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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cascade River visits, 2011

I figured I should put a wrap on this year's visits to N. Fork Cascade River. Per earlier entries/reports, we made three visits to the valley this year, the final visit on June 3-4.
The main reasons we go at this time of year are because the road is closed (gasp, we access a place that is "inaccessible" due to the road being closed/snowcovered), and of course to watch avalanches.

Curiously, we didn't see much in the way of big avalanches this year, nor were they as numerous as in past years, especially considering the healthy snowpack. This is attributable to timing, as well as a generally stable snowpack. I should note we did see the remains of "Mr. Big" on the June 3 visit. Per the below photo, a huge slab, stretching from nearly the Triplets to Cascade Peak, and two or three meters thick let go, roaring in to the lower valley, and down to the confluence of Soldier Boy Creek!

(look closely--see the "white line" that rises from the sunny patch and extends left (East)? Below the line is much newly exposed rock, and above is generally still snow other than those rock islands. That's called a "climax avalanche" because it went right down to the bedrock. In the next picture, you see that snow filling the valley--some of the blocks are as big as trucks)

Oh, those snapped trees are not from avalanche(s)--they are from incredible winds. I should point out we saw more blow down this year than we have in three decades of visits. Must have been one hell of a wind-storm during the winter...
As well, see the streaks of dark material. Avalanches aren't just snow--they usually entrain tons of boulders, trees and rock, as was the case with this "Mr. Big".

And of course the crescent moon setting over J-burg (should be renamed Cascade Mountain) was spectacular...

So glad the road is closed in the Spring--this is a place of remarkable beauty and relief, It is a blessing to be able to hike/ski it and experience it as Wilderness. It's just not the same with cars chugging up and down.

1 comment:

Ben said...

this is pretty cool Tom!