Nearly two feet of snow in the past two weeks have opened Northwest Ski Resorts for the first time since mid-January in this year’s record low snow. Ironically March 31 is the last date that Snotel traditionally measures snowpack. The snow depth at the Mount Hood Station jumped from about 37 inches on March 23rd to 60 inches yesterday. But that’s still only 31 percent of average which is normally more than 100 inches this time of year.
The HeraldNet reports an exhibit at the Mukilteo Light Station shows the actual 1855 Point Elliott Treaty signed with 82 “X” mark signatures from Indian Chiefs in which they gave Mount Hood and Mount Rainier to the white men. The exhibit is at Mukilteo’s Point Elliott which is where it is believed to have been signed (although some reports indicate it could have been closer to the mouth of the Snohomish River, where a major native village stood in 1855, in what is now Everett).
The Post Intelligencer reports Paul Toomey, 19, of Everett slid 700 feet downMount Pilchuck and then fell over a 200 foot cliff. Toomey was wearing tennis shoes and had gone off the trail when he lost his balance in slushy snow near a lookout at about the 5,000-foot level of the 5,324-foot mountain.
There have been a lot of articles about the record low snowpack on Rainier and the Pacific Northwest including Hood while California is having near record excess snowpack (leading to a very rare blossoming Death Valley). AP notes the snowpack spectacularly dwarfs that last record low in 1977. For instance, the record low water content at Stampede Pass was 11.1 inches. It is now 2.5 inches. At Paradise less than 3 feet of snow remained on the meadows, with some spots having only a few inches. Normally, Paradise has 15 to 20 feet of snow in late winter.
The Olympian reports Natalie Ann Chambers fell 350 feet after attempting to rescue her dog who had fallen on the trail near Mud Mountain Dam. She fell onto the ledge with her dog 15 feet below the trail before falling further. The dog survived.
KIRO-TV reports officials are investigating why Rainier’s lahar mud flow sirens went off accidentally Tuesday morning. The sirens are normally tested each month
King5 reports Rainier Mountaineering Guide Chris Bamer was airlifted from Camp Muir after suffering from frostbite on the Ptarmigan Ridge route after running into chest deep snow and white out conditions. His companion Rob Montague accompanied by five rescuers was able to walk off the mountain.
The Rainier climbing report for 2004 is out. It notes that registed climbers on Rainier have decreased each year since its high of 13,114 in 2000 to 9,251 in 2004. The overwhelming number (5,400 went up Disappointment Cleaver) while 1,700 went up Emmons. The other routes were numbered in the hundreds. There was nearly a 54% summit percentage success rate (higher than the 46% success rate in 2000).
The Seattle Post-Intelligncer reports that most Washington ski resorts (including most on Raineir except Crystal) have closed because unseasonably warm temp and 7 inch rains have almost eliminated their snowpack. The resorts opened late (last week of December) because of the lack of snow to begin with. They have billed the unseasonable conditions “the Pineapple Express.”
Cascadia Scorecard quoting a Denver Post article on Global Warming notes that Northwest Scientist issued the ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã âThe Scientific Consensus Statement of the Likely Impacts of Climate Change on the Pacific Northwest” noting that a quarter of Northwest Glaciers will be gone by 2030.
An article in Columbian.com notes that the official snow measuring station on Mount Hood shows 30 inches of snow which is 21% of average for this time of year. Statewide Washington shows snowpack 38% of normal and Oregon is 46%. Forecasts are calling for more extended dry weather.
The first big snows of the 2004-05 season have closed the two passes on Rainier — “temporarily” according to officials but they will be closed for the season soon. Network54 Forum.