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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

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  • State Route 20 closed at Mile Post 134, Ross Dam

    After a brief closure at Newhalem due to an avalanche and unstable conditions, SR 20 has re-opened to its normal winter closure point at MP 134, Ross Dam. The highway will remain closed from Ross Dam to MP 171 (Silver Star Creek) until spring re-opening. More »

  • Ross Dam Haul Road Closure Continues

    A short segment of the Ross Dam Haul Road between the Diablo Lake suspension bridge and the tunnel remains closed to public use due to continued recovery following a March 2010 landslide. The closure will remain in effect through 2014. More »

  • Notice of planned work for the Cascade River Road, fall 2014

    Visitors planning to access the park via the Cascade River Road after Labor Day should be advised that the Park Service is planning a fall closure of this road at Eldorado Creek (3 miles before the end of the road) in order to perform permanent repairs. More »

Rescue Highlights Hazards of Winter Climbing

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Date: March 27, 2007

On Sunday March 25, two men were rescued from North Cascades National Park through a combined effort of national park rangers, volunteers from Bellingham and Skagit Mountain Rescue and Whidbey Naval Air Station. The call for help came in to the National Park Service on Friday, but the effort to extract the two from steep and difficult terrain was hampered by the storm that dropped tremendous rainfall across western Washington over the weekend.

The party of four men from Everett and Lynnwood set out on Wednesday March 21 to climb Pyramid Peak in North Cascades National Park. By Friday March 23 the group abandoned the climbing goal and attempted a short cut descent, deviating from their ascent route. This led to trouble as the group encountered steep terrain on the slopes above Diablo Lake.

Two members made it out on their own Friday night and reported to a park ranger that they had left two other members stranded, one with a leg fracture. The reporting two were both treated for mild hypothermia. Saturday’s efforts to reach the two men were limited by heavy rainfall and poor visibility. A helicopter flight to locate the two was attempted but aborted due to visibility concerns.

On Sunday, a ground team of park rangers and volunteers reached the two, and prepared them for evacuation. Whidbey Naval Air Station search and rescue helicopter Firewood 21 hoisted Micha Berg, 22, of Lynnwood from the mountain Sunday afternoon during a break in the weather. Rangers escorted his partner out by ground.

Limited access, avalanche hazards and dangerous weather make attempts to climb the bigger peaks in the North Cascades infrequent during the winter. “It is unusual for park rangers to have a rescue this time of year,” explained Kelly Bush, park search and rescue coordinator. “Just as we see fewer backcountry travelers in the winter, resources including rescue personnel capable of working in technical terrain under harsh conditions are limited in the off-season . . . but it was also the winter snowpack, poor visibility and limited daylight that forced the injured and exhausted men to spend two nights in miserable weather awaiting rescue.” Bush also commented that “shortcuts” in the North Cascades often lead to trouble.

Did You Know?

Junior Ranger Totem: Raven

Anyone can become a North Cascades Junior Ranger! Pick up one of the four FREE activity booklets at any of the visitor or information centers. Complete the activities and earn your official junior ranger badge! Download the booklet here. More...