2006-05-04 05:23:56.000 – Jim Salge, Observer
The washout that swallowed the truck…
The onset of spring has been sneaking up on the summit for a month or so, but the true onslaught of what spring means to the mountain was unleashed in the past 36 hours. Over two inches of rain plus significant melt water came pouring off the summit on Tuesday and Wednesday causing all kinds of havoc. The incredibly dense ice that formed around the building this winter has formed numerous ice dams, and the runoff has decided that it’s easier to find a way through concrete than these temporary impasses. Water has soaked the living room through a window and the tower through a sealed door.
More impressively though is what the water has done to the auto road. Shift change yesterday was about the worst trip up the road I can imagine, with deep washouts for the last 3 miles. The truck got stuck in the ditch in the picture on the way up to the snowcat, and had to be pulled out of the mud. Once we got to the snowcat, the trip became much easier, but it underscores the amount of work that the Auto Road crew has in the coming weeks to get tourist to the top.
Now the good news though. We’re in for a pretty nice stretch of weather on the summit. Right now we have an undercast, which may hold through part of the day. After a cold front tonight, Friday and the first part of the weekend looks great as well. Hopefully this will give us a chance to bail out the building and return to spring as normal!
Jim Salge, Observer