By Jessi Loerch
Multiple landslides on the North Cascades Highway mean that the road is closed indefinitely. The area is a popular location for hiking, climbing and other outdoor adventures.
The Cascade River Road washed out as a result of the same storm. The washout stranded 65 people who had to spend the night in their cars. The park service is assisting those who were stranded. (See the press release below.)
The North Cascades Highway is closed from the winter closure gate at milepost 147 to Rainy Pass at the Chelan County line.
From the North Cascades National Park Complex Facebook page: “Unfortunately, it looks like the size and scope of the slides was larger than anticipated and reported last night. While this closure does affect several trailheads in the park, North Cascades Visitor Center, and Diablo and Ross overlooks remain open to the public.”
From the WSDOT’s Facebook page, as of mid-morning Monday: “North Cascades highway is closed due to eight different mudslides one of which is 1/4 mile long, 25 feet deep and still moving at the time of this post.”
For photos of the slides, and some perspective on why this mess will take a while to clear, go here.
Press release from the park about the Cascade River Road:
Marblemount, WA – August 12, 2013 – Thunderstorms moved through the western part of North Cascades National Park during the afternoon and early evening of Sunday, August 11, 2013, dumping heavy rain within a short period of time. This caused the Cascade River Road to wash out at its junction with Boston Creek, stranding approximately 25-35 vehicles parked at the Cascade Pass Trailhead 1½ miles above the washout. Sixty-five stranded people stayed the night in their vehicles.
National Park Service employees are on site assisting those stranded by the wash-out. The wash-out is estimated to be approximately 15 feet deep and 40-60 feet wide. Plans have been developed to build a temporary one-lane road to allow stranded vehicles to leave the area as soon as possible, possibly by the end of the day. The National Park Service has made contact with friends and family members of the stranded hikers to inform them of the situation.
Cascade Pass is one of the most popular destination hikes in North Cascades National Park. The trailhead is located approximately 23 miles from the junction of the Cascade River Road and Highway 20. The Cascade River Road is closed to the public at the park boundary at milepost 18 until further notice.
For information on alternative hikes in the park, please call the Wilderness Information Center at 360-854-7245.