California’s PALM SPRINGS – Some sharp-eyed highway drivers noticed another unusual sight on Sunday that might have made them question if they had taken a wrong turn into the Rockies, as if Southern California’s blizzard warnings and snow-covered yuccas weren’t already bizarre enough.
The Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit later released a photo of an avalanche that was captured by Joyce Schwartz on Sunday, which showed snow cascading down the mountain’s north face and erupting in many plumes.
Around 9 a.m. local time, Schwartz and a friend were travelling west on Interstate 10 towards Palm Springs when the friend noticed the snow beginning to move.
According to Schwartz, the sight was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “My companion spotted the clouds and the snow on the mountains and we started staring at it and taking pictures of it and then she exclaimed, “That’s an avalanche,”” he added.
Schwartz said Sunday was her first time watching an avalanche, despite having lived in more avalanche-prone regions of Vermont and New York state. She took the photo with her cellphone, and given that there were no signs of other automobiles stopping to have a look, she estimates that few people in the area saw.
Who would realise it was an avalanche, she added, is the point.
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Avalanche a ‘very rare’ occurrence on the mountain
According to Eric Holden, president of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, the Mount San Jacinto avalanche was an exceptional occurrence.
The slopes and number of trees on Mount San Jacinto simply don’t lend themselves to avalanches, he claimed. So, it is extremely uncommon to witness something like this.
Holden clarified that the north face is the only location where avalanches can occasionally occur. Thankfully, it’s thought that nobody was on the mountain at the time.
According to him, there are rarely climbers on the area where the avalanche occurred because there is only one extremely tricky route that is usually only attempted by experienced climbers later in the season.
Holden claimed he couldn’t remember the last time an avalanche occurred on Mount San Jacinto. Nonetheless, two hikers who were caught in an avalanche in Snow Creek Canyon’s north slope in 2020 had to be rescued.
Holden was certain that Sunday’s avalanche, though, seemed to be no joke.
He pointed to the image and added, “That mountain face is 10,000 feet big. So, that avalanche appears to be quite enormous.