Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hope - Paradise may open on Sunday

Here is the updated situation on the road to Paradise, infused with a fresh supply of images for your consumption. As it stands today (Valentines Day) the NPS hopes that public access to Paradise will be restored by Sunday. The Deputy Superintendent, Randy King (i.e. bigwig), had this to say,
"The park's road crew has made amazing progress in the difficult snow removal job on the Longmire to Paradise Road and in the Paradise area proper this week. And other maintenance crews are busy shoveling and removing snow from buildings, accessways, water systems, hydrants, etc. - a hard job to say the least! Today the utilities crew discovered the water system was not recovering. The earliest possible results from the [health department] test would be on Saturday and we cannot open [the road] to the public until we have a good water sample. So, at this point, the earliest we can possibly reopen will be on Sunday, pending a good water sample result."
In the meantime, here are some pictures for you. This is what happens when the road isn't plowed for a few days during a winter storm. No way would you get into the Paradise Old Station on a day like this. Breaking into the second story window isn't an option! Many old-time climbers may recall that this was where you'd self register for winter trips.

Getting into the Jackson Visitor Center poses similiar problems.
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"Redrum"... Is that the Paradise Inn or the hotel from The Shining. Do I see Jack Nickolson in one of those windows?

More seriously, we're now trying to figure out how much snow actually fell at Paradise during the past week. Unfortunately for record purposes, no one was able to measure the daily snow total during that time. The "new" snowfall recorded on Tuesday, when a ranger finally got up there after a week, was over 55 inches, but that doesn't account for compaction, heating, rain, etc. When last recorded on Feb. 7th, Paradise had 559 inches for the winter. There were 7 new inches last night, giving a total near 621 inches for the 2007/08 winter. That number is about average for a normal YEAR total. So considering that we're only halfway through the snow year, Mount Rainier may be on track for a big one. Personally, I hope so, as I love to spring ski in June and July... Though it might have a negative affect on Slush Cup. NPS photos