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North Cascades SR 20 Updates


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#1 dzane

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

http://www.wsdot.wa....updates2012.htm


Hi all,
Hope your Easter was the celebration you hoped for!
Day 1, Week 3
…with lunch boxes packed with egg salad and ham and cheese sandwiches, the crews ventured up SR 20 Monday eager to resume the assault on their white nemesis…
(That opening line was in deference to those who have lamented that this year’s e mails lacked a certain level of literary impact.)
Back to reality- It was positively spring like at Cutthroat Creek – 54 degrees and sunny a mid afternoon. CR#1 only had about 8’ of extra snow accumulated below it on the road and had been determined to be stable enough to let the crew clear it without an avalanche spotter on hand.
The avalanche crew was down at Stevens Pass doing what they hope will be the last avalanche control needed this year. The warm temperatures over the weekend brought sunshine to “the meadows” which is a section of (Cowboy) mountain that feeds into Old Faithful #4. With the volume of snow still up there, and the potential sunshine has to cause snow layers to slide, Stevens became the priority Monday. So far as motorists were concerned, it was a non-event in that the highway was only closed for about half an hour and only a little bit of snow actually reached the road (shoulder, really). Mike Stanford was quite pleased with the effort since it “moved around” a lot of unstable snow that now will simply sit and melt (provided we don’t get a pile of new snow on top…)
Over the past month since the assessment trip, the accumulations on the road have grown. Cutthroat Ridge chutes #6 through 8 measured 16 feet March 7 and 18 feet last Thursday (April 5). Liberty Bell saw the same thing as LB #1 grew from 25 to 35’, LB #2 from 25 to 40’ and LB #3 from 40 to 58’.
By the end of Monday, the highway was widened to its full width from the gate to Cutthroat Creek and two new slots had been cut to CR#1.
On the Westside, progress was pretty much stopped when the transmission on the loader-mounted snow blower blew.
Tuesday brought reinforcements to both sides. The Skykomish Kodiak Snow Blower arrived in time to replace the smaller broken one, and a caterpillar and the avalanche crew’s snow cat joined the effort on the east side.
Will have new pictures posted tomorrow.
Jeff.adamson@wsdot.wa.gov 509.667.2815
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#2 dzane

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

Hi all,
It’s taken two weeks plus a day, but everybody and their equipment is finally in place on both the east and west side as confirmed by the appearance of Pink Floyd (the Avalanche Crew’s safety flamingo!)
Check out the ten new photos from Tuesday: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157629681048559/
Mt. Vernon lead tech Gary Claybo says the loader-mounted snow blower they used for the last two weeks is in Seattle to be repaired and is “done for the season”. A giant Kodiak snow blower from the Skykomish shed rolled off the lowboy Tuesday and began making fast progress through the soft 4’ deep snow at East Creek. By the end of the day, it had cleared both lanes and the shoulders for the three miles to Granite Creek (MP 148).
On the eastside Avalanche Control Supervisor Mike Stanford and Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker filled in the details of work ranging from Cutthroat Creek to Washington Pass. A huge D-8 caterpillar we contract for, arrived from Lloyd Logging Co. in Twisp on Tuesday. The D-8 under the experienced guidance of its operator, Mark Bakken, was immediately sent ahead to begin cutting down the 18’ foot slides beneath CR#6,7,& 8 to snow blower sized heights (about 8’). The Avalanche Team’s snow cat went even further ahead, cutting a level trail over (through?) the Liberty Bell chutes (up to 60’ deep) all the way to Washington Pass. Back at CR #1, the Kodiak began blowing snow under the watchful supervision of Av. Tech Monica Morin and Floyd.
While the weather was nice for the crew, Stanford noted the warm brought down several natural slides and he wasn’t disappointed with the cooler forecast for the next couple of days that is bringing the freezing level down. He also noted that all the slide zones had grown just since last Thursday.
There is a reason that has come to light regarding why the Westside crew didn’t make as much progress as they might have last Wednesday.
It came in the form of a “Thank You” email from Chief Cody Watson Newhalem Diablo Fire Department. He wrote to Mt. Vernon Superintendent Gary Ward:
“…the Newhalem Diablo Fire Department greatly appreciates the help of your employees: Gary Claybo, Bob Hopfield, and David Dellinger. There was a serious accident on HWY 20 in the afternoon of April 4th in which your employees came to the aid of a worker (@MP139 where the National Park Service is building a new trailhead). When our ambulance arrived they continued to assist. In such a remote area, it is especially comforting to know you have such extraordinary people working for you. Please extend the Fire Department’s gratitude to your employees!"
Nice work guys!
jeff.adamson@wsdot.wa.gov (509) 667-2815
Get up off your rear and go riding!

#3 escapefjrtist

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:32 PM

Good news...Only a few weeks to opening, barring the unforeseen and breakdowns! ;)

thanks for the update dzane!!

--G

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#4 Fontanaman

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:57 PM

For a different point of view of Lloyd's Logging from September 19, 2000 see this post. Not Safe For Work.

About a May 1 opening is great news! :yahoo:

#5 dzane

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:15 AM

Hi all,
In answer to the question of the day (for some reason a lot of you chose today to ask) – No, there is no way anyone can provide a firm reopening date yet. There are too many things completely out of our control – weather – snow density – equipment breakdowns – crew availability (they get called away to emergencies, sometimes) – as well as things like avalanches. And right now – the Eastside crew isn’t even into Liberty Bell’s avalanche chutes and the Westside crew isn’t even to Rainy Pass yet.
The target is still to try to have it open before 49’er Days in Winthrop, and nothing, so far, makes that a bad target – but that’s what it is – a target, so if you plan a trip or make reservations that proved to be too optimistic, be forewarned. I’d wait a little longer to commit.
So far as what has been accomplished – on the east side, Monday and Tuesday were pretty much spent re clearing the Cutthroat Ridge avalanche zone since they dumped enough snow when it got warm last Thursday that the crews had to high tail it out of there to avoid becoming victims. There are about six new pictures from Monday showing the clean up at CR #2 and CR #8. Work continues from there through the last four Cutthroat chutes (9, 10, 11a and 11 b – and no, I don’t know why 11 b didn’t get its own number…) So, by mile posts – we’re at about 165.
On the Westside Mt. Vernon’s Gary Claybo says Bob Hopfield who is the designated Kodiak pilot has led the effort from Easy Pass up to Swamp Creek at mile post 153. By the end of the day, the highway was clear from shoulder to shoulder and tomorrow, he’ll start a new cut up to MP 154 through the 5’ of heavy, wet snow on the pavement. It was overcast and kind of gloomy for the past couple days, but at 44 degrees by mid afternoon, the working conditions haven’t been too bad (now that a lot of the loose stuff above the roadway came down by itself over the past five days.)
Oh, I should also state once again that WSDOT can only close the highway to licensed motor vehicles, so yes, bicycles are legal at any time, but they’re also a challenge to deal with if you’re the operator in the seat of a road grader, plow truck, excavator, loader or the snow blower. If you can – Friday through Sunday is a safer time to ride since the crews aren’t competing with you for pavement (and be sure to check for avalanche conditions before you go.)
FlickR: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157629681048559/
jeff.adamson@wsdot.wa.gov (509) 667-2815
________________________________________
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#6 Fontanaman

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:44 AM

Thanks for the update. :yahoo:

#7 dzane

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

Bring on SPRING! SR 20 here we come!

Hi all,
It snowed almost constantly and visibility was poor Wednesday. Thursday was better, despite the forecast for more snow and rain all day.
SR 20 on the Westside has been cleared from guardrail to guardrail from MP 148, Granite Creek to MP 152, the Easy Pass Trailhead through Swamp Creek at MP 153 to the chain up area at MP 154. Bob Hopfield’s Kodiak Snow Blower was held up a couple times by trees buried in the snow, but he made good progress through the five feet of white stuff on the pavement under less than ideal conditions.
On the Eastside, the second Kodiak Snow Blower from Stevens Pass joined the effort Wednesday afternoon under the skillful guidance of Tyler Miller. He, Jesse Gurney on the excavator and Jason Newman on the loader spent their time widening from CR #6 to CR #10. Duane Wolley on the other Kodiak headed off making a single cut into the Annex (or Hairpin/Spire/Spiral Gulch) along with Scott Reagles on the D-6 caterpillar. Mark Bakken on the Lloyd’s Logging D-8 pushed ahead even further to begin cutting down the 35’+ accumulation below Liberty Bell #1.
Nothing came down, but Avalanche Chief Mike Stanford put eight rounds from the howitzer into the avalanche chutes around the Annex and Liberty Bell Mtn. Everybody breathes a little easier when they know that hillside above them is going to stay there!
When they begin week 5 on Monday, the two crews will be heading into the ten toughest miles of clearing between MP 154 and MP 164 that includes Rainy and Washington Passes and the Blue Lake and Liberty Bell Avalanche zones.
There is a new progress map on the NCH web page: http://www.wsdot.wa....updates2012.htm and there are more new photos on FlickR: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157629681048559/
jeff.adamson@wsdot.wa.gov (509) 667-2815
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#8 dzane

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

Rather than continuing to post the updates I receive I will just post the links. I will post once they announce the opening date. Come on SPRING!!

SR20: North Cascades Highway http://www.wsdot.wa....updates2012.htm

SR410/SR123: Cayuse Pass http://www.wsdot.wa....c/passes/cayuse

SR410: Chinook Pass http://www.wsdot.wa....passes/chinook/

Happy riding!! Happy days are here again.
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#9 dzane

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:44 AM

Day 20, April 26, 2012 (Thur. Week 5)
Due to heavy rain and snow that produced unstable avalanche conditions, clearing work was suspended Thursday and will resume on Monday. The Eastside crew’s progress for the week ended at Liberty Bell Avalanche Chute #3 where the snow is about 60’ deep. The Westside crew’s progress is to just below Rainy Pass. They’re about seven miles apart and the reopening won’t happen next week, but likely the following week. The target remains to be open in time for Winthrop’s 49’er Days on May 12 & 13.
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#10 escapefjrtist

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:02 PM

Thanks for the update dzane!

Looks like it's time to plan a lunch run over the hills... :yahoo:

--G

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#11 Fontanaman

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:19 PM

Thanks for the update dzane!

Looks like it's time to plan a lunch run over the hills... :yahoo:

--G



Lunch?? :huh: Hell lets go for breakfast at the Sun Mountain Lodge! :yahoo: :yahoo:

Why because we are not motorcycle riders we are FJR riders!

#12 escapefjrtist

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:31 PM


Thanks for the update dzane!

Looks like it's time to plan a lunch run over the hills... :yahoo:

--G

Lunch?? :huh: Hell lets go for breakfast at the Sun Mountain Lodge! :yahoo: :yahoo:

Why because we are not motorcycle riders we are FJR riders!

With an early start we can make it! I'll be over there in July for my nieces wedding...might need a scouting trip to check it out! ;)

--G

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#13 dzane

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

AS soon as I hear the plan for the opener I'll post it. Tom and I already plan to be there for the opening run but we would welcome anyone else who wanted to join in the fun. We did breakfast in Burlington Cafe and Tootsie's cinnamon rolls at the gate. Then the most fun dash through the mountains commenced when Tootsie swung the gate open. Fantastic ride! Come on and join us!
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#14 wabill

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

Count me in. The Cafe's menu works for me. :D
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#15 Tom Edison

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:07 PM

Oh Yeah!!

Posted Image

:o :P :dribble: :)
Ride while you can

#16 allrider

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:02 AM

I'm in if it's warm and dry. If it rains it may freeze over up there.
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#17 escapefjrtist

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 05:32 PM

Latest update according to the talking heads, is Thursday May 10th.

Next weeks weather is looking good, maybe time for playing hooky! :)

--G

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#18 allrider

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:40 PM

Latest update according to the talking heads, is Thursday May 10th.

Next weeks weather is looking good, maybe time for playing hooky! :)

--G


Thurs works for me.

Went skiing at Stevens today. If the roads are like that your bike will get dirty George. Just saying...
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#19 Tom Edison

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:52 PM

Latest update according to the talking heads, is Thursday May 10th.

Next weeks weather is looking good, maybe time for playing hooky! :)

--G


I'm on the hooky train all the time George. Thursday looks like the opening
for SR20. It's good to get up there a couple of hours before the gates open.
They generally announce the time a day or two before.
Ride while you can

#20 Speedygg

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 07:38 AM

1336181565[/url]' post='959808']
Latest update according to the talking heads, is Thursday May 10th.

Next weeks weather is looking good, maybe time for playing hooky! :)

--G


Sounds tempting. However after being laid off for 4 months, i start my new job on Monday. I don"t think they will take kindly to me playing hooky on the first week. Enjoy the ride!
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