• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Diablo Lake To Be Drawn Down Three Feet on Sept. 17 and Early Oct., Trailer-Launched Boats Affected

    On September 17 and October 1-15 Diablo Lake will be drawn down 3 vertical feet for facility repairs. During the drawdown, boats with trailers will not be able to launch or take boats off the water. Hand-launched vessels will still be able to launch. More »

  • Cascade River Road will be open as normal through fall/winter 2014

    Cascade River Rd. will be open in 2014 until snow conditions make it impassable to vehicles, as normal. The road closure that was planned to begin September 8 has been postponed beyond 2014 due to unforeseen circumstances. More »

  • Lone Mountain Fire - National Park Service Trail Closures

    The Lone Mountain Fire in North Cascades National Park is approximately 5 mi NW of Stehekin in the Boulder Creek drainage. Boulder Creek Trail is closed. More »

Hazardous Snow Conditions in North Cascades National Park

Large slab avalanche on Bacon Peak Photo: NPS/Jon Riedel
Large slab avalanche on Bacon Peak
NPS/Jon Riedel

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
News Release Date: May 16, 2014
Contact: Ken Hires, 509-699-2080 ext 13

Due to hazardous snow conditions in the North Cascades, potential backcountry visitors should approach spring climbing routes with heightened awareness and training during the next several weeks. It is also advisable to consult with North Cascades National Park Service Complex staff before traveling into the mountain snow zone.

During a typical North Cascades spring, warm air temperatures, steep slopes, and extremely heavy winter snowfall combine to create hazardous and unstable snow conditions. Avalanche conditions have been especially dangerous this year, according to park geologist Dr. Jon Riedel, "because of the heavy late-winter accumulation of snow and temperatures in the 80s and 90s over the past few weeks." Dr. Riedel's glacier monitoring team "witnessed near-constant failure of cornices and occasional slab avalanches" while conducting surveys throughout the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.

Backcountry visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution when venturing near or above the snowline for the remainder of spring. The park strongly recommends contacting the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (360-854-7245) and visiting the Northwest Avalanche Center website for current conditions before any subalpine or alpine wilderness travel. Visitors to these areas of the park should also have avalanche awareness and hazard training, carry avalanche safety gear such as beacons and snow probes, and not travel alone.

Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich said, “The North Cascades are beautiful this time of year, but can be unexpectedly hazardous. Visitors should be aware and watchful for potential snow and earth avalanche conditions when venturing into the backcountry.”

Know the risks, be aware and travel safely in the North Cascades.

Visit the North Cascades National Park Service Complex website at: www.nps.gov/noca.

Cornice failures above Noisy Glacier Photo: NPS/Jon Riedel
Cornice failures above Noisy Glacier.
Photo: NPS/Jon Riedel

Did You Know?

Grizzly bear track in North Cascades National Park (1989). Photo Credit: NPS/NOCA/Roger Christophersen

Grizzly bear tracks can be a reliable indicator of species? Grizzly bear and black bear forepaw tracks are distinct from one another and often times better than a photo of the bear to confirm an observation. So don't just look up, look down.