“Some people have it together and know what they are doing, but some who venture up there are complete ass clowns.” –Sheriff Bill Masters
Thinking Sheriff Bill Masters from the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office is fan of the 1999 comedy Office Space after hearing his recent statement regarding driver’s attempting to drive up Black Bear Pass. There’s something about authority figures with potty mouths that just makes me giggle. Ass clowns…hilarious.
In all seriousness, Black Bear Pass is an unforgiving route in the San Juan Mountain with switchbacks, precipitous drop offs and lots of obstacles along the way. Its often given the distinction of the most dangerous road in Colorado and should only be attempted by skilled drivers in capable vehicles…not ass clowns.
Recently a group of vehicles dug out snow to access the road and became stuck at a particularly precarious section prompting the colorful statement from the Sheriff Masters. Be cautious out there all you offroad drivers, don’t be an ass clown.
8:15pm update: Here’s what happened: It is believed that people drove around deep snow on the pass and dug it out themselves for hours this weekend to be able to drive the pass. These enthusiasts then posted on social media that the pass was unofficially open. Officially, however, Black Bear Pass is closed. There is still mitigation work that needs to be done to make it safe to drive, including, but not limited to, clearing rocks remaining from winter rock avalanches that can cause rockslides and injure or kill people.
From Sheriff Bill Masters:
“None of the people that were up there today should be able to claim they didn’t know Black Bear pass is closed. People are supposed to pay attention to our county’s official announcement rather than social media rumors. It is your responsibility to know before venturing into the backcountry, whether hiking a trail, or driving on a pass, if the area is open and can be traveled safely. Black Bear Pass is dangerous, and you need experience and the right vehicle to navigate it safely. Some people have it together and know what they are doing, but some who venture up there are complete ass clowns. Some people are taking children into these dangerous situations, and in some cases it’s irresponsible and possibly criminal behavior. Keep in mind, we may not be able to reach you if you have an emergency up there and need assistance, so be prepared to abandon your vehicle, be stranded for days, or be seriously injured and inconvenienced.”
7:15pm update: the stuck vehicle and all cars behind it are clear. As a reminder, Black Bear Pass remains officially closed despite social media rumors to the contrary.
Although Black Bear Pass is NOT officially open, we do have a vehicle stuck below “the stairs,” partially off the roadway, with the road completely blocked. There are more than a dozen vehicles behind it. Telluride Towing is in route. 1500 ft drop down 4 switchbacks if it goes over the edge.