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snoboy

WA Pass/Ski In - time to start thinking... MAY 1-3

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WSDOT has this to say:

 

NORTH CASCADE HWY SR20

Elevation: 5477 ft / 1669 m

Temperature: Not Available

Conditions:

The North Cascades Highway remains closed for the season from milepost 134 to milepost 171. The Avalanche Crew recently made their initial assessment trip. Weather dependent, the spring reopening effort will likely begin the last week of March or early April. Updates will be provided as new information is available.

Weather:

Not Available

Restrictions EastBound:

Closed for the season

Restrictions WestBound:

Closed for the season

 

Updated: 5:28 PM, Mar 13, 2009

This is the most current info available

and is promptly updated when conditions change

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Thanks! The last couple days I was thinking this would be an excellent subject to talk about.

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yes it is. if anyone is interested in making the weekend trek up to mazama to do some climbing and skiing let me know.

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How long does it take usually to get this thing open??

 

NORTH CASCADE HWY SR20

Elevation: 5477 ft / 1669 m

Temperature: Not Available

Conditions:

The North Cascades Highway remains closed for the season from milepost 134 to milepost 171. The Avalanche Crew recently made their initial assessment trip. Weather dependent, the spring reopening effort will begin the 30th of March. Updates will be provided as new information is available.

 

Updated: 10:47 AM, Mar 27, 2009

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Here's the text of my post from a month or so back from Jeff Adamson at WSDOT below. I'm on his update list and unfailing post them here as soon as they arrive. My guess is that all the month of March's snowfall (heaviest of the winter) will hinder their reopening work. The weather predictions for approximately the next week calls for a good bit more of late season snowfall. I can hardly wait and I know others are in the same boat.

 

Here's the North Cascades Highway Reopening Assessment Trip results from Jeff Adamson with WSDOT. Looks like it's time to start thinking about the North Face of Graybeard Peak, etc!

 

Hi all,

The preliminary best guess is that we'll be able to start reopening the North Cascades Highway the last week in March or the first week in April. Our Avalanche Control and Maintenance technicians traveled from the east closure point at Early Winters, west of Mazama 20 miles to Rainy Pass on snowmobiles and a snow cat this morning, assessing the conditions. They encountered overcast skies, 27 degree temperatures and no new snow. (Only 4/100ths of an inch of precipitation was recorde in the last 24 hours, and most of that was rain. We expect to be able to free up the personnel and equipment we need for the reopening from Stevens Pass and some of our other facilities by late March or early April, depending on weather, equipment and manpower. They found only moderate snow depths this year. For example the snow at Washington summit is only 5-1/2 feet deep when it's usually 7 to 9 feet deep. At the same time they found more slides and they're a different consistency - they look like lava. The slides at Liberty Bell Mtn., just east of Washington Pass are an example: The highway passes under them, and loops back to the east around Spiral Gulch. The snow is 40-feet deep and 1200-feet wide below LB 2 and 3, but it came down with such force that the same slide covered the highway on the opposite side of the gulch with snow that's 25-feet deep and 1200 feet wide. Further east in the avalanche chutes in the Cutthroat Ridge zone,some slides were as much as 20 feet deep and 12 to 1500 feet wide. Another anomaly for this season is a 40-foot deep slide near Bridge Creek, between Rainy and Washington Passes. The avalanche crew had never seen a slide there, before.

The highway was closed for the season on December 11th. Last spring, the highway reopened on May 1st. Visit the WSDOT FlickR photo page to view pictures from the assessment: www.flickr.com/search/?q=WSDOT&s=rec For more information, visit the North Cascades Highway web page: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/

The official news release with the official scheduled dates and some of the photos should be approved and posted sometime tomorrow. Lets hope that the lava-look avalanches are only a crust and won't take any longer to cut through than normal - a nice, uneventful 4 week clearing effort would be nice - we've had enough "disasters" this winter...!

 

 

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Wow Snoboy; speak of the Devil. This just received:

 

Hi all,

 

This is the news we've all been waiting for. The reopening officially starts Monday morning. Here's the news release:

 

WENATCHEE - Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance crewmembers on both the east and west sides of the North Cascades Highway will begin the annual clearing process to reopen 37 miles of the highway including Rainy and Washington Passes, on Monday, March 30.

 

Clearing the North Cascades Highway is a significant effort each year. WSDOT crews will be working 10-hour days, Monday through Thursday through April.

 

"The west side crews have already gotten started on the first 14 miles from the Diablo gate to the Granite Creek Bridge," said Okanogan Maintenance Superintendent Dean Hills. "They'll start with two snow blowers, clearing the new snow that's come down."

 

On the eastside, the eight-person Twisp maintenance crew will start clearing from the east closure gate near Silver Star Mountain with a V-plow, a loader and a snow blower. A snow cat with a blade will move ahead and start work to cut down the snow piles below the chutes in the Cutthroat Ridge zone, which will speed the snow blower progress when the clearing progresses that far in the following week.

 

"Week two we'll bring in another snow blower from Stevens Pass, an excavator and two contracted D-6 and D-8 caterpillars and operators to start work on the huge snow deposits below the Liberty Bell chutes," said Hills.

 

While up to seven feet of snow has fallen since the assessment trip a month ago, Hills says he's confident the crew can get started and move quickly.

 

"Even with another half-foot of new snow from Tuesday to Wednesday which ramped up the immediate avalanche danger, the warm temperatures by Monday will empty the chutes - they've got a well established sheer layer, so any new snow should slide quickly," said Hills. "While it's impossible to predict exactly when we'll have it open - due to weather, avalanche danger, equipment breakdowns and crew health - we're hoping we can match last year."

 

The highway reopened May 1st, last spring and was closed for the season on Dec. 11. The cost to reopen the highway each spring typically runs from $200,000 to $250,000.

 

Visit the WSDOT Flickr photo page to view pictures from last month's assessment: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157614387037548/.

 

Here are the Flickr pics that Don Becker, our Twisp Maintenance Supervisor (the guy who directs the reopening) took while the crew was staging the equipment on Thursday that they'll be using Monday. (Of course, they had to do a little testing...) http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/collections/72157615622442224/

 

Here's the URL for the SR 20 North Cascades Highway web page: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/

 

Finally,

 

Here's my contact info:

 

Jeff Adamson

 

adamsoj@wsdot.wa.gov

 

or 509.667.2815

 

PS: I should have the next update by late Monday or early Tuesday - Becker said he'd try to remember to take some more pictures!

 

 

 

 

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Looks like they are hoping to match last year's opening of May 1. That's only 3 weeks away...

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This seems to be the endless winter...however we really should do this asap after they open the pass. Unless they can tell us a specific date far enuff in advance, we should shoot for 2nd weekend immediately following. Last year was memorial day and it was a little hot and slushy. So as of now, hoping they can meet the May 1 opening date, does playing it conservative and opting for the weekend of May 9-10 sound good? Or should we be optimistic go for May 2-3?

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I also propose this event be given a new name:

The Lloyd Keith memorial spring ski-fest. Lloyd died this winter after a long battle with cancer. Some of you may have met Lloyd a few years ago when he came to our event and partied with us around the campfire. He has always been very generous with our use of his property for this event and commented to me more than once that he was very happy that he was contributing in a small way for all of us gathering together to ski the North Cascades each spring.

Edited by David_Parker

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Maybe there are group sites available for rent at one of the CG's just eat of Mazama, like Early Winters.

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I met Lloyd and his wife and they were cool! Not only that, but their place was cool as well.

 

I don't know how early it is snow-free but the Klipchuck Campground has always been my favorite of the Forest Service campgrounds in the area. It is on a south facing slope, away from the road, situated amid large pines, and relatively low on the east side of the pass.

 

I've never favored the Early Winters campground because it is right next to the highway but I've camped there for early season ski trips and it might be a good choice for a ski-in because it is the first one to open.

 

If the campgrounds don't work out, there's got to be somebody else with vacation property or maybe a back 40 in the area!

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Fred Rodgers(throat_clearing_noise)?

Dang didnt meet Floyd, but his generosity was greatly appreciated.

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The 6th annual Lloyd Keith Memorial Spring Ski fest is officially scheduled for May 1-3 at the same spot as usual. All skiers, boarders and climbers are welcome, although boarders will have an extra entrance fee to be determined at the time...probably must perform some trick or bring a special treat (alcholol!)

 

This should be a stellar year and some awesome skiing! More information to come.....mark you calenders!

 

 

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I know it's short notice, but let's get a roll call as best we can so we have an idea of how many beverages to bring, how many pancakes to prep etc...

 

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO000000000000ooOOOooOOt!11111!!!!!!!!

 

I'll start - Me+1.

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Awesome!!!

 

Lloyd's place is really cool and it is warm and dry down there, while up on the pass it is still ski season. This is truly the best of all worlds; one of the supreme campouts of the year!

 

Great news!!!!

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I need to confirm that we will have sufficient numbers before I order a keg!

 

Please let us know if you are coming. So far I only see 5 - DaveP, Feck, MattP, snogirl and me...

 

 

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I may have missed something here. I have never been, so where is the same place as last year? I have looked forward to it since reading the posts from last year...thanks in advance.

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I'll let Dave Parker give the final word.

 

Chances of the Ski In being in the same spot are 99.5%

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