Spring clearing hits minor setback

information and photos released by WSDOT

Hello fellow North Cascades enthusiasts! The fifth week of the 2022 spring clearing of the North Cascades wrapped up slightly different than expected if you’ve followed previous weeks’ reports.

The eastside crew has managed to get to Rainy Pass and found it in very different condition than the assessment on March 28. In March, the crew observed 6 ½ ft. of snow over the road but the spring snow earlier this month added more than a foot, and snow depths are now between 7 ½ and 8 ft. deep at the summit.  That means the sno cat and an excavator are needed to knock the snow down to depths of 6 ft. or less so the blower can clear the roadway.

The crew ended the week near Bridge Creek trailhead near milepost 159. The report from the crew is there is at least another full week of clearing work ahead, with spring pavement and guardrail repairs to follow.

From the west side, the crew has cleared both lanes to milepost 156, moving wet, heavy snow that’s 4 ½ ft. deep on the roadway. While that leaves only a few miles between the crews, the depth of the snow on the road means slow going. Additionally, there will need to be another round of avalanche control work as snow loads remain high in the avalanche paths.

Please note: The road remains closed at the Ross Dam Trailhead at milepost 134 on the west side and Silver Star gate at milepost 171 on the east. Crews work Monday through Thursday to clear the road, so please do not explore past the closure points during the work week. As always, if you plan to recreate behind the closure points, we strongly recommend that you consult the Northwest Avalanche Center for current backcountry avalanche conditions.

We’ll keep sharing updates to the 2022 spring clearing on FlickrFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.