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Snowbanks cause for concern at Mount Rainier National Park

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on April 27, 2011 at 10:50 am with 2 Comments »
April 27, 2011 10:50 am

High snowbanks along the roads in the Paradise area are causing concern among officials at Mount Rainier National Park.

The high snowbanks, created by the park’s road plowing operations, coupled with unseasonably high snowdepths, present a falling hazard above plowed roads and parking lots.

The parks is telling skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers to use extreme caution when playing in the Paradise area.

“Make sure you have scoped out your intended route before engaging in snowsports around the Paradise area. Parents should ensure children are kept away from all snowbanks above roads,” said a park news release.

There are currently 228 inches of snow on the ground at Paradise, 138 percent of normal for this time of year. The National Weather Service forecast for the park is calling for snow showers today through Friday.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. paradiselost says:

    This article doesn’t mention the greatly increased avalanche hazard to visitors caused by premature plowing of the Paradise Valley road. The undercutting with 20-25′ vertical banks removes the supporting ‘toe’ of the steep slopes above casual visitors hiking or even parking, especially given the very unstable character of this Spring’s snowpack. This hazard may persist well past Memorial Day, especially on warm days.

  2. Ashford98304 says:

    I agree with Paradiselost. It really is premature to plow the Paradise Valley Road. When snow covered, it presents the safest route to enjoying the backcountry at Mt. Rainier–trips to Reflection Lakes, Mazama Ridge, Skyline Ridge, Paradise Glacier, etc. The other routes (up the face of Panorama Point, around Edith Basin, the low Skyline Trail) present several hazards including very steep slopes, potential high avalanche danger, and creek/river crossings on snow bridges. The steeper routes are not amenable to cross-country skiing and really good snowshoeing skills or alpine touring skills on skis are necessary.

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