Skip to comments.Main road to Yosemite closed indefinitely
Posted on 06/02/2006 12:05:54 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
EL PORTAL, Calif. - The main road to Yosemite National Park was closed after a rock slide buried it under 300 feet of debris and threatened to knock out electricity to the park, officials said.
No one was injured in the slide about 12 miles west of the park on Highway 140, but rocks continued to fall Thursday, preventing crews from removing an estimated 250-300 tons of debris, fire officials said. It was not clear when the road would reopen.
"It looks like the mountain moved right over the road," said Carrie Smith of the California Highway Patrol, who reviewed pictures of the slide. "It looks like there should be a tunnel there, but there's not."
The slide began as a trickle of rocks April 29 and forced sporadic road closures last month. The road reopened last week, but on Monday the intensity of the slide increased.
The slide, which is 600 feet long, 600 feet wide and 300 feet deep, threatened to topple two power line towers carrying 72,000 volts of electricity to the town of El Portal and the park, said Mariposa County Fire Chief Blaine Shultz.
The power lines are the only source of power to the small community and the park, Shultz said.
Motorists were advised to use alternate routes into the park. Two routes from the south and the north were still open.
An autumn sunsets drapes El Capitan and the Yosemite valley with warm light in Yosemite National Park in this Oct. 21, 1997 file photo. Visitors can still find good deals in the national parks this summer, despite tight budgets and rising fees. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Boulders smash through a mesh retaining wall on May 26. Since then, debris has covered Highway 140, closing it indefinitely. Merced Sun-Star photo by Marci Stenberg
That's a monster slide. Some people from my office are working on it.
With Yosemite falls in the background, park ranger Vickie Mates, left, and Yosemite Post Master Bill Carroll admire a new stamp unveiled Saturday, May 27, 2006, at the Yosemite Valley Post Office at Yosemite National Park, Calif. The news stamp, part of the 'Wonders of America: Land of Superlatives', is a 40-stamp set showing colorful drawings of such landmarks as Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, the Rocky Mountains, the country's longest mountain chain, and Death Valley, one of the hottest places on earth. (AP Photo/Al Golub)
Looks like we're gonna need a bigger mesh.
With that great a volume of material covering the road, is there certainty that no vehicles have been trapped in there?
there was one in 98 and 2000 as well
I was trying to find some postable pics,
KTVU.com has some to look at but we can't post stuff from ibsys.com
Boulder makes Yosemite roadless...Liberals cheer!
Bush hates Yosemite
Thanks for the pic and reminder.
. . . and that part of the world could hardly be LESS stable.
( . . . we live on solid granite, but even here there were effects felt from the New Madrid Quake . . . )
F&^%$#g global warming...
A slide L600' x W600' x D300' weights a lot more than 250-300 tons.
That sucks for all the park employees who live in El Portal. It's a long drive the other way around to get to work.
More like 250-300 thousand tons
Or 250-300 million pounds.
Styrofoam rock slide, maybe? I have a few stryrofoam rocks for decoration around my house.
Question: Didn't rock slides create Yosemite?
I heard on the radio this AM that the county was going to declare a disaster area and request federal aid.
There are at least 4 other main highways into the park.
Everything is a disaster area now.
Maybe after the glaciers did their work....
It's a MIRACLE no one was buried!!!!
Fantastic pics! Sure gives a great perspective. Thanks.
Is Tioga Pass still snowed in?
At least? Try, exactly. Highways 140 and 41 enter from the West and South, respectively, and highway 120 runs through the park from the North entrance -- no blocked by this rockslide -- across the top to the East Partal atop the breathtaking Tioga Pass.
Other than these, there are several smaller access roads, though none of them ought to be viewed as "highways" and most should be avoided by anyone with the least susceptibility to carsickness and some may require four-wheel drive and/or be barred by locked gates.
For the record, however, here are the options:
Evergreen Road, which ends at Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir.
Aspen Valley Road, which branches off East from Evergreen and runs for about six miles into the park before it peters out.
Old Big Oak Flat Road, which heads South off of Evergreen down to highway 120 about 1/2mi north of where it takes off across the top to Tioga Pass.
Old Coulterville-Yosemite Road, which starts out as Greely Hill Road at the nexus of highways 49 and 132 and winds tortuously eastward for 16 miles before wandering into the park to meet highway 120.
Chowchilla Mountain Road, which heads into Wawona from the West.
Inside the park...
Old Coulterville Road splits south off of Old Coulterville-Yosemite Road about 1 mile south of highway 120 and wanders southeast out and back into the park, passing the north edge of Crane Flat (the settlement, not the campground) before meeting highway 140 about 2mi west of the junction with highway 120
Crane Flat Road takes off of a frontage on the north side of highway 140 near the West Portal, exits the park then reenters it about a mile before running into the heart of Crane Flat
And for the truly daring (or reckless):
Incline road, a frontage north of highway 140 that can be accessed only at the West Portal to the park or at Briceburg Road, 14 miles to the west, gives access to Bragg Road 2 miles west of the West Portal. Bragg Road runs north to a right turn onto forest service road NF-2S20 that, just to be confusing, splits into north and south forks. Take the south fork (aka. "Moses Canyon Truck Trail") for about six miles until it enters the park and runs into Old Coulterville-Yosemite Road about 1,000 feet west of the spilt with Old Coulterville Road. As an alternative, you can take a right as you cross forest service road NF-1S12 and tee into Old Coulterville Road. From there, a left takes you north to highway 120 and a right takes you south through Crane Flat then east to highway 140.
I MAKE NO CLAIM AS TO THE CONDITION OF ANY ROUTE MENTIONED NOR DO I ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUTURE ACTS OF FREE MORAL AGENTS WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST.
I've done that, what a thrill, like driving in a cartoon.
As the crow flies, it's closest to me but I'll drive down to Merced just for the sake of sanity.
Cal Trans still shows as closed but I thought I heard it opened last week. Maybe they got late snow.
BTW, Tioga Pass is still closed and probably will be until about the 4th of July. Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) is open, though.
They might as well have used crepe paper for all the good it was going to do against that slide.
I happen to live on the other main road to Yosemite, and it isn't closed!