Historic Green Lake ice is tempting but treacherous, say experts

Jan 13, 2017, 10:44 AM | Updated: Jan 14, 2017, 8:39 am

Seattle historians can cite only four times in the last 101 years that Green Lake has iced over from end to end.

In 1916, photographs show hundreds of wool-bundled skaters crowding on the south end.

In 1930, cars drove over the ice. But in Green Lake’s latest ice-age, you will see people tempted to take big chances treading on ice which is not thick or strong enough to safely walk on, say experts.

Related: SDOT sends convoy to help snow-covered Portland

Grace Fletcher posed for photos as she glided on the ice off a dock near the Green Lake Stadium.

“I think anyone would pretty much be good here,” she said.

“It’s like four or five inches thick,” said Devon Tremain. “It’s safe to be out here.”

Green Lake ice

KIRO 7 measured a cross section of ice on the southwest end. Most of the ice was measured to be less than three inches thick. Safety experts generally agree that four inches is the minimum thickness of ice to safely support people. Signs warn people to stay off, and even though you can actually see air bubbles move under the surface of the ice, people walk across and they jump onto the docks.

“I also feel that if it starts to break, I could leap onto the dock which is only a couple feet away, ” Fletcher said.

Cyclist Elliott Serles said he felt perfectly safe riding his bike here, ignoring the warning signs. “If you’re going to live your life on warnings, then you’re not really going to have a lot of fun,” Serles said.

Nearby, 13-year-old Claire Milisavljevic and her father, Pele, had seen enough risk-taking. They brought tools to Green Lake and started hammering holes in the ice from one of the docks, using a hatchet and an ice chopper. They said they were chopping holes in the ice in an act of public safety.

“I’m trying to keep people from falling in,” said Claire Milisavljevic.

“By breaking the ice, we might be saving somebody’s life, maybe, hopefully,” said Pele Milisavljevic.

Seattle Fire Department’s Rescue Diver Spencer Nelson says anyone who falls through the ice could suffer deadly shock in minutes.

“People take big gasps like getting splashed with cold water,” Nelson said. “You take big breaths in, you aspirate, your body starts shutting down right away, and your odds of surviving are very slim.”

That’s why Claire Milisavljevic figures removing temptation will help people make solid decisions.

“I feel like it’s really important to stay safe, even though walking on ice is really fun.”

Local News

USS John McCain...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Naval Station Everett welcomes USS John S. McCain

The USS John S. McCain is now docked at its new homeport, Naval Station Everett.
12 hours ago
vaccine booster, heart...
Stephanie Klein

What to know as Oct. 18 deadline for vaccine mandate approaches

The deadline for state workers, including educators, and healthcare workers to show their employers proof that they're vaccinated against COVID-19 is Monday, Oct. 18.
12 hours ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Police: Two in custody after hit-and-run suspect rams patrol car; officer fires shots

Two people were taken into custody after a driver suspected of a hit-and-run rammed an officer’s patrol vehicle, resulting in the officer firing shots at the car Saturday night in Medina.
12 hours ago
Seattle library...
MyNorthwest Staff

Last of Seattle Public Library branch closures from pandemic comes to an end

Seattle has reopened its NewHolly library branch, meaning that for the first time since the start of the pandemic, all 27 of the city's branches are now up and running.
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

2 people shot in Seattle; suspect surrenders to police after SWAT negotiation

A suspect surrendered to police Saturday afternoon after two people were shot in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, the Seattle Police Department said.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

New rules for visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Starting Tuesday, visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative test within three days of visiting.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Historic Green Lake ice is tempting but treacherous, say experts