Elk Cove avalanche

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Elk Cove avalanche

Post by bushwhacker » July 13th, 2021, 6:45 am

A big thank you to 'smithsummit' for planning my hike for Monday.

Always looking for something different to do on Mt Hood beyond hiking the trails and off trails I have hiked dozens of times before I decided to hike over to Elk Cove from Vista Ridge to check out this avalanche. Not often you can get up close and walk around on an avalanche on Mt Hood. I seen them in the Wallowa's and Glacier Peak before but not on Hood.

Looks like it originated on the East / NE face of Barrett Spur which would make sense since most of the weather around here comes up from the South / SW. The snow would drift over and build up to the East then fail.

It appears to have wiped out most of the trees on the upper 1/3 of Elk Cove but didn't get near the Timberline Trail.


Origin point..
I walked around the avalanche parameter to the East thinking I could drop down back to the Timberline Trail but that's not going to happen any time soon with the snow and broken up trees every where. I then backtracked to the TT and went over to the Elk Cove trail junction and took one of the user trails up to see how far I could get. Eventually you are blocked by 6 or 7 feet of snow and broken trees.

All in all a great day (except for the bugs).

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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Elk Cove avalanche

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 13th, 2021, 7:27 am

That's pretty impressive. I wonder if something like that would show up on a seismograph.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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Chip Down
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Re: Elk Cove avalanche

Post by Chip Down » July 13th, 2021, 11:56 am

Nice report! I've been curious about that, but too lazy to go check it out.

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Re: Elk Cove avalanche

Post by BigBear » July 13th, 2021, 5:55 pm

Thanks for sharing. It's quite something to see - like an old growth smoothy (ice, trees & rocks).

The first of the stone shelters to be taken out was Elk Cove from an avalanche. It's mentioned in the Don & Roberta Lowe hiking guide. The Lamberson Butte shelter was hit by lightening, and in the early 90s (1991, I think) a tree took out the Paradise Park shelter. The funny thing about that one was the USFS sign telling campers to camp in the trees and not the meadows at the time.

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Re: Elk Cove avalanche

Post by woodswalker » July 15th, 2021, 2:49 pm

We saw that from up on the saddle above the avalanche and wondered if anyone had checked it out. It's impressive even from above. Thanks for posting it.

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Re: Elk Cove avalanche

Post by adamschneider » July 20th, 2021, 12:04 pm

I just checked my photos from July 5 on Barrett Spur, and it turns out I do have one "aerial view" of the avalanche:

That obvious bit of trail visible in the bottom center of my picture is the Timberline Trail where it makes a big southward-pointing "V" into Elk Cove; looks like the avalanche came very close to it.

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