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Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 9:56 am 
Recent studies conducted by Art Mears and Chris Wilbur suggest that the Yodelin area has more development options using improved avalanche risk tools, data, and methods available today. Mears and Wilbur, who have extensive knowledge of the unique challenges posed by avalanches, have created new up-to-date reports that can help mitigate the risk in the area. Additionally, an original Yodelin owner, who has been in the area since 1969, has confirmed that there is only one active avalanche chute in the region, which poses a low risk to the community. This observation is further supported by a study conducted by a geo-tech engineering firm in 2012. It is essential to note that the Yodelin area has experienced significant fires in the past, mainly due to coal-powered trains entering the tunnel to go under the pass in the 1950s. This resulted in little to no timber standing in the area back in the 1970s, particularly on Skyline Ridge release areas. However, with 80 years of timber growth, the avalanche risk has significantly changed, and the timberstand is crucial in the release areas. A comparison of my aerial photo from the 1970s to Google Earth or an in-person visit shows a notable difference. Despite these challenges, the community in Yodelin is poised for growth, and the construction of more homes in the area will help provide much-needed housing for employees of Stevens Pass and others who work in the region. As someone who has been around this area as a child, I can attest to the many attractions of this beautiful part of the world, and Stevens Pass needs a robust and thriving community.

Treading hard
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Sky Hiker
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 5:18 pm 
So Stevens Pass needs a robust and thriving community? I am not sure the current infrastructure can sustain much growth without investment. I am not sure that the current ownership would be willing to invest in that. With the sometime days of road closures I don't anyone would commit to such a venture as far as purchasing. With the increase in wildfires thť avalanche danger is sure to rise should that occur.

Wake_and_Bait
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yorknl
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 7:03 pm 
Wake_and_Bait wrote:
It is essential to note that the Yodelin area has experienced significant fires in the past, mainly due to coal-powered trains entering the tunnel to go under the pass in the 1950s.
Respectfully disagree with this statement. When the current Cascade Tunnel (7.8 miles long) opened in 1929 the Great Northern electrified the entire route from Skykomish to Wenatchee. A tunnel that long made steam engines an impossibility, and the railroad chose to lengthen the electricification beyond that associated with the earlier, higher tunnel. This isn't a proof that steam locomotives never saw those rails after 1929 but they would very much have been an exception.

Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 7:15 pm 
Thank you for sharing your perspective on the history of the Cascade Tunnel and the electrification of the Great Northern railway route from Skykomish to Wenatchee. While it is true that the length of the tunnel made steam engines less practical, it is important to note that the Great Northern did not completely phase out steam locomotives on this route immediately after the electrification in 1929. There are several documented instances of steam locomotives continuing to operate on the Great Northern railway after the Cascade Tunnel was electrified. In fact, the Great Northern continued to use steam locomotives on this route until the mid-1950s. It is also worth noting that while the electrification of the Cascade Tunnel made steam engines less practical, it was not the only factor in the decision to electrify the route. The Great Northern also sought to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs by electrifying the line.

Treading hard
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Randito
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 7:19 pm 
Wake_and_Bait wrote:
However, with 80 years of timber growth, the avalanche risk has significantly changed,
I don't think that this is true at all. Standing timber is an indication of avalanche frequency, but not as effective at anchoring unstable snow as real estate development proponents would have you believe. For example the "Phantom" is a moderately popular ski run on Snoqualmie Mountain, following a cleared swath through mature (centuries old) timber. It didn't exist prior to 1986 when a massive avalanche cleared hundreds of acres of large mature forest. (5 feet of snow fell in a short period of time , followed by 6 inches of rain ) Avalanche prediction capabilities and mitigation technologies have improved, enough perhaps to issue evacuation orders to avoid deaths like those in 1971 , but whether the risk can be mitigated sufficiently to allow building permits to be issued and insurers to insure such development, give its history and the more recent Oso tragedy I think is a longshot.

arthaey, gb
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Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 7:20 pm 
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree with your points about the challenges of sustaining growth and development in the Stevens Pass area given the current infrastructure and ownership. It's important to carefully consider the potential risks and challenges, such as the threat of wildfires and avalanche danger, before pursuing any large-scale development. However, I also believe that there may be opportunities for responsible growth and development in the area, particularly through supporting and investing in the existing small residential home sites and communities like Yodelin. By working together and investing in the local infrastructure and resources, it may be possible to create a robust and thriving community in the Stevens Pass area over time. It will require careful planning, collaboration, and a commitment to sustainable growth and development.

Treading hard
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Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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PostSun Apr 09, 2023 7:29 pm 
Thank you for sharing your perspective on the impact of timber growth on avalanche risk, and for providing the example of the "Phantom" ski run on Snoqualmie Mountain. It's clear that there are many complex factors that contribute to avalanche risk, and that standing timber alone is not necessarily an effective means of mitigating that risk. I appreciate your point about the importance of considering the history and potential risks associated with development in the Stevens Pass area, particularly in light of events like the Oso tragedy. It will be important to carefully evaluate the risks and engage with experts to ensure that any development in the area is conducted in a responsible and safe manner. Ultimately, there may be differing opinions on the appropriate level of risk and the feasibility of development in the area, and it will be important to engage in respectful and informed dialogue to make well-informed decisions.

Treading hard
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CC
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CC
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PostThu Apr 13, 2023 4:47 pm 
Wake_and Bait is, in all liklilhood, one of the people who has bought up a bunch of the cheap lots in Yodelin, (i.e. lots for which the county will not issue building permits based on avy survey done after the 1971 avalanches) obviously hoping to get county to rescind the ban on building permits so they can flip the lots and make a killing. I have no idea why they think this would be of any interest to members of NWH.

First your legs go, then you lose your reflexes, then you lose your friends. Willy Pep
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trestle
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PostFri Apr 14, 2023 10:02 pm 
CC wrote:
of any interest
I'm interested. I see nothing wrong with revisiting 50+ year-old bureaucratic decisions. Art Mears is no slouch.

"Life favors the prepared." - Edna Mode
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Randito
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PostFri Apr 14, 2023 10:22 pm 
trestle wrote:
I'm interested. I see nothing wrong with revisiting 50+ year-old bureaucratic decisions.
Except that the decision to issue building permits for Yodelin residential development wasn't bureaucratic, it was judicial. The bureaucratic decision was to not issue permits based on analysis by Ed LaChapelle, one of most knowledgeable avalanche people at the time. The permits were issued as a result of a lawsuit by the property developer.
trestle wrote:
Art Mears is no slouch.
True, but we don't know the content of his recent analysis , we only know that "Wake_and_Bait" says there is update analysis that favors development, but links to those analysis reports aren't provided. Slope angle shading of the area above the Yodelin residential development shown high avalanche potential.

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trestle
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PostSun Apr 16, 2023 9:01 pm 
Randito wrote:
Except that the decision to issue building permits for Yodelin residential development wasn't bureaucratic, it was judicial. The permits were issued as a result of a lawsuit by the property developer.
For the sake of accuracy, this lawsuit was threatened but never happened. From "Written in the Snows" by Lowell Skoog:
LaChapelle's report notes many lots that are not condemned and sections of the development that are not at risk and could be safely used. The bureaucratic decision (...on February 20, 1979...Chelan County Board of Commissioners (Board) passed Resolution 79-22, which amended prior Resolution 77-109, to amend the previously adopted Uniform Building Code to not approve any permits after the fatal accident) was addressed in 2021 by the Yodelin Property Ownerís Association with Chelan County Department of Community Development. I stand corrected and will amend my statement; I see nothing wrong with revisiting 44+ year-old bureaucratic decisions. https://www.co.chelan.wa.us/files/community-development/documents/Yodelin/FINAL%20Administrative%20Interpretation%20NO_%202021-002_.pdf That's an interesting report that does leave a tiny bit of leeway for Yodelin property owners on page 24. While I can't find the GIS overlay that they reference, I was able to produce this map showing the known Geo Hazard areas around Yodelin.
Thanks for your graphic. Here's another graphic from avalanchemapping.org showing continued recognition of those paths. http://www.avalanchemapping.org/IMAGES/StevensPass11X17v0web.pdf I'd enjoy finding out what Art Mears has to say. Wake and Bait hasn't done anything except post some questions. But then again I'm not CC and don't have skin in the game like they seem to.

"Life favors the prepared." - Edna Mode
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gb
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 8:28 am 
Randito wrote:
I don't think that this is true at all. Standing timber is an indication of avalanche frequency, but not as effective at anchoring unstable snow as real estate development proponents would have you believe. For example the "Phantom" is a moderately popular ski run on Snoqualmie Mountain, following a cleared swath through mature (centuries old) timber. It didn't exist prior to 1986 when a massive avalanche cleared hundreds of acres of large mature forest. (5 feet of snow fell in a short period of time , followed by 6 inches of rain ) Avalanche prediction capabilities and mitigation technologies have improved, enough perhaps to issue evacuation orders to avoid deaths like those in 1971 , but whether the risk can be mitigated sufficiently to allow building permits to be issued and insurers to insure such development, give its history and the more recent Oso tragedy I think is a longshot.
While smaller avalanches are less likely to run through smaller new timber, larger slides would not be impeded. The 1971 avalanche followed ten feet of snow in three days followed by rain - on an ice layer. This year for instance the biggest crowns have likely mostly been 4-5'. But a flight over Baker about 20 years ago showed a crown that looked to be 20'; such an avalanche would have no trouble taking out old growth as Randito indicated on Mt. Snoqualmie. It took out about 160 acres of old growth. Frequency of very large Class 5 avalanches is not often, but increasingly more unpredictable as our climate continues to change. Maybe 10 years ago we flew over the Black Buttes and saw a crown of 10-12' @ 8000' that ran to 2800' in the Nooksack, the last mile was through old growth timber with a total runout of about 3 miles.

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Wake_and_Bait
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Wake_and_Bait
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PostMon Nov 13, 2023 6:54 am 
CC, I feel like your opinions of me flipping properties is absurd. I have no intentions of flipping anything. Im just a local hiker/skier who knows Chris and Art Mears, and I have met them and ski toured the area recently to go over the project. The only reason I posted is because the thread was already active and I figured my information would be helpful. It is very important to know that the original 1971 avalanche study was based off a one day summer inspection by Ed Lachepple. In comparison, Chris and Artís evaluation is based off 4 separate visits to Yodelin, each visit multiple days with winter/summer observations, starting in 2020- present day. The primary issue is that Chelan county is not experience with avalanche in comparison to Colorado or Alaska counties by example. Chris and Art are making this a long-term project. Based off my understanding, they already studied one complete division out of three total. They are working with one long time owner in Yodelin, they are not really open with working with others at this time from my understanding. I know the property owners. Their plan is for a small family cabin exclusively. So they can hike the PCT and enjoy winter recreation, nothing like you suggest of flipping, I can confidently confirm that. I would like to ask what is your motivation to label me a flipper online? Iím having trouble understanding where you are coming from. Do you own property in Yodelin and want no one in your back yard???

Treading hard
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John_B
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PostMon Nov 13, 2023 11:06 am 
This is a very interesting thread, starting from reading Fred Beckey posts 2 decades ago. My question/concern with the findings of reduced avalanche activity in the Yodelin area is what happens after a wildfire. I know Art Mears and Chris Wilbur have some very unimpeachable credentials at evaluating avalanche risk. A could comments from W&B such as "there is only one active avalanche chute in the region, which poses a low risk to the community" ignores the large change that will occur after a stand replacing fire. It doesn't take much imagination to picture fire similar to Bolt Creek, the 2020 Labor Day fires in Oregon or any other scenario resulting in a large fire on the hill above that area. I'm a bit biased about wildfire concerns since I live in the Methow Valley, but currently I see nothing that could refute the phrase "it's not if it burns, but when it burns" on the east side of the Cascades. Also I'm not super familiar with the history of the Yodelin area, so I appreciate the stories that others have shared. Here is a link to some cool photos from the 60s & 70s that others may find interesting. https://yodelin.org/history-1960-1970.asp

hikerbiker
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PostMon Nov 13, 2023 12:38 pm 
THAT WASNíT THE REAL FRED (ALL CAPS) BECKEY

Bronco
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