"The mile-wide avalanche that happened in Aspen Highlands on March 9th certainly felt out of the norm. It was a nightmare that released naturally, charging over 3000 feet and destroying trees like toothpicks as it piled into the Conundrum Creek Valley"
The Cascades can have even bigger avalanches because of deep snowpacks (most years) and terrific relief. I'd bet a dollar to a donut that the Isella Glacier on Bonanza as an example will release this week from 8000+' to Hart Lake 3800' and possibly across the valley and up the other side (It did that years ago according to friend of mine that saw the remains of the avalanche. The entire snowpack beneath the glacier could well go in the next couple of days.)
The largest crowns in the Cascades on bigger snowpack years can reach 20-25' deep as one did back in 1990 off Heliotrope ridge into Grouse Creek. Old growth timber was destroyed in an area of about 500' wide and 1/4 mile long. Their have also been immense slides off Backbone Ridge and near Cascade Pass and I am sure in many other places as well. Shuksan Arm near the ski area has recorded slabs to 18'.
I have a friend with a Cessna and we've flown a few times in these mega slide cycles. Probably in 2011 I photographed a roughly 10' slab that released the width of the snowfield below Seward Peak's summit (perhaps 8400') and ran three miles to the 2800' level in a fork of Nooksack River. The last 1/3 mile was through large old growth forest. This would be a really neat week to see the damage throughout the Cascades (from a plane, not on foot! ).
I'm one of the few people that has climbed the South side of Bonanza via the Isella glacier and WOW are you right on that one. You would not want to be cross country skiing just up from Hart Lake when that thing kicks loose. It's a long strait shot, all at a slope with a lot to feed it. I'd love to see pics. That's why there's only bushes under that slope.
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