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lummox

watch your back

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i think it would be damn cool to build a fucking bridge for the school kids in orting. i read this in the washington post:

 

A Dream Of a Mountain, A Nightmare Of a Volcano

Mount Rainier Called 'Monumental Threat'

By Blaine Harden

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, August 11, 2003; Page A01

 

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. -- Wedding cake white and big beyond words, Mount Rainier floats above Puget Sound like a child's dream of what a mountain might be.

 

 

Dreams of Rainier come in handy here, for the mountain itself has a habit of disappearing in clouds for weeks or even months on end. The 3 million people who live in and around Seattle know, of course, that it is up here -- nearly 2 3/4 miles high, encased in glacial ice and fattening itself up every winter with more than 50 feet of fresh snow.

 

During this freakishly warm, dry and cloudless summer in the Pacific Northwest, astonishing views of Mount Rainier have been uncommonly common. Clear sightlines have made it possible to gaze at Rainier and appreciate it less as an intermittent aesthetic pleasure and more for what the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warns that it really is.

 

"A monumental threat," said William E. Scott, scientist in charge of the Cascades Volcano Observatory, a USGS center that monitors volcanoes from California to Alaska.

 

Volcanologists determined in the late 1990s that the mountain is far more unstable than previously thought, and they have since persuaded local emergency management officials to launch an early-warning system and a major public-awareness campaign. Tens of thousands of people are being told to "enjoy the volcano in your back yard" but to be prepared to run away from it -- fast. The town nearest Rainier has about 40 minutes to flee. Inside the national park that encircles the mountain, scientists in recent months have shortened the run-for-it survival time to five minutes.

 

Beneath its dreamy mantel of snow, Mount Rainier is an active volcano, and it is rotting from the inside out, especially on its western flank, which drains toward population centers. The volcano has a long, spotty history of spontaneous collapse and massive mudflows called lahars.

 

About 150,000 people now live atop lahars that have rioted down the slopes of Mount Rainier over the past 5,000 years. The lahars ran all the way to what are now the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, distances, respectively, of 50 and 75 miles.

 

No volcano in the lower 48 states packs so much risk so close to so many people, Scott said. Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, is more active than Rainier, but it is not near large population centers.

 

Rainier, which has more glacier ice on it than all the other 12 Cascade volcanoes combined, is the only mountain in the contiguous United States where regional roads are marked with large white arrows and signs that say, "Volcano Evacuation Route." The signs are a coveted curiosity -- people keep stealing them, and county emergency management officials keep buying more.

 

Another lahar (an Indonesian word that has come to mean "volcanic mudflow") would almost certainly be an existence-ending event for the fast-growing town of Orting, Wash., about 30 miles downstream from Mount Rainier. Orting is in a valley flanked by the Puyallup and Carbon rivers, both of which originate in toes of glaciers up on the mountain.

 

The 3,760 residents of Orting live atop 50 feet of mud, boulders and tree stumps that used to be on the west slope of Mount Rainier. About 500 years ago, which was the last time the mountain shrugged its rotting shoulders in a major way, mud came roaring down the valley. The rot in Rainier is caused by gas inside the volcano, which degrades rock and turns it into more fragile clay. With the consistency of concrete and traveling about 40 miles an hour, that lahar shredded a forest and reamed out the valley. The USGS calculates that Mount Rainier burps this way every 500 to 1,000 years.

 

"The bad news is that the window of opportunity is now open," said Steve Bailey, director of emergency management for Pierce County, where damage from Mount Rainier is most likely. "The good news is that the window is 500 years long."

 

To minimize the bad news, Bailey said, the county bans construction of large new commercial buildings in the upper parts of valleys near the volcano. It has also installed an early-warning system that listens for lahars. If one is on the loose, the system sets off air-raid sirens that can alert about 30,000 people near Mount Rainier.

 

The sirens could provide Orting residents with a 40-minute head start before major mud comes to town.

 

"It would be very difficult to get everyone out in that time period," said Bailey, who said he is concerned about the large number of new, high-end houses being built in Orting. "A lot of people who are buying those homes don't understand the hazard."

 

Someone who does understand is Rex Kerbs, principal of Ptarmigan Ridge Intermediate School in Orting. Twice a year, he drills his students, ages 8 to 11, in the art of heading for the hills when sirens go off.

 

The best way to avoid dying in a lahar, experts say, is to go up a high hill -- fast.

 

"It is two miles to the hillside from our school," said Kerbs, who studied geology before becoming a principal. "We peel out the back of the school, walk along a dike [toward Mount Rainier and the oncoming wall of mud] and then cross a bridge that leads to the hillside. Some of the kids can get to the hill in 30 minutes. The stragglers get there in about 45 minutes. The mud gets there in 40 minutes."

 

That may be a problem, Kerbs said. But in the case of a lahar, he said, "we could shave 10 minutes off the time. I hate to say it, but if fear and anxiety is coming into the picture, if adrenaline is pumping, we can make it."

 

There are plans -- and some state funding -- for the construction of footbridges near the school. They would allow students to cross the Carbon River and head for the hills without first taking a long high-speed walk.

 

In preparing students for the possibility of a lahar, Kerbs said, he is careful not to frighten them. "Be prepared, not scared, that's what I tell them," he said. "I tell them it is a tradeoff for living near a volcano, like hurricanes in Florida or tornadoes in Kansas."

 

Up here in the national park that encircles Mount Rainier, even being prepared is probably not going to do anyone much good.

 

A new risk assessment by the USGS has drastically narrowed the survival window in the case of a lahar. It shriveled from a maximum of 23 minutes to five minutes. That applies to people working in National Park Service buildings and staying in a large guest lodge in a valley on the much-visited southwest corner of the park.

 

Jill Hawk, chief ranger at the park, found out about the narrower window last fall. She said she immediately modified her mind-set. Near her office, there is a footpath that may allow her to scramble 60 feet up out of the valley in five minutes.

 

"I don't have time to evacuate people," she said. "I have time to run."

 

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Some of the kids can get to the hill in 30 minutes. The stragglers get there in about 45 minutes. The mud gets there in 40 minutes."

 

 

 

Sounds like a great lesson in natural selection. This could also serve as a good fitness motivator for the school in general. fruit.gif

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If the citizens of the town do not have any inclination to build a bridge, there is nothing we can do. Seems like a most unfortunate Daewin award nominee. The unfortunate part is that the offspring are taken out with the adults in denial. I can hear them now, "Hell I've lived here all my life and it ain't hurt me yet."

bigdrink.gifpitty.gif

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vegetablebelay said:

Sounds like a great lesson in natural selection. This could also serve as a good fitness motivator for the school in general. fruit.gif

black humor. thumbs_up.gif

odds are the phys ed teacher will be pushing down kids while rushing to save their own polyester-covered ass.

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lummox said:

About 150,000 people now live atop lahars that have rioted down the slopes of Mount Rainier over the past 5,000 years. The lahars ran all the way to what are now the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, distances, respectively, of 50 and 75 miles.

Anyone else concerned about this? If they can reach Seattle, what hope do we have?

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bah you'll probably die by being sandwiched on one of those multi-level freeways in downtown during an earthquake first.

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Kiwi said:

Anyone else concerned about this? If they can reach Seattle, what hope do we have?

of course i am. why do you think i clipped the article and posted it here? its not like im going to lose sleep over it. it could be a score of generations before the thing blows. but im not looking at rainier just as a logo on a beer can anymore. know what im saying?

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Kiwi said:

lummox said:

About 150,000 people now live atop lahars that have rioted down the slopes of Mount Rainier over the past 5,000 years. The lahars ran all the way to what are now the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, distances, respectively, of 50 and 75 miles.

Anyone else concerned about this? If they can reach Seattle, what hope do we have?

 

none! evils3d.gifyellaf.gif

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actually youll have plenty of panic time before you get creamed. i forget: what was the drink of choice for that guy who went when st helens blew?

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lahars kill more people than any other volcano related hazard IIRC.

 

there is only one conclusion

 

YOU ARE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

 

please make your will out to me. i need some more gear. tongue.gif

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snoboy's house is safely out of the way of both the lahars from garibaldi and the tsunami from the collapse of the Barrier draining Garibaldi Lake. should be a great view of the 100 ft. high wave washing downtown squamish away though!

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When it does happen, the only people that are gonna be left are all us fags up on Capitol Hill.

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E-rock said:

When it does happen, the only people that are gonna be left are all us fags up on Capitol Hill.

Us middle class white suburbanites in Redmond on Education Hill will more than balance you mutants out. You gots style. We gots CASH. yelrotflmao.gifwave.gif

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Bug said:

E-rock said:

When it does happen, the only people that are gonna be left are all us fags up on Capitol Hill.

Us middle class white suburbanites in Redmond on Education Hill will more than balance you mutants out. You gots style. We gots CASH. yelrotflmao.gifwave.gif

 

Redmond is where you buy a place when you want to sport a big house but don't have the real CASH to live in a nice neighborhood. wink.gifhahaha.gif

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lummox said:

actually youll have plenty of panic time before you get creamed. i forget: what was the drink of choice for that guy who went when st helens blew?

 

Harry Truman, and he was a bourbon man...

 

-t

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JoshK said:

Bug said:

E-rock said:

When it does happen, the only people that are gonna be left are all us fags up on Capitol Hill.

Us middle class white suburbanites in Redmond on Education Hill will more than balance you mutants out. You gots style. We gots CASH. yelrotflmao.gifwave.gif

 

Redmond is where you buy a place when you want to sport a big house but don't have the real CASH to live in a nice neighborhood. wink.gifhahaha.gif

 

OK. I'm white trash but at least I don't get awaken by gunfights at night or get chased by gangs of skinheads anymore. I do miss the ethnic diversity tho. wave.gif

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Rainier goes and buries Washington. There is a bulge in the earth near the Sisters. California is going to fall into the ocean (San Andreas Fault) or Blow up (Shasta, Lassen, Mammoth Caldera.) Yellowstone is bulging. I think I 'll move to Nevada, no imminent disasters waiting. - Signed, Chicken Little wazzup.gif

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Bug said:

JoshK said:

Bug said:

E-rock said:

When it does happen, the only people that are gonna be left are all us fags up on Capitol Hill.

Us middle class white suburbanites in Redmond on Education Hill will more than balance you mutants out. You gots style. We gots CASH. yelrotflmao.gifwave.gif

 

Redmond is where you buy a place when you want to sport a big house but don't have the real CASH to live in a nice neighborhood. wink.gifhahaha.gif

 

OK. I'm white trash but at least I don't get awaken by gunfights at night or get chased by gangs of skinheads anymore. I do miss the ethnic diversity tho. wave.gif

 

 

heheh... I was just kdding around. Curious...where were you chased by skinheads? shocked.gif

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Dan_Harris said:

Rainier goes and buries Washington. There is a bulge in the earth near the Sisters. California is going to fall into the ocean (San Andreas Fault) or Blow up (Shasta, Lassen, Mammoth Caldera.) Yellowstone is bulging. I think I 'll move to Nevada, no imminent disasters waiting. - Signed, Chicken Little wazzup.gif

 

In Nevada you'll get to deal with the eventual radioactive waste problem in Yuca mountain! hahaha.gifGeek_em8.gif

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JoshK said:

Dan_Harris said:

Rainier goes and buries Washington. There is a bulge in the earth near the Sisters. California is going to fall into the ocean (San Andreas Fault) or Blow up (Shasta, Lassen, Mammoth Caldera.) Yellowstone is bulging. I think I 'll move to Nevada, no imminent disasters waiting. - Signed, Chicken Little wazzup.gif

 

In Nevada you'll get to deal with the eventual radioactive waste problem in Yuca mountain! hahaha.gifGeek_em8.gif

Damn, forgot about that. Where can I go? No place is safe, awwwww!! tongue.gif

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Nothing is "imminent" in Nevada cause the whole fucking state is a disaster already!

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