Outdoors blog

Thompson, Cayuse passes cleared; plows breaking through on North Cascades Highway

Snow blower operator Duane Wolley, Carlton, Wash., cuts a 9-foot-wide by 6-foot-deep swath of snow from the center line of the North Cascades Highway Thursday, April 10, 2008, clearing the way for a possible opening of the mountain pass on May 1. The Washington State Department of Transportation crews have been clearing a 34-mile stretch of the highway of snow since March 24 that has been closed since Dec. 4, 2007.  (Associated Press)
Snow blower operator Duane Wolley, Carlton, Wash., cuts a 9-foot-wide by 6-foot-deep swath of snow from the center line of the North Cascades Highway Thursday, April 10, 2008, clearing the way for a possible opening of the mountain pass on May 1. The Washington State Department of Transportation crews have been clearing a 34-mile stretch of the highway of snow since March 24 that has been closed since Dec. 4, 2007. (Associated Press)

MOUNTAIN PASSES -- Thompson Pass between Prichard, Idaho, and Thompson Falls, Mont., was cleared of snow over the weekend. Although signs said the road was still closed, vehicles were traveling over the popular route between the North Fork Coeur d'Alene and Clark Fork river drainagles.

But if you're planning a hike to Revett Lake, you'll need snowshoes.  A snowblowing machine had to be used to cut through still-deep snow at the pass.

North Cascades Highway ready to open

Meanwhile, Department of Transportation crews working from the east and west sides to clear snow off the North Cascades Highway met near Rainy Pass at 11 a.m. Monday.

Crews are continuing to widen road of snow and stabilized conditions.  Tentatively, the popular scenice route between Mazama and Marblemount is set to open on Thursday or Friday.

People are flocking to the attraction on bicycles, packing skis to hit thie slopes.  Here's the plea on the DOT website:

While it’s legal for bicycles to use the highway because they’re not licensed motor vehicles – it’s getting crowded up there and it’s a big concern for our operators since bikes are hard to spot in the mirrors on a loader or a blower. The widening, ditching, guardrail and jersey barrier work is going on all day Tuesday and with avalanche blasting planned for Wednesday (along with the necessary clean up) – this is just not a good time to bicycle the North Cascades – Please wait for Thursday!

 

Cayuse Pass opening today

The Washington Transportation Department says a scenic drive through Mount Rainier National Park reopens today at noon as gates will be opened to Cayuse Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier.

The department says crews are still clearing snow from nearby Chinook Pass, but hope to have it open in time for Memorial Day Weekend.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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