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Contact: Tracy Swartout, 360-569-6502
Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews made the decision today, Nov. 24, to close Chinook and Cayuse passes for the season.
WSDOT determined the avalanche risk is too great to allow traffic to safely cross State Route 410/Chinook Pass and SR 123/Cayuse Pass. In addition, the National Park Service expressed concern about debris and rocks falling onto the highway due to a lack of snowpack from last season's unusually dry conditions. Snowpack helps keep debris and rock from loosening and moving.
WSDOT closed Chinook Pass (elev. 5,430 feet) between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. Cayuse Pass (elev. 4,675 feet) is now closed within Mount Rainier National Park from Crystal Mountain Boulevard to Stevens Canyon Road.
WSDOT typically closes Chinook and Cayuse passes in late November each year due to hazardous driving conditions. Avalanche danger, mountainous terrain and lack of cell phone service make for unsafe winter driving.
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