Snoqualmie Pass During Winter

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
It has been a few weeks since I hit up a river and I'm itching. My local river is closed now and I heard the Snoqualmie forks are high, so I'm considering making the drive over to the Yak.

I've never done the drive during winter, so I'm not sure what I'm up for. Also, coming from a country that is 90% desert, I have limited snow driving experience. I did drive to Whistler once though, in the middle of pretty heavy snowfall.

The road conditions page says chains are required, except for AWD/4WD vehicles. I have a Subaru Crosstrek, but only standard all season tires. Am I good to go, or do I have to buy tire socks?

Should I expect the drive to take five times longer than usual? Google Maps says 1.25h to Cle Elum, but that is about how long it takes without snow.
 
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quilbilly

Big Time Hater
Lol

It can be tough.
Depends on the driver and the day.
I carry chains when driving over the pass in the winter.
Be sure and gopro/ dashcam the trip so we can critique.
;)
Get the chains, things change fast and you don't want to be that guy.
 

Jojo

A sometimes eternal optimist
WFF Supporter
Because my husband is from Eastern Washington and is very close with his family we have made trip over the pass way more times than i ever wanted to. For ten years in a row we traveled on Christmas morning to get to his mom’s house. After awhile it made no sense for us to keep going there when most of the other family members were living on this side. (However we still go to see his sister in Pasco. )

One time I-90 was like a skating rink and the traffic was moving at 25 mph. It took us 8 hours to get there. (This was before cell phones. I was so exhausted from being scared that i went straight to bed after eating turkey dinner.) But that was one time out of many many times. We did have one time when we had to stay overnight when I-90 was shut down. But it was kind of an adventure.

HOWEVER.... i think I would rather travel I-90 in the snow than the rain when we get behind those big semis. I also dread driving over in the summer during construction as much as i do in the snow. We made two separate trips during summer construction in the past four years that took us an extra three hours getting home. I was terrified i would have to pee.

Best thing about Covid for me is not having to drive that pass even once this year. I just hate it so much.
 

Cal I. Baetis

Active Member
It has been a few weeks since I hit up a river and I'm itching. My local river is closed now and I heard the Snoqualmie forks are high, so I'm considering making the drive over to the Yak.

I've never done the drive during winter, so I'm not sure what I'm up for. Also, coming from a country that is 90% desert, I have limited snow driving experience. I did drive to Whistler once though, in the middle of pretty heavy snowfall.

The road conditions page says chains are required, except for AWD/4WD vehicles. I have a Subaru Crosstrek, but only standard all season tires. Am I good to go, or do I have to buy tire socks?

Should I expect the drive to take five times longer than usual? Google Maps says 1.25h to Cle Elum, but that is about how long it takes without snow.
It has been a few weeks since I hit up a river and I'm itching. My local river is closed now and I heard the Snoqualmie forks are high, so I'm considering making the drive over to the Yak.

I've never done the drive during winter, so I'm not sure what I'm up for. Also, coming from a country that is 90% desert, I have limited snow driving experience. I did drive to Whistler once though, in the middle of pretty heavy snowfall.

The road conditions page says chains are required, except for AWD/4WD vehicles. I have a Subaru Crosstrek, but only standard all season tires. Am I good to go, or do I have to buy tire socks?

Should I expect the drive to take five times longer than usual? Google Maps says 1.25h to Cle Elum, but that is about how long it takes without snow.
 

IHFISH

WFF Supporter
It's like checking tides, wind, river flows etc. Always a good idea to look before you head out the door. The WSDOT link above is probably your best bet and the base weather report on the summit central website is another place to look.

I can't recall ever seeing it in practice, but in theory there is a level above chains required except AWD, where chains are required even if you have AWD, so carry them to avoid a fine and not "be that guy" - https://www.wsdot.com/winter/tires-chains.htm. I recommend practicing putting them on with gloves on.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
It's like checking tides, wind, river flows etc. Always a good idea to look before you head out the door. The WSDOT link above is probably your best bet and the base weather report on the summit central website is another place to look.

I can't recall ever seeing it in practice, but in theory there is a level above chains required except AWD, where chains are required even if you have AWD, so carry them to avoid a fine and not "be that guy" - https://www.wsdot.com/winter/tires-chains.htm. I recommend practicing putting them on with gloves on.
It's a 4wd high clearance restriction, or it used to be. Chains on a suby won't make a difference when it gets like that. Pull over an wait it out. Way less stressful.
 

IHFISH

WFF Supporter
Totally agree on waiting it out if uncomfortable at all. I have AWD and still go very slow in the passes when there's any snow. My understanding is you can get fined if you don't have chains, whatever the wisdom of that rule may or may not be. And great point on the supplies, we've done that ever since getting stuck on Hwy 2 last year in that big storm.
 

Rocking Chair Fan

No more hot spotting
I would recommend that you not to go over the pass in the snow since you indicate you have no experience. Wait a couple of days since the wet side is supposed to get some snow. Find a big parking lot with no obstacles and learn more about your vehicle as well as driving techniques including driving without using the brake pedal. You will learn a lot for sure. Then think about hills, lots of vehicles around you spinning, stopped, crashed, speeding by you, low visibility, ice, ruts, snow burms and then let us know what you think...

If you get chance purposely go into a slow slide and how to correct for it.
 
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O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
After a career of being in a hurry, traveling shitty roads in the winter the only advice I have is patience and gear to keep you comfortable while you wait it out. It's amazing how if you pull over for an hour or two, how things can change for the better.
 

Rocking Chair Fan

No more hot spotting
After a career of being in a hurry, traveling shitty roads in the winter the only advice I have is patience and gear to keep you comfortable while you wait it out. It's amazing how if you pull over for an hour or two, how things can change for the better.

I have had to find hotels rather than continue on. Best choice I have made. Better to show intelligence than how big our balls we have..
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
Just to clarify, I'm not planning to go this week; too much snow on the forecast, as others have highlighted. This is more of a general thing. It looks like my local river is closed until May. I'm going to be bored as shit, unless I get used to driving over the pass!

I will buy some tire socks, just in case. I'll also take some basic supplies, in case I get stranded for a few hours.
 

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