Avalanche strikes Cascades backcountry, no injuries reported

The 800-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep slide struck at Source Lake in Alpental Valley on Sunday or Monday.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A large, destructive avalanche struck at Source Lake in Alpental Valley, one of Washington state’s most popular backcountry areas, weather officials said.

The avalanche, which was about 800 feet (245 meters) wide and up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) deep, descended more than 2,000 feet (610 meters), crossed the lake and traveled 300 feet (90 meters) into a forest southeast of Seattle, KCPQ reported.

No injuries were reported.

The Northwest Avalanche Center believes the avalanche occurred naturally between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and was large enough to keep skiers and snowboarders inbounds on Tuesday.

Debris covered common travel routes and a popular lunch spot. The center warned people to take the threat of more avalanches seriously.

“It’s easy for us to think, oh we’re getting into springtime, but no, we’re only smack dab in the middle of the winter season here in the Cascades, so we have a lot more winter storms to come and you’re going to see avalanches,” Northwest Avalanche Center Deputy Director Dallas Glass said.

The center has been monitoring cracks on the slopes since January, when a weak layer developed in the Cascades.

“This big sleeping beast is in the mountains and it’s not sleeping anymore. We really have not gone more than two days without hearing about a new avalanche on this layer,” Glass said.

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