Extreme Hazard

Avalanche conditions in North Cascades this October 2019

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By: Carolyn ‘Ravensong’ Burkhart
October 22nd, 2019

The PCT is not safe through this last storm! The snow is very unstable. Lives have been lost in avalanche on the PCT in the region noted below before.

Report from Northwest Avalanche Center.

‘Snoqualmie Pass
Oct. 19, 2019, 3:50 p.m. PST

Weather: Heavy snow with mixed graupel, gusting winds from the W, thunder, lightning. Weather data from ‘Snoqualmie Pass – Dodge Ridge’ (Alpental wind data not available) shows wind gust @ 18mph W/WSW around time of observation.

Snowpack: Loose unconsolidated that did not cover the vegetation/rocks until ~5100ft where the snow became noticeably deeper ~25″directly on bed surface.

Area Description: The PCT leading up to Kendall Peak around ~5100 ft which is an open area of terrain.

Avalanches: Witnessed loose dry snow slides originating above the PCT at around ~5600 which fanned out and resulted ~7-9ft of debris covering the trail which serves as a terrain bench. Party was able to quickly exit to a sheltered area of trees prior to impact. My assessment is (as predicted in the NWAC Special Statement), there was a wind loaded pocket in the SW facing feature of Kendall Peak as sustained westerly winds combined with strong gusts from the NW were depositing snow on the western ridge leading up to Kendall Peak. Slide seemed to be triggered by a particular strong gust of wind around 15:50.’

https://www.nwac.us/observations/pk/4272/
https://www.nwac.us/observations/pk/4272/

Snow water equivalent reported on SNOTEL is 388% of normal at Harts Pass for this date, today!

NWAC does not do daily reports until the end of November.

I have discussed risk factors with the groups of hikers and options…terminate their journey right here, wait until after the storm and then assess conditions, alternate routes and winter mountaineering experience/equipment.

Last week 2 others terminated their journey here at Mazama, due to snow conditions. Both had extensive winter mountaineering experience. One was a winter mountaineering guide from Canada and said she was not equipped for these conditions.

People need winter mountaineering expertise both individually and functioning together as a team with avalanche beacons for every hiker. In other words, in my opinion, hikers need to stay off the PCT through the Cascade Range.

Serious snow travel safety concerns in mountains of Southern California

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By: Jack
April 3rd, 2019

High elevations of Southern California continue to hold snow. In places, it’s steep and dangerous. Multiple rescues and falls have already occurred. Don’t underestimate the risk, travel with snow safety skills and equipment and consider turning around.

Some notable problem areas include, but are not limited to:

  • San Jacinto Mountains (especially Apache Peak and Fuller Ridge)
  • San Bernadino Mountains (between Mission Creek and Big Bear)
  • San Gabriels Mountains (especially Mount Baden Powell and the trail north of there)

Forest Improvement Operation at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

By: Daniel Bell
October 19th, 2018

There will be tree falling and removal taking place in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, some of which will occur along the PCT as it goes through the park. Operations will continue from 10/18/2018 for at least two weeks, potentially longer due to operational constraints and the difficulty in safely and responsibly removing trees without damaging others. Hazards will be falling trees and tree parts, heavy equipment in the area, and other hazards that are associated with tree removal. There are signs warning of the operation on the trail, but as equipment moves to the trail, there will be a detour around the area.

Damaged bridge affects PCT/JMT and Rae Lakes Loop in significant way

By: Jack Haskel
April 13th, 2018

This is not on the PCT, but it is on a significant side trail.

The South Fork Kings River Bridge above Paradise Valley washed out during the winter of 2016-2017. Construction of a replacement bridge will not begin before 2019. Depending on conditions, crossing the South Fork of the Kings River can be extremely hazardous. Observe conditions carefully and then evaluate the risk of crossing. Be prepared to turn back. If you hike the Rae Lakes Loop beginning from Bubbs Creek, plan for the possibility that you may have to backtrack to safely reach Cedar Grove.

 

Wild Pit Bulls

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By: Don Line
January 24th, 2018

3 Pit bulls again have attacked cows in the area near the Whitewater Preserve (between mile 216 and 221). This time they killed a calf very near the preserve. Use extreme caution while day or section hiking north of Interstate 10. Report any sightings to the rangers at the Preserve.

Whitewater Preserve

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By: Don Line
November 27th, 2017

The trail south of the Whitewater Preserve was temporary closed Saturday and Sunday (November 11 & 12) near mile 217.50 due to 3 pit bulls attacking a cow ! True !! Use caution in this area for the dogs and cows. Please report anything seen to the Rangers at Whitewater or the PCTA.