Chinook Pass officially opens tomorrow, Friday May 23rd, 2014 at noon just in time for Memorial Weekend. Cayuse Pass opened last Friday. According to the WSDOT Chinook Pass page crews needed to inspect a damaged wall. Check out more photos on Flickr.
Crews conduct Avalanche Control on Chinook Pass
The WSDOT recently posted an update on Chinook Pass opening progress. Crews have been hard at work clearing the road and are planning to open at 10 a.m. tomorrow May 17th, “weather and conditions permitting.” If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to open this highway every year, check out the WSDOT blog for a little education on the process. First the avalanche crew use explosives to create slides, hopefully knocking as much snow as possible off the slopes above the road. Then the road crew must begin clearing the highway with up to forty feet of snow piled on top of it. As described on the WSDOT site, it’s much like peeling back an onion one layer at a time. Check out the video for more details and what it takes to get the highway open. I, for one, am looking forward to a little touring before all the snow melts.
The WSDOT will open Cayuse Pass today at noon. Closed since November 16th, the pass, at the junction of Highways 123 and 410, links Enumclaw and Naches.
Clearing the Snow on Cayuse Pass
Avalanche Debris covers Hwy 123
This weekend, skiers and riders from Eastern Washington can access Crystal Mountain via Cayuse Pass.
Normally, Cayuse opens near mid-April, but thanks to the deep snow and late spring storms, both passes have stayed closed much longer than average.
Chinook Pass, however, will not open for Memorial Day Weekend. Battling floods, cool temperatures and lack of snow melt, crews are still working to clear the road.
Chinook Pass still under snow
The North Cascades Highway opened yesterday. Check the WSDOT website for current weather conditions.
WSDOT hopes to have Highway 20 open by Memorial Day. But they aren’t making any promises.
A D6 dozer takes on a 75 foot wall of snow in the North Cascades
SR 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, closes every winter due to avalanche hazard. Usually the road is open in April. This year, they are hoping to get it open by the end of May.
A snowblower digs through debris on the road
According to the WSDOT website, crews are working hard on Cayuse Pass, Chinook Pass and SR 20, hoping to get “at least two of the passes open by Memorial Day.”
They call this spring cleaning
While they are getting close on Cayuse and SR 20, they still do not have an estimate on Chinook. The website also states, “the last time all three passes opened so late was in 1974.”
Check out more WSDOT photos on Flickr.