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The Climbing Club • View topic - New slide on Hwy 20 could delay opening.

The Climbing Club

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:50 am 
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Dr. Crevasse
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"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:49 am 
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receiving spoon
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That makes me a sad panda.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:22 am 
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UW Climber
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Location: Warm sunny rock
Slide cleared! Sounds like the highway will be open for Memorial Day Weekend.

Complete WSDOT update:
Things weren’t looking so hot Monday morning when we found that monster snow slide at Ruby Mountain completely blocking the highway. But the good news is that we absolutely pounded that slide. We punched a hole through by Monday evening and had it all cleared by Tuesday afternoon. Because we made such quick work of the slide, Louie was actually able to run the snow blower all day Tuesday. We ended up only losing one day of snow blowing due to the slide.

The east and west teams finally reached each other at noon on Wednesday between Rainy and Washington passes. We had a single cut through the snow all the way across the North Cascades Highway. The work then began widening and clearing fog line to fog line.

It’s also going to take a couple days to put all the guardrail and concrete barrier back in place in the Ruby slide zones. And we’ve also got about two more days of ditching left. Things are wrapping up nicely.

In case you’re tired of all the pictures of snow, then we may have something you’ll like instead. Rod Hayes, maintenance supervisor, was lucky enough to snap a few photos of a momma bear and her two cubs leisurely crossing the highway near the west gate on Wednesday. When I went up to the pass last week, I saw a bear too, but that one was too quick and I wasn’t able to get a picture. That was the first bear I’ve seen along the highway. Pretty cool stuff.

Here on the east side,

We sent the D-8 caterpillar home this week when we got through the Liberty Bell avalanche zone and on to Washington Pass. From there, the progress was amazing and by yesterday afternoon, the highway was clear from gate to gate. (Yes, there are still some more safety pull outs that have to be cleared as well as some de-icing and sanding to get the surface ready for you to actually drive on.)

Today, while the good weather is still with us, we’re renting a helicopter and taking the howitzer up to do what we hope will be a final round of avalanche control. There is still a lot of snow in LB2 and 3 that has to come down before anyone can drive under them. With generally warmer temperatures forecast until Sunday, we’re hoping the combination of the control effort and another two days of spring will deliver stable conditions when it cools down again Monday so we can clean up what comes down and open the highway. The gates could swing open any time from Tuesday to as late as Thursday, depending on how much snow ends up on the road. (Just the two Liberty Bell chutes could dump as much as LB 1 did last week, which was another 70+ feet.)


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