stevens pass avalanche

Site of Monday afternoon avalanche on Stevens Pass

STEVENS PASS - Conditions appear to be too ripe for avalanches on Stevens Pass with another collapse of snow near the summit.

The avalanche happened at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, less than two hours after a lengthy overnight closure due to extreme avalanche danger.

WSDOT Spokeswoman Lauren Loebsack says the slide happened in a milepost 73 chute that sees slides about once every ten years or more. The avalanche took rocks and trees with it covering the westbound lane.

Avalanche conditions are so severe, crews decided to expand the initial closure area of Stevens Pass by about 11 miles, from milepost 55 just west of the Stevens Pass summit (Scenic) to Coles Corner, which is about 30 minutes from Leavenworth.

“Conditions right now are too sloppy and wet for crews to go up there and do avalanche control work. At this point, the slope is so unstable that if we remove the snow, the snow behind it will likely fall on our crews,” she told iFIBER ONE News.

Loebsack says the pass will remain closed for the rest of Monday, and does not expect it to reopen first thing in the morning.

Loebsack says crews won’t work with the way conditions are, or at least until it gets colder; an impending snow storm will also likely delay a response as snow fall would create a safety hazard for crews.