High temperature: 61°F (April 21st)
Low temperature: 16°F (April 18th)
New snow: 0 inches
Total settled snow depth: 0 inches as of April 24th
Skiing Conditions and Weather: This is our last post of the winter of 2013. The snow stake here at Tuolumne Meadows reads 0 inches, so it must be time to head for our summer range down south at Sequoia National Park. There was a lot of melting this week as temperatures were in the upper 50s each day. There is patchy snow below 9,000 feet on all aspects except south, and the best coverage remains above 9,500 feet on north aspects. The freezing temperatures overnight this week has produced some good corn skiing on select slopes in the alpine zone. The Tioga Road within Yosemite National Park is a patchwork of bare pavement and snow drifts, which is not conducive to good ski travel.
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: Blackbirds are back in Tuolumne Meadows: red-winged, Brewer's, and the parasitic brown-headed. Rosy finches were busily feeding off dead bugs and or seeds deposited on top of the snow in the alpine. Lastly, the violet-green swallows were performing their acrobatic flight as they passed over the lofty heights of False White Mountain. The black bears are waking up and they are hungry, so visitors are reminded to use proper food storage while in the wilderness.
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 209/372-0450. 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.
Laura and Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers
Sunset at Evelyn Lake on April 22, 2013