The Sylvan Pass, connecting Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance, was closed May 11 after the slides, one resulting in a debris field 70 yards wide and 20-30 feet deep across the road. The heavy snowpack, combined with consecutive days of mild spring temperatures, continue to deteriorate high-elevation conditions and are expected to delay the reopening of Sylvan Pass.
The park is currently redirecting heavy road clearing equipment to support reopening operations, and avalanche crews searched the slide area today with probes and canine rescue teams to ensure no motorists were caught in the slide. An unoccupied government vehicle sustained damage when it was partially buried in a major slide as a ranger was conducting an assessment of the area on foot May 11. The ranger was uninjured in the incident.
Explosives were used today by park officials to try and bring down some of the heavy, wet snow. Thirteen of 18 of the detonations were successful in releasing large amounts of snow.
A blanket of heavy melting snow in the park’s interior has also contributed to the roof collapse of the RV repair facility at Fishing Bridge and caused roof damage at the Grant Village Visitor Education Center. No injuries were reported in either incident, and repair work is underway.
Image courtesy of the National Park Service.