April 17, 2013
Weather: April 11th through April 17th
High temperature: 55°F (April 12th)
Low temperature: 11°F (April 16th)
New snow: 2 inches
Total settled snow depth: 10 inches as of April 17th
Skiing Conditions and Weather: This week provided some great corn skiing opportunities below tree line, but above there is still some challenging wind-affected snow. This should change for the better with the upcoming melt freeze cycle. There is more bare ground showing every day, and the best coverage remains on north facing slopes above 9,000 feet. You better get it while you can, as the base depth here in Tuolumne Meadows is less than one foot and the road corridor is melting fast. Between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass, there are sections of bare pavement that grow larger every day. The east side of Tioga Pass is snow free in Lee Vining Canyon.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times a week and more often during weather events.
The avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. With warming temperatures the threat of wet snow avalanches exists especially on any night that does not freeze the upper part of the snowpack.
Wildlife: This week the mountains came alive. The bears have awakened and tracks were seen at Tuolumne Meadows and near the Mono/Parker trailhead. Countless bird species are now making themselves at home here. Most notable were three pairs of mallards, a western meadowlark, and a bald eagle that we observed fishing along the river in Tuolumne Meadows.
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is an ample supply of firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. You can call the Tuolumne Meadows Ranger Station at 209/372-8734. If you leave a message we will get back to you the first chance we get. Power and phones are frequently out of service. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns if you are unable to reach the ranger station. Come prepared; don't count on electricity or phone service at the ski hut.
Laura and Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers
Cathedral Peak from Echo Ridge on April 10, 2013.