SEATTLE - A large and destructive avalanche slid down Source Lake in the Alpental Valley, which is one of Washington's most popular backcountry areas.
Fortunately, no one was hurt but the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) is warning people to take this event very seriously.
The enormous avalanche was 800 feet wide and 12-15 feet deep. It descended more than 2000 feet, crossed Source Lake, and traveled 300 feet into a forest. NWAC believes it happened sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. It was enough to keep skiers and snowboarders in Snoqualmie Pass to stay inbounds on Tuesday.
"I haven't been out recently because the avalanche danger is so high and we got a lot of snow," said Sarah Burrington.
Debris from the event covered numerous common travel routes and a very popular lunch spot.
"It's easy for us to think, oh we're getting into springtime, but no, we're only smack dab in the middle of the winter season here in the Cascades, so we have a lot more winter storms to come and you're going to see avalanches," said NWAC Deputy Director Dallas Glass.
NWAC believes the slide occurred naturally and has been monitoring cracks on the slopes since mid-January when a weak layer developed in the Cascades from British Columbia to Mt. Hood.
"This big sleeping beast is in the mountains and it's not sleeping anymore. We really have not gone more than two days without hearing about a new avalanche on this layer," added Glass.
NWAC says it is critical for backcountry seekers to get the avalanche training, check the forecast (updates at 6pm daily), and carry the gear- a beacon, shovel, and a probe. You can find all the information here: https://nwac.us/