Chinook, Cayuse passes closed for winter

Temporary closures became permanent last week for both Chinook and Cayuse passes.

Heavy snowfall in November closed Chinook and Cayuse passes for the winter.

Temporary closures became permanent last week for both Chinook and Cayuse passes.

Citing hazardous conditions, the state’s Department of Transportation closed both passes traveled by state routes 410 and 123, respectively on Nov. 16. On Nov. 24, DOT maintenance crews buttoned up the passes for the winter.

The state agency had determined the avalanche risk was too great to allow traffic to safely cross Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass. In addition, the National Park Service had 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.

The DOT closed SR 410 between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. Cayuse Pass is closed within Mount Rainier National Park from Crystal Mountain Boulevard to Stevens Canyon Road.

Chinook Pass sits at an elevation of 5,430 feet and Cayuse is at 4,675 feet. Chinook Pass provides a route from the west side of the state running directly through Bonney Lake, Buckley and Enumclaw to the Yakima Valley. Cayuse Pass connects to Chinook Pass and White Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park. The Cayuse Pass summit is at the junction of SR 123 and 410, about five miles west of the Chinook Pass summit.

WSDOT typically closes Chinook and Cayuse passes in late November due to hazardous driving conditions, avalanche danger, mountainous terrain and lack of cell phone service, all of which combine to make for unsafe winter driving.

The earliest Chinook closure on record came on Oct. 25, 2005; for Cayuse, the earliest closure came on Oct. 31, 1994.

Spring openings are largely at the discretion of Mother Nature, with a boost from DOT snowplow crews. Chinook is typically opened in May, although 2015 brought an unusual April 2 opening. The latest Chinook opening came in 1974, when motorists were off-limits until July 12.

 

More in News

Jeter returns to Bonney Lake as police chief

The city has grown since he left 13 years ago, but Bryan Jeter says he’s ready for the challenge.

Cross-country cyclists make first stop in Enumclaw

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members from all around the country stopped at Ashley House on their first stop on the Journey of Hope tour.

Staying involved helped one man out of homelessness, and empower others | Public Health Insider

Having a cause and advocating for others helped Greg Francis leave homelessness behind.

Wyatt Hodder same in third in one of this year’s tree climbing competitions. Photo by Ashley Britschgi
Junior Show attracts 142 competitors, here are the winners

Make sure you don’t miss the big event next weekend.

City shifts approach on downtown property plans

The Enumclaw City Council decided to seek “letters of interest” from potential developers instead of a traditional Request for Proposals.

After Seattle’s controversial employee head tax was repealed, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to bond against existing tax revenues to generate $100 million for affordable housing. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikipedia Commons
County executive proposes $100 million affordable housing bond

The money was already coming, but Constantine wants to speed up the process.

Bonney Lake High School graduation 2018 | Slideshow

Check out the Panthers in their cap and gowns getting ready for life’s next challenges.

Programs come together for benefit of White River graduates

Check out which Hornets were honored during the 2018 graduation.

Enumclaw Health and Rehab offers free nursing training

The next round of classes starts Monday, June 26, and runs through July 24.

Most Read