Purposeful avalanches on Atigun Pass

About a week ago the State of Alaska triggered some avalanches on Atigun Pass and then cleared a path through for the trucks.  The first video is a short one taken right after the loader and blower were done and the second one is longer and that’s when Jack was heading back the other direction, toward Prudhoe Bay.  Thanks to the State for being proactive in keeping our truckers safe!

 

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Caribou & moose herds

This is what it looks like when caribou cross your path on the Dalton Highway (click on the first one and scroll to the right to see them full size):

And here are three moose next to the Welcome to Fairbanks sign on the Parks Highway, taken the day after the caribou but there was no snow in Fairbanks at that time (10 days ago).  Jack says this is a bull and his harem.  You can barely see the one on the other side of the bushes but Jack says he’s a young bull trying to build a harem.  The moose on the right looks to me like a young moose, possibly a calf of the cow.   All-about-moose.com says about this topic:  “The taiga moose calf will stay within visible proximity whereas with tundra moose calves they will generally avoid the harems the bulls collect. Bulls will tolerate yearlings but for the most part calves avoid the harem group.”  We didn’t even know there was a difference between taiga and tundra moose.

 

Heavy haul load with 2 push trucks

For some reason, years ago, Jack documented this heavy haul load quite thoroughly so why not share it with you guys.  This is a 2006 heavy haul load with 2 push trucks going up Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway, and coming down the other side.  The load might be some kind of heater, maybe to heat the oil going down the pipeline, but Jack’s not totally sure.  It’s an outside unit so didn’t need to be covered.  Click on the first one and scroll to the right.

Jack’s new truck & Palo Duro Canyon

Jack bought a new pick up truck!  We picked it up in Amarillo, Texas and drove through Palo Duro Canyon State Park before heading on to New Mexico.  Click on the first one and scroll to the right if you are interested!

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Loud hail storm in the mountains of New Mexico

On The High Road to Taos (highway 518 in New Mexico) Jack and I ran into a pretty powerful hail storm.  Even Jack felt the need to pull over at this point.  At the very beginning of the below video you can see a little bit of lightning and later the road was totally white, it looked like snow.  There are photos below it.

White out & truck off the road

At some point every year white out conditions occur on the Dalton where you can see barely 20 feet in front of you.  Here are some photos from last year.  Someone went off the road and laid their truck over on its side.  Click on the first one and scroll to the right.

Two truckers caught in an avalanche

Two truckers were caught in an avalanche Monday night on the Dalton.  Jack was not involved and neither of the drivers were seriously hurt.  The road is now closed and the State is working on trying to trigger avalanches before they reopen.  We’ve had tons of snow, seems like a record breaking year for snow actually, but for some reason no one made the decision to deal with this before it got to this point.

There is a short dash cam video on the Alaska DOT Facebook page.  And from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Two tankers in an avalanche - The Jack Jessee Blog

Photo credit: Jonothan James Kasak via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website

“One of the trucks that was stuck was a tanker carrying methanol; the other one carried glycol. When the highway reopens, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will evaluate whether there were any spills. The other two trucks were able to proceed with minimal assistance from a Department of Transportation crew, Bailey said.

Atigun Pass is one of a handful of mountain passes where work crews frequently fire Howitzer artillery at snowcovered slopes to trigger avalanches in order to prevent unplanned slides. Avalanche gates were installed on the south side of the pass three years ago to stop vehicles headed into avalanche danger. This was the first time the gate has been used.”

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