Meadows Blog

Reaching the Century Mark at Mid Mountain

In previous seasons, we reported a mid mountain snow depth. This was done largely by guess - either some of our on snow folks making an educated guess, or by extrapolation - adding a certain amount or percentage to our base area snow depth. We never really had an accurate reading for ourselves or to share with our guests.

Earlier this season our snow safety team scouted out some locations on the mountain to place a stake that we could record mid mountain depths. We needed to find a spot that was relatively undisturbed, didn't snow load or get wind scoured, was accessible for our grooming or patrol crews to read regularly and was representory of our middle mountain conditions. The preferred location was near the top of Roach Bowl at the 6,250 foot elevation. Our NWAC telemetry (our official measurement) is located at the 5,380 foot elevation.

Initially the snow stake was 110" in length. It's first measurement, way back in December - was 31" when we had 22" in the base. Turns out 110" probably won't be enough stake, as we reached the 100" mark today. Our snow safety team spliced an extension on to the stake so we will be able to continue to measure and report at mid mountain - and compare to our base area depth.

Adding length to the snow stake at Mt. Hood MeadowsSnow stake reaches 100

 So this is cause for a little "unofficial" celebration. We hit 100" at mid mountain. Hurray! And with our base depth at 75" and winter kicking into gear, we're hoping to celebrate reaching the century mark officially soon!

3 Comments

  1. Steep & Deep

    February 9, 2014

    I love seeing the snow getting deeper at the mountain. Now for the obvious question....How far off is PR & Heather? Thanks.

    Meadows: We've attempted to build bridges in the last storm but the snow was too light. We expect this week's snow to improve bridge building conditions. We will build it as soon as we can.

  2. boar2m

    February 10, 2014

    Ditto what S&D said.

    I am optimistic Meadows dedicated crew will come through with the snow-bridges. On the other hand, patrols will have their hands full with the avi-danger due to the heavy snow on top of freezing rain on top of light-pow on top of PNW crust. Awe, what the heck, I expect the Heather opening by this Friday. Now get to work! :-)

    Meadows: Good points all around - especially the "get to work" part! We're on it..

  3. willynilly

    February 15, 2014

    Thank you for making the best use of the little snow that you had earlier this season. Let's hope that it continues to DUMP!

    I am confident that the bridges are in, with the abundance of rain-saturated snow available over the past week. An impending opening to Heather and Clark, and a recent loss of an acquaintance to a slide leads me to start thinking about avalanches...

    Has MHM ever considered offering avalanche education? I know that patrol does a great job with avy control, but it wouldn't hurt to educate your guests with the most basic of courses. I don't think that I have ever seen a rider stop and read the warning signs at any gate when entering the canyon. Plus, the vast majority of people heading into the canyon seem to not carry a probe, shovel or beacon (except @ superbowl, of course).

    I know that the probability of a significant slide is low, but it is absolutely possible. Waiting for patrol to respond to a burial in the canyon is not going to end well for the buried subject. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Ass'n. Journal found that at 15 minutes after burial, survival rates are about 50%.

    I would feel much safer out there knowing that a witness to a slide would be able to respond as a rescuer with the appropriate tools and knowledge.

    *End of loooooong rant*

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. The bridges were built and we opened lower Heather and Private Reserve over the weekend. We have considered offering avalanche education classes. We highly encourage people to seek avalanche education. The AAIRE website (www.avtraining.org) lists local course offerings. We continue to evaluate snow conditions which will affect access through our gates and we appreciate our guests respecting the closed gates and boundary ropes we have placed.

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