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View Full Version : Washington Pass > snow removal (Cinnamon Twisp, here I come!)



Heroique
30-Apr-2014, 19:05
Here's an update on efforts to clear N. Cascades Hwy of winter snow and open it to vehicular traffic – so PNW landscapers can begin a new season of photography up there!

As many LFers know, this spectacular road (U.S. 20 in Wash. state) travels through N. Cascades Nat'l Park before climbing over Washington Pass, connecting the state's wet (Seattle) side to its dry (desert) side. Below is a recent image, just over the pass. Looks like they've still got some work to do!

This road closes every winter. It usually re-opens in mid-May. This year, snow removal is right on schedule – just two more weeks to wait. :D

When open, the road also allows Seattle people to make it over the mountains to Cinnamon Twisp bakery (in Twisp, Wash.) where justly famous cinnamon rolls help hikers recover from trips, long and short.

I'll be up on the Pass on day one with my Tachihara!

Later in the evening, I bet my fingers will be very sticky, but incredibly delicious.

Maybe I'll see some of you there...

Nathan Potter
30-Apr-2014, 19:18
That looks very inviting after 97F here in my canyon in Austin a couple of days ago. Nice snowfall up ahead there on the right.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Heroique
1-May-2014, 11:00
Nice snowfall up ahead there on the right.

The work crews are reporting that today's warm weather is triggering, as expected, several avalanches (like the one on the right); that's good news, because until those road-side cliffs are stable, the Hwy remains closed even if the road surfaces are perfectly snow-free.

From the snow removal reports, this sentence is quite interesting:


...The warm weather continued to trigger natural avalanches and prompted a decision to help that process along with some helicopter avalanche control blasting set for mid-day Thursday. It doesn't gain any new ground, but it should mean it will be safe to drive under those empty avalanche chutes in another week or so...

Sounds like an exciting day for the helicopter pilot! :cool:

ROL
1-May-2014, 11:25
How dare you suggest there are other passes besides those in the Sierra Nevada. :mad::rolleyes::D

Heroique
1-May-2014, 13:30
We LFers in Wash./Ore./Cal. are blessed w/ snowy passes accessible in early spring.

I only wish we had more members from Alberta/B.C./Alaska whose mountain passes might put ours to shame!

Below as helicopters blast avalanche chutes near Washington Pass tractors plough the lower elevations...

Mush! Mush! (snap) Mush! Mush!! (snap, snap)

Jerry Bodine
1-May-2014, 22:32
Snow removal is risky business on our local mountain passes. This worker probably had to burn his shorts after being trapped in an avalanche at Chinook Pass, east of Mt. Rainier NP:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/WSDOT-employee-trapped-by-avalanche-while-clearing-Chinook-Pass-256742021.html

18 inches of new snow fell over the last two days, then warm weather came, creating avalanche hazards.

Robert Opheim
2-May-2014, 14:22
Washington pass is one of those special places. I have shot up there several times but I have not been satisfied with the images.

Drew Wiley
2-May-2014, 15:06
Heroique - I don't know if I'd want to include Calif passes in that list of yours. Only Donner (Hwy 80) is kept open year round, and sometimes nearby Hwy 50, both in the Tahoe area. Even in this particular year of extreme drought, the other passes are just beginning to open. Normally things are plowed only as far as the ski resorts, though that still give plenty of winter photography opportunity. By contrast, Colorado is dependent upon keeping most of its high passes open all year long, and the snows are generally not as deep or wet as here. Where I grew up in the Sierras, the kids from the mid-elevations had to be put up in dorms for the winter
in order to attend school.

Heroique
3-May-2014, 21:40
Washington pass is one of those special places. I have shot up there several times but I have not been satisfied with the images.

Do not feel alone, the scenery is overwhelming – a challenge to concentration! I remember long ago, when I first climbed the Hwy to the Pass. I had my 35mm camera, and you'd think snaps would be easy. I came home without one click.

BTW, I recommend to anyone close-by to visit on the first day the Hwy opens, or at least the first week. Besides the winter wonderland in warm weather, you get N. Cascades Nat'l Park (on the way up from the Seattle side) all to yourself, since so few know the road is open.

I also love going up in early October and getting lost on trails among the larches when their green needles change to bright yellow.

Bob Sawin
9-May-2014, 12:53
And it's open as of Thursday May 8th!

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/North-Cascades-Highway-reopens-for-summer-258516441.html

Heroique
9-May-2014, 13:25
And it's open as of Thursday May 8th!

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/North-Cascades-Highway-reopens-for-summer-258516441.html

Hurrah!

And a note for the less limber among us for the next few weeks, chances are you'll have to climb a snow bank to access trails near the Pass.

Bring your technical gear! :cool:

John Olsen
9-May-2014, 15:17
The North Cascade pass opened yesterday at noon. I'm happy to say that the bakery has two fewer Twists on display after my 2 visits. Better hurry over before they're all gone.

Brian C. Miller
11-May-2014, 21:44
This one came out:
115257


But this one didn't:
115258

When I was up on the pass, I snapped a pic of the huge blades on the snow plow. Unfortunately, I got busy putting things away, and I forgot to pull the film. And then I went to Diablo Dam, where I photographed some of the pylons. And then I realized I had crossed the plow with high voltage, and created a monster!!!

And this is what a Toyo 45AX with Nikkor 210W looks like with major contortions:
115259
(OK, so I used a telephone to photograph a camera.)

Heroique
11-May-2014, 23:12
I realized I had crossed the plow with high voltage, and created a monster!!!

Yes, that's a monster machine no matter how the image comes out!

Here's the monster devouring snow two weeks ago...

Glad you captured some opening-week scenes – a spectacular world up there right now.

Jim Andrada
21-May-2014, 10:40
The snowplow shots make me think of a meeting we had in Northern Japan one February. Turned out it was college entrance exam time (kids in japan actually go to the college to take the exams - no College Board style national exams.) All the hotels were sold out so we found rooms at a mountaintop ski resort where they seemed to be getting a foot or two of snow every night. They must have run a huge machine up the roads in the early AM every day because the road looked like you were driving through a ditch - the snow on the sides of the road was cut straight up what looked to be about 10 to 12 feet in places. We had an intensely type A exec from our customer with us - he wanted to be on the phone or online all night, but there was no wifi and the only way to get a line out was to call the front desk and ask them to place a call for you - and nobody in the place spoke a word of English. I thought he was going to explode from frustration! i swear he woke me up ten times a night to translate. I also remember trying to get across a pass in Japan on the first day they opened it - we ran into a lengthy traffic jam of people who had been waiting in their cars for several days. The first people across each year were on TV and in the news so it was a big media event. We turned around and went the long way.

Heroique
21-May-2014, 12:03
They must have run a huge machine up the roads in the early AM every day because the road looked like you were driving through a ditch - the snow on the sides of the road was cut straight up what looked to be about 10 to 12 feet in places.

And those high vertical walls make you feel like you're in a toboggan.

Here's the "pace car" up near Washington Pass, an inspector during snow removal.

Hope the bladed plow isn't coming down in the opposite direction!

Jerry Bodine
21-May-2014, 12:45
... kids in japan actually go to the college to take the exams - no College Board style national exams.

Please excuse my digression. This reminds me of a flood of memories. My late best friend, of Japanese decent who was born in Nebraska but soon as a small child on a bus in Tokyo when Jimmy Doolittle came through; bus stopped and passengers scattered for shelter, he was too small to understand why everyone was running. Later he attended U. of Tokyo to get an engineering degree in 3 yrs, a very strict entrance exam required all questions be answered IN INK & any strikeouts or erasures meant zero for that question. He told me one of the questions was deceptively simple but with a very complex solution, and only one applicant got the answer - that person turned out to be a genius. I asked him for the answer, and he said he could only give an "approximate" solution. He got his degree, then came to U.S. to work in L.A., but U.S. would not recognize his degree, so he went to UCLA to again get his degree. I met him at work that year and became good friends. I later found out he could do calculus in his head. He's responsible for getting me into b/w darkroom work and that I should follow his lead by getting two Leica M3's - one for color and one for b/w. He had no idea what he started. He so loved mathematics - one Sunday morning I knocked on his door to join me for breakfast out and he looked like he'd been up all night. I asked if he was OK, and he said he'd been up until after 3 a.m. doing some math and listening to Beethoven; he had calculations/papers spread all over the floor. That's how he was relaxing instead of sleeping. What a guy!

Jim Andrada
22-May-2014, 23:15
I have a friend in Japan who is from Akita (where the Akita dog is from.) It's one of the snowiest inhabited places anywhere as they get all the snow that forms when the cold air from Siberia picks up moisture over the Sea of Japan and dumps it when it hits the mountains in Akita (So called "Lake Effect" on steroids)

The old houses had a 3rd story attic with an exit door so you could get out in the winter. He said that you had to be careful not to walk into the electric lines. In the old days they used to tunnel under the snow and stores and restaurants would even be open in the tunnels. To this day they plant before the snow melts or there won't be enough growing time. Wonderful place. How I could have lived in Japan all those years without a LF camera is beyond me. I'm trying to plan a kit to take with me next trip to try to rectify the omission!

Drew Wiley
23-May-2014, 10:49
Not exactly the same place, but I see the entire road to the popular Cascade Pass trailhead will be closed after Labor Day this year for road repairs. So I scratched
that one off my list of potential hikes this year.