December 18, 2012
Weather: December 11 through December 18
The short days of December, with the sun low on the horizon, makes the lighting this time of year reason enough to get out and enjoy this winter wilderness.
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. These updates should begin any day now for the season…
We did not see any avalanche activity or observe any signs of instability on our patrols this week. I would qualify that by saying that we did not venture into the high alpine zone this week, but rather kept our patrols at timberline and below. We hope to get up to the Sierra Crest this week and have a good look around….weather permitting. There was not much wind associated with our weather this week, so its effect on the snow was probably minimal. The melt freeze crusts that we identified last week are persisting on most aspects and elevations. We will keep an eye on them as the winter progresses. There was some very impressive surface hoar (feathery crystals that develop on the snow surface) development this week in places. These snow crystals are beautiful to look at on the snow surface, but once buried by subsequent storms can become a persistent weakness that can cause a failure of the snowpack and lead to avalanches.
Wildlife: The fresh snow this week gave us a chance to hone our animal track identification skills. We observed tracks left by Coyote, Douglas Squirrels, Pine Martens, Ermine, and Snow Shoe Hare. We observed a Pine Marten with an unlucky Hare (or part of one) in his mouth looking for a
Questions: The Tuolumne Ski Hut is open for the season. 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)372-0450. If you leave a message we will get back to you the first chance we get. Power and
Let it Snow!