• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

Update for January 2, 2013

January 03, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Weather: December 26  through  January 1
High temp: 32 °F (December 31st)
Low temp: -13 °F (December 27th )
New Snow: 10"                                      
Total settled snow depth: 51" as of January 1  
Total snowfall since December 4th:  103"  (the day we arrived for the season at Tuolumne).                    

Skiing Conditions and Weather: The winter rangers got what they wished for this Christmas in abundance. Presents were under (and on top of) every tree! Now, however, the snow has been blown off most of the branches after a pretty significant northeast wind event. Above treeline, sastrugi and wind crusts of varying densities are lurking. In some places, where the snow has been deposited or where it has been protected, it remains soft. Below treeline, the trail breaking has become much easier.

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 base snow depth settled almost a foot this week in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Presently, the sun is further consolidating the snowpack. The primary avalanche hazard that remains, is a wind slab that formed on New Year's Day. This wind loading actually triggered a natural slide yesterday on Mt Dana. Several isolated pockets of wind slab broke loose and triggered loose snow avalanches through the trees chutes above Dana Meadows. Caution is certainly advised around these rocky, wind loaded higher alpine areas.  Elsewhere, the snowpack appears quite stable with persistent weak layers remaining until the next storm cycle.

Wildlife: Most of our week was spent on Tioga Pass. We saw a very ambitious set of coyote tracks that explored Gaylor Peak ridge all the way down to Tioga Lake though very deep snow. Weasel and Pine Marten tracks were seen between there and Tuolumne as well. The most notable sighting was a colorful flock of over twenty male (red) and female (yellow-green) Red crossbills flying over Dana Meadow at sunset, peacefully ringing in the New Year as they passed overhead. 
 
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 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. 

Happy New Year!
Laura & Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers

 A frozen Gaylor Lake on New Year's Day 2013  Gaylor Ridge during a wind event on New Year's Day 2013

A frozen Galyor Lake on New Year's Day 2013

Gaylor Ridge during a wind event on New Year's Day 2013


10 Comments Comments Icon

  1. David - Escondido, CA
    January 07, 2013 at 08:41

    I look forward to your reports each week. Thanks for the great info and beautiful photos. Is the hut staying full?

  2. Jon Reed - Pagosa Springs, CO
    January 06, 2013 at 10:05

    Awesome!

  3. Dick - Winchendon, MA
    January 05, 2013 at 10:23

    Great stuff my friends. Beautiful!!! Keep up the good work.

  4. Michael - Sebatopol, CA
    January 04, 2013 at 10:13

    Sastrugi...I thought that was a hamburger grill deep in the San Juans.

  5. Hal - Sonora, CA
    January 04, 2013 at 09:37

    I love your reports and (especially) the photos. It's almost like being there . . . almost. Thanks!

  6. Christine - Pagosa Springs, CO
    January 04, 2013 at 08:28

    Great update... wishing you guys a very Happy New Year ! Keep up the good work!

  7. Connie - Pagosa Springs, CO
    January 04, 2013 at 06:12

    Great to hear about what the New Year has brought to your neck of the woods. Stay safe and warm!

  8. Chris - Hereford, Maryland
    January 03, 2013 at 07:53

    Agreed! Love your lifestyles, love your home. Please keep those posts coming. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

  9. Chris - Hereford, Maryland
    January 03, 2013 at 07:45

    Agreed! Beautiful country. Love your lifestyles. Love your posts. Happy and safe New Year.

  10. Anastasia - Santa Monica, CA
    January 03, 2013 at 12:10

    Wow! I love that hike. You two are so lucky to be up there alone in the beautiful isolation. Thanks for the post!

 

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Did You Know?

Upper Merced Watershed

The Merced River above Nevada Fall and South Fork Merced River above Wawona, numerous small meadows and adjacent riparian habitats occur. Owing their existence to the river and its annual flooding, these habitats help support eight special status animal species: harlequin ducks, black swifts, bald eagles, osprey, willow flycatchers, yellow warbler, western red bat, and Sierra Nevada mountain beaver.