a lot when you head up there you can fully expect it to be snowpacked and icy for something close to 15 miles (or more from time to time). There will be a lot of traffic heading up to and back from Winter Park and Fraser at that time of day so you can expect to have some company from other much more experienced winter drivers. Do not attempt to match their speed or driving style. You will make a mess. Go slow. Keep your wits about you and pay attention to the road. You'll be fine. Have a good trip.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby prestone818 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:21 pm

schumi248 wrote:
prestone818 wrote:i drove to wp a couple weeks ago when they got 11". i have a 03 maxima 2wd with standard tires. i will not be doing that again in my car. the majority of the drive on 40 was on snow/ice packed roads. there were a couple times that i would go around a turn at 10 mph then start accelerating for the immediate incline and my tires would have difficulties getting traction.

not sure i would recommend doing it in a 2wd car unless you have winter tires. on the way back the roads were considerably better. but that morning drive was enough for me to not go back to wp in my car.



I'll be going over at about 3 pm, so hopefully, its not too bad.


again this was the day after they got 11". i would imagine most of the time the road is not bad at all. i always check http://www.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm?zoomPresetId=5 before heading into the mountains.

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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby Magnum420 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:21 pm

Like others have said, in bad conditions, take it slow but remember to keep your speed high enough to keep your momentum going uphill. Downshift to a lower gear and go real slow on the decline if its snow packed or icy. If Berthoud is bad, getting up to the tunnel might not be very good either. If loveland pass is closed they will stop traffic at the tunnel every hour for about 15min for hazmat trucks to go through, so you might get stopped on a 6-7% grade and not be able to get moving again. If nothing else, I would get a $5 bag of sand to keep in your car for traction and maybe buy some tire cables as a precaution and know how to use them. (might be able to return them if you dont use them)

Check the CDOT website http://www.cotrip.org/home.htmor http://goi70.com/ for the most up to the min conditions.

Most of the time I70 and 40 are clear with some small icy patchs near the top of the passes, nothing to worry about. The only time it is usually bad is during or right after a storm. Just make sure you have a good winter car kit(enough to survive the night if you get stuck) and make sure your plans are a little flexible in case you have to spend a night in Idaho springs or in WP/Frasier.

Not my pic, but this gives you a good look at Berthoud pass. Didnt want to repost a pic that wasnt mine. http://www.mcdormans.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/berthoud_pass.jpg
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