• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

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  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

  • Hurricane Ridge Road Closed to Vehicles Sunday 8/3 (6:00a - noon)

    Due to the "Ride the Hurricane" bicycle event, the road to Hurricane Ridge will be closed above the Heart o' the Hills entrance station from 6:00a to noon on Sunday August 3rd.

Park Newsletter for December 21, 2007

three people standing on snow-covered slope, studying recent avalanche
Avalanche training instructor Niko Weis and several class members study the fracture line created by an avalanche at Hurricane Ridge.
Peter Ozimek, Olympic Mountain Rescue
 

Timely Avalanche at Hurricane Ridge Provides Study Opportunity

Students in an Advanced Avalanche Training at Hurricane Ridge last weekend had an excellent opportunity for up-close study of a hard slab avalanche. Triggered intentionally by the instructor, the slide quickly cut a 60' - 100' wide swath down the slope and left refrigerator-sized blocks of snow where it ended.

Class members were also able to study a natural slide that had occurred earlier in the day above the tubing area. High winds and new snow on old icy crusts, both common conditions in the Olympics, were major factors in these slides.

Olympic National Park and long-time partner Olympic Mountain Rescue (OMR) co-sponsored the training which included park staff and OMR volunteers, along with members of the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club and Ski Patrol.

Over the three-day program, class members had the opportunity to hone their skills in field observation, analysis of avalanche terrain, study of weather and snow characteristics, and to practice a variety of field tests to check snow stability.

Led by British Columbia avalanche professional Niko Weis, the training also included an opportunity for the class to discuss avalanche information with a forecaster from the Northwest Avalanche Center. Results of those discussions will lead to improved communications between Hurricane Ridge and better refined avalanche forecasts for the Olympics.

With the Olympics’ steep terrain and heavy snow, avalanche awareness is critically important for anyone who skis or snowboards beyond ski area boundaries at Hurricane Ridge. The recent and tragic avalanche-related deaths in the Cascades only underscore the need for all winter recreationists to be aware and prepared for travel in avalanche terrain.

More on avalanche awareness in the Olympics.

 
ornament on tree with text "Happy Holidays from Olympic National Park"
White House photo

Did You Know?

Mt. Olympus in winter

That Mount Olympus receives over 200 inches of precipitation each year and most of that falls as snow? At 7,980 feet, Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Olympic National Park and has the third largest glacial system in the contiguous U.S.