Huge avalanche injures no one |

Huge avalanche injures no one

Michael Schneider

A monster avalanche that originated this week in a remote area near Flagpole Peak carved a path of destruction through a grove of old-growth trees.

The avalanche began at 8,360 feet atop Flagpole Peak in the general vicinity of Meyers and dropped 1,700 vertical feet. It was rated a Class 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, according to Dave Allessio, snowmobile patroller with the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Allessio traveled to the scene Thursday after a snowmobiler reported the avalanche. Allessio said that while avalanches are relatively common in the area, this one was especially destructive and actually came down the mountain so fast the snowslide’s wind force was responsible for damage to trees.

“It actually blew the tops off of trees,” Allessio said. “Some trees had their branches stripped off 50 feet up.”

Allessio said he suspected the avalanche occurred Monday night or Tuesday and it left a pile of debris 15 feet deep over 25 to 30 acres. Allessio suggested that people stay out of the Flagpole Peak area for a couple days to allow the snow to settle. He said the cold temperatures experienced in the region after Tuesday’s storm rolled through are helpful in stabilizing the snow.

“It was a good sized slide,” Allessio said.

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