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Weekly current recreation report covering all outdoor activities including fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, skiing, mushroom, berry and firewood gathering around Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in the Cascade Range forests along the White Pass Highway in southwest Washington State.

See a map showing our area here:

This page is updated weekly.

E-Mail: outdoors@highwayshopper.com Please phone or snailmail anything urgent or especially important.

Recreation Report from the Shopper
for March 4, 2015

Submitted by Dave Bunting, Editor.

 

Headlines

  • Daylight Saving Time Begins- Set your clocks forward one hour this Sat. night Mar. 7.
  • Elevations above 5,000 ft. got several inches of new snow!
  • Mushroom pickers are buying permits!
  • Razor Digs are proposed beginning Mar. 2.
  • Babyshoe Pass Road #23 and Walupt Lake roads from Randle are open.
  • Snowline in forest is above 4,000 ft. elev.

 

Index to the following
Recreation Report

Information for all areas:

Snow                                 

White Pass Ski Area          

Highway Conditions          

Sky & Science                   

Lower Cowlitz Fishing       

Mt. St. Helens                   

Westside- Packwood,
          Randle & Morton
     

Fishing/Hunting Westside  

Forest Roads Westside       

Campgrounds Westside      

Trails Westside                 

Permits: Forest Products   

Randle Ranger Station       

Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park      

Eastside- Naches District

Fishing/Hunting Eastside   

Highways Eastside             

Forest Roads Eastside        

Campgrounds Eastside       

Trails Eastside                   

Permits-Forest Products    

Naches Ranger Station      

Elsewhere in Washington

Information
for all of
Shopper Country

Snow

On Monday, Mar. 2, the snowline westside, above which snow covered the ground, was about elevation 4,000 ft. elevation. At elevations around 4,500 ft. such as White Pass and Potato Hill there were 3 to 26 inches. At higher places such as the top of White Pass Ski Area and Paradise at 5,500 ft. and higher there were 41 to 66 inches, except far over on the drier eastside only 3 to 24 inches.

Most high places at 5,000 feet and above received several inches of fresh snow in the past week. Snow depth up there on top now is those several inches deeper than last week.

Snow Depths Mon. Mar. 2

Place                    Elev.     In.

Packwood             1,000       0

SkateCk Sno*Pk    1,500       0

Hwy 12-123 Jct.     1,600       0

Johnson Sno*Pk    2,400       0

Hwy12 Palisades    2,500       0

Adams Fk CG       2,600       0

Wakepish S*P       2,800       0

Longmire              2,800       0

Orr Ck Sno*Pk      3,000       0

Hwy 12 Dip          3,100       0

Hwy 12 Viewpnt    3,700       0

Lone Pine             3,800       0

KnuppenbergLk      4,300       3

Babyshoe Pass       4,350      4?

Crystal Lodge        4,400      12

Potato Hill            4,500      26

White Pass            4,500      16

Cayuse Pass          4,700      22

Morse Lake           5,400      58

Paradise Lodge       5,500 55-66

Chinook Pass        5,600      68

WPassSkiTop       5,900      51

Corral Pass CG      6,000      41

Crystal Top           6,300      50

Sunrise                 6,400      50

Green Lk               6,000      31

Lost Horse            5,000       8

Bumping Rdg        4,600      14

Dog Lk                 4,200       3

E Slide Bottm       3,600       0

Sand Lk TH          3,500       0

Rimrock Lk           3,000       0

Rimrock Retrt        2,300       0

Oak Ck Game        1,700       0

Naches                  1,500       0

 

White Pass Ski Area reports on Monday, Mar. 2:

Base: 14”

Summit: 51”

OPEN TODAY!  CONDITIONS FOR MONDAY, MARCH 2

The new snow that fell on Friday is still providing super smooth groomed runs; with conditions in Paradise Basin at their best of the season thus far.  Ben's going to shredding today and he recommends that you do too!

Lift Ticket Rates: $45 Adult / $31 Junior (subtract $5 if you are reloading)  $30 if you present a season pass from any other ski area.

Operations Schedule:

Tuesday, March 3 - Thursday, March 5: NOT OPERATING

Resuming Friday - Monday operations.  

We expect to go daily for Spring Break March 27 - April 6.

 

Long range forecasts for March for the Pacific Northwest now predict temperatures warmer than average by about a 42% chance, and above normal precipitation by about a 36% chance.

If these forecasts hold, we can look forward to earlier than usual highway pass and forest road openings, planting gardens and lawns needing water.

See these forecasts at:     . bit.ly/ForecastsThreeMonthOutlooks

The Snow Water Equivalent as of Mar. 2, 2015 for the Lower Yakima River Basin, which includes the Tieton River Basin and the east side of the White Pass area, was only 37% of the median amount through the years 1981-2010, even though the total precipitation since Oct. 1 has been exactly 100% of median for those years. Similarly, the Snow Water Equivalent for the Lower Columbia River Basin Area, which includes the Cowlitz River Basin including the west side of the White Pass area, is only 16% of the 1981-2010 median, even though the precipitation since Oct. 1 has been similarly exactly 100% of median. See the USDA’s very long Snotel Narrative report (look about 9/10ths down from the top) at:. http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/sno_narr3_pl

 

Avalanche Danger
Moderate on Westside
Southern Cascade Slopes at and above treeline

As of Monday-Tuesday Mar. 2-3, the avalanche danger on westslopes at and above treeline, is Moderate: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify problem features.

The avalanche danger below treeline on westslopes and on all eastslopes is Low.

NWAC avalanche forecasts apply to backcountry avalanche terrain in the Olympics, Washington Cascades and Mt Hood area. These forecasts do not apply to developed ski areas, avalanche terrain affecting highways and higher terrain on the volcanic peaks above the Cascade crest level.

Mountain
Temperatures

Through the past week, the temperatures at White Pass varied between 19° and 57°, at Paradise between 21° and 50°, at Camp Muir from 9° to 35°. At Mt. Rainier Summit at elev. 14,500 ft. temperature has been +4° to +11° with 35 to 70 mph winds. Snow levels have been2,500 to 4,000 ft. elevation.

Highway Conditions

At 2:00 pm on Monday, Mar. 2:

White Pass Highway US 12: Open. No tire requirements, Roadway bare and dry under overcast skies. Temp. 30° with 16 inches of snow alongside the highway.

Chinook Pass Highway WA410 is CLOSED for the season from milepost 74 near Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) to milepost 57 near Crystal Mountain Blvd (12 miles west of the summit). On Mar. 2 at 2:00 p.m. Chinook had temperature of 26° with 68 inches of snow on the highway.

Cayuse Pass Highway WA123/410 is CLOSED for the season from the intersection of SR 410 to Stevens Canyon Road. On Mar. 2 Cayuse had 22 inches of snow. Afternoon temperatures on Cayuse have been around 33°,

Stevens Canyon Road is CLOSED for the season.

Skate Creek Forest Highway #52 between Packwood and Ashford: still OPEN on Mar. 2 but may have some frost or ice especially in mornings, so drive it carefully. It is not sanded like a highway.

Dial 511 for current highway and pass information.

The Sky & Science

Sun Rise/ Set and Moon Transit:

Wed. 3/4 Sun 6:44am/ 6:00pm

Moon 99% Waxing 12:00pm

Thu. 3/5 Full Worm Moon

Sun. 3/8 Daylight Saving Time Begins- Set your clocks forward one hour this Sat. night Mar. 7.

Wed. 3/11 Sun 7:30am/ 7:09pm

Moon 69% Waning 5:25am

On press day Mar. 4 we were 71 days after the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year, the technical end of fall and beginning of winter, and our day was two hours and 42 minutes longer than it was on Dec. 21. The sun is “coming back north,” and our days are getting longer!

On press day Mar. 4 we were 108 days before the Summer Solstice, the technical beginning of summer and the longest day of the year, on June 21. Today our day is four hours and 34 minutes shorter than it will be on June 21. Right now our days are getting longer by about 23 minutes each week.

On press day Mar. 4 we were also 16 days before the Spring Equinox; the center of the sun “will pass through the plane of the earth’s equator on its journey north” on March 20, the technical end of winter and beginning of spring, the day when night will be exactly as long as day.

We are 147 days in Packwood and 154 days in Yakima before the average hottest day of the year. The hottest daily average temperature in Packwood is 85°, occurring on July 21. The hottest daily average temperature in Yakima is 89° on July 28.

We are also 66 to 68 days after the average coldest day of the year. The lowest daily average temperature in Packwood is 35° and occurs on Dec. 26; in Yakima it is 27° and occurs on Dec. 28.

Remember that the daily average temperature is the average of the daily high and the nightly low temperatures.

Dawn Spacecraft
Nears Historic
Dwarf Planet Arrival

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has returned new images captured on approach to its historic orbit insertion at the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters orbit around Ceres on Friday, March 6. Recent images show numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientists believe tell how Ceres, the first object discovered in our solar system’s asteroid belt, formed and whether its surface is changing.

 

See “Citizen Four” movie about Edward Snowden

“Citizen Four” the movie about Edward Snowden is now available on HBO and iTunes.

Former NSA employee Edward Snowden exposed NSA’s super-technical monitoring of much of the world’s once-presumed private or secret internet communications.

The movie is highly acclaimed as a quality production and well worth watching. It received an Oscar on the Academy Awards.

Lower Cowlitz
Fishing

General Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs Fishing Season is open year-round. However, many of the most popular large “Low-Lakes” or "traditional" lakes are CLOSED from Nov. 1 until April 25.

General Fishing Season in Rivers, Streams and Beaver Ponds are CLOSED Nov. 1 until June 6. However many waters have different seasons specified different than the above, so…

READ YOUR PAMPHLET!

 

Karen Glaser, Barrier Dam Campground, Salkum, reported this week: Fishing on the Cowlitz is picking up quite a bit. We are seeing nice big steelhead now. Yesterday we weighed one in at 20 and half pounds and there has been quite a few thirteen, fifteen pounders taken so we o have some nice fish coming all the way to the Barrier Dam. This is steelhead of course.

“Water is still at 5000 to 5080, around in there, so its good water and the pressure has picked up quite a bit especially weekends now and the fish are coming in for the bank and boat fisherman both. Bank fisherman are using a lot of jig and bobber topped off with a little Loonie Coonie Tail or sand shrimp. Some are using corkies, Blue Fox, and Little Cleos have been good, and some are just drifting sand shrimp and eggs or sand shrimp and eggs together, the Cowlitz Cocktail. So we are coming along pretty good with our fish.

“A few Spring Chinook have been taken. It’s early but some times we get a little pilot run come in after the smelt come in. There are still quite a few smelt down in the lower river yet. Of course that is finished for the sportsman-- no more dipping.

“We do have some nice fish, and the lakes: Mayfield is picking up a few trout, Riffe Lake is picking up some nice silvers up there now. Haven’t heard much on Swofford at all lately. But we still have nice fish in the area so take a nice day and go fishing!”

 

Tacoma Power reported for the week ended Mar. 2:

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 19 winter steelhead during three days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. The adult fish ladder system was shut down for two days of maintenance during the week.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released four steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released two steelhead adults into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,060 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 2. Water visibility is 11 feet. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

On Monday,