Snoqualmie Pass During Winter

wetline dave

Active Member
A good set of winter traction tires with studs, not all season tires, will cover most of the pass conditions and especially with chains. All season tires don't have the right tread to qualify for snow tires. there will be times when chains will be required even with this set-up but not often. Always carry chains and know how to install.

For many years I traveled Snoqualmie nearly every weekend to hunt on the east side and my heavy duty traction tires with studs did the job and only on a very few occasions was I required to chain up.

My best advise for snow and ice driving is go slow and deliberate and think ahead. Brakes are your enemy and a stick shift is your friend. Keep a steady pace and no sudden changes. Remember AWD and 4WD can go like a bat out of hell but they cann't stop any better than anyone else. Relax and enjoy a leisurely pace let the 4X4's macho boys pass you up. You will catch up to them and pass on by when they end up buried off the road, especially coming west bound on I 90 just after the pass on that long sweeping right hand curve just past the bridge. .



Snowy and icy conditions is not the time to set speed records going across the pass! Take a deep breath and relax. Be alert and give a lot of space between cars to dodge the stupid.

Dave
 

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
A good set of winter traction tires with studs, not all season tires, will cover most of the pass conditions and especially with chains. All season tires don't have the right tread to qualify for snow tires. there will be times when chains will be required even with this set-up but not often. Always carry chains and know how to install.

For many years I traveled Snoqualmie nearly every weekend to hunt on the east side and my heavy duty traction tires with studs did the job and only on a very few occasions was I required to chain up.

My best advise for snow and ice driving is go slow and deliberate and think ahead. Brakes are your enemy and a stick shift is your friend. Keep a steady pace and no sudden changes. Remember AWD and 4WD can go like a bat out of hell but they cann't stop any better than anyone else. Relax and enjoy a leisurely pace let the 4X4's macho boys pass you up. You will catch up to them and pass on by when they end up buried off the road, especially coming west bound on I 90 just after the pass on that long sweeping right hand curve just past the bridge. .



Snowy and icy conditions is not the time to set speed records going across the pass! Take a deep breath and relax. Be alert and give a lot of space between cars to dodge the stupid.

Dave
Seen more than one fancy suv on its top on that curve. Hard to get anywhere fast when you are upside down. I usually make it to my destination before the spun out suv driver, even if they got lucky and stayed upright
 

Zak

WFF Supporter
@jaredoconnor - great news!. Snow is here. Ice storm in many places. Time to go out tomorrow and practice. Get to know your skills, your vehicle, improve your skills, and put on the socks and how they work.

Have fun!
What he said. I'm from Vermont where winter diving on ice is a required skill. Here, on the sound, I'm not even buying snow tires.

You've got to know how your car handles on ice, how far to stop, and how to steer out of slides. Find an empty, smooth icy lot and do some brodies and donuts. Though donuts are pretty hard to do with AWD. It's fun!
 

bakerite

Active Member
I'm heading over from NEO on Wednesday to take care of dad for a week or two. Coming a couple of days earlier than I have to because Snoqualmie is slammed with snow every other day according to the 10 day report. It's been snowing steady here since yesterday morning, but the pass is the worst part of this drive because of the traffic. 16D4FA53-9C51-46A5-A613-029490638D01.jpeg
When I’m coming that way I always look at hourly weather and try to fit timing for the pass and then hopefully rush hour.
 

bakerite

Active Member
The worst drive I ever had wasn't Montana, Snoqualmie or Meacham to Moscow (one time in a school bus with a high school band over 8 hours, with a bus driver that didn't know how to put on the chains so I did). It was Eugene to Baker in an ice storm. the gorge full of semis going 15 mph, but a few wanted to go 17. Ice that would rattle my Subaru. I could go about 35 safely. Finally stopped in Pendleton and got a motel.
 

Chic Worthing

WFF Supporter
This topic reminded me of a situation that my wife and I experienced travelling over Snoqualmie years ago in her Ford Mustang. It was alternating from snow to rain and as we travelled up the pass and the car would gradually slow down and no amount of throttle would let us go faster or even maintain speed. I would pull over and pop the hood and see nothing awry but being newly married I had to at least give rhe appearance I knew what was up with a car. When I got back in the car, it would operate normally for maybe a half hour. I would get out, look around like I was fixing something and off we would go for another half mile. I had the same thing happen fairly soon after that.

I was talking about it at work one guy said it was rarther simple. He was a pilot and what he described thought the weather would have been and he was right. He said it was carburetor icing common in flying . When the moist air travelled through the venturi part of the carb throat that expands rapidly ice would form on the throat gradually narrowing the dimension of that part and less air would flow through, hence less speed. When I stopped to look, the engine heat would quickly warm the carb and the ice would drop out. The next time it happened, I removed the air filer and looked through the carb and saw the tube of ice as it fell down onto the manifold.
 

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
The worst drive I ever had wasn't Montana, Snoqualmie or Meacham to Moscow (one time in a school bus with a high school band over 8 hours, with a bus driver that didn't know how to put on the chains so I did). It was Eugene to Baker in an ice storm. the gorge full of semis going 15 mph, but a few wanted to go 17. Ice that would rattle my Subaru. I could go about 35 safely. Finally stopped in Pendleton and got a motel.
I agree.

I used to drive Walla Walla to Portland on a regular basis as a young man. Most fun i have ever had is the stretch from The Dalles to Hood River.

Not really fun, but kept me from going to sleep as the ruts that had softened during day then froze over in hard ice made the drive challenging.

Snoqualmie pass a piece of cake compared to the Columbia river gorge on ice days.

A couple things stick out in my mind. A few times driving bug i had the wind blow me over half way into the next lane on ice without making any adjustments to steering, throttle or brakes.

Anther time driving my dad's diesel Rabbit on a very cold night with the great powder snow. Traction was good, so i was traveling 50 mph and the wind was blowing tiny snow flakes at the same speed. Headlights lit up the snow flakes and made them appear to be stationary.
 

Chic Worthing

WFF Supporter
The conditions that I fear most is slush. 4 wheel drive does not help and you have very little control of the vehicle. The besr rhing to do is to get off the road. My worst trip by far was about 4 years ago in old Man Jim's neighborhood. It was mid September and I was heading to West Yellowstone for 3 months of fishing. You would expect fairly decent weather. But it was Montana, the only state that only has 3 seasons, last winter, this winter and next winter.

The day before was decent and we awoke to cloudy weather and the Continental Divide (caps for respect) was dead ahead.I started out of Butte and was in a snowstorm. I managed to get to the top with little trouble, but the top had been snowing and up there it was all slush, 3 to 5 inches or so it seemed. I was petrified. Did I mention that I was towing a trailer? And not a teardrop. A fifth wheel that is over 40 feet overall and dry weight was over 14,000lbs. I pulled into somewhat of a parking lot in order to wait for it to get better. I was not alone, lots of trucks. But it was getting worse. I decided to crawl down the east side. I put the duramax into manual and first gear and crawled out onto the driving lane. There was no one ahead of me and that made me think that I had made a really stupid decision. My truck got up to 16 mph and I started to breath easier. After about 3 of those easier breaths, I looked in the rear views and saw the trailer start to fishtail and out of instinct, i reached for the manual trailer brakes and gave it a squeeze and the trailer straightened out and acted like a sea anchor. I will do something different the next time.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
So I just survived the nastiest Snoqualmie Pass conditions I’ve yet encountered. Yesterday, we were due to roll home and were keeping an eye on pass conditions. They weren’t great, but the pass was open and the advisories hadn’t gone to ‘chains no matter what’, so we forged on. The snow started closing in at Cle Elum and was downright bad at Easton. Joke’s on us: ‘chains required except all wheel drive’ are still terrible, terrible conditions. We found out near Easton that eastbound 90 had been closed.

The road was down to one slow-moving lane with long rows of trucks and passenger vehicles pulled over installing chains. We pulled in behind a truck to get busy installing cables, but the truck left and the traffic started going to two lanes and passing far too close for comfort. We bailed on the cable install and reintegrated into the slow caravan. Keechelus was nearing whiteout conditions and we crested the pass in one piece, having spent much time in 2nd gear. Multiple stops were made to clear ice from the windshield. The descent was actually steady and uneventful, but oh-so-slow. I’ve never been so grateful to crawl from Cle Elum to Olallie in my life. On the way down the hill, we found out that westbound was also closed due to snow.

Throughout the entire ordeal, we never saw a single spun-out vehicle, just a few douchers burning along and attempting to split lanes at 2x the speed of traffic. We apparently live amongst immensely important people.

Never again will I attempt the pass if conditions worse than “traction tires advised” are possible.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
When my uncle had the place in cescent bar he said he feared the summer sunday drive home westbound worse than snow days. More than once I've been caught behind a wreck of folks coming home from the gorge amphitheater too. Just gotta be careful but there always seems to be those idiots out there.
 

gt

Active Member
i lost count of how many 4 wheel drive vehicles i pulled out of trouble when i had my land cruiser with a PTO winch. the problem seems to be, 4 wheel drive allows you to get yourself much deeper into trouble. think before you drive...
 

Brute

WFF Supporter
i lost count of how many 4 wheel drive vehicles i pulled out of trouble when i had my land cruiser with a PTO winch. the problem seems to be, 4 wheel drive allows you to get yourself much deeper into trouble. think before you drive...
truth here...I've rescued my fair share of rigs that went out snow wheeling totally unprepared...and stuck to the frame rails, running out of gas trying to keep warm...
 

Sportsman

Active Member
When my uncle had the place in cescent bar he said he feared the summer sunday drive home westbound worse than snow days. More than once I've been caught behind a wreck of folks coming home from the gorge amphitheater too. Just gotta be careful but there always seems to be those idiots out there.
Always come back on Monday! If you can!!
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info
Top