Update for April 12, 2016

April 13, 2016 Posted by: Rob and Laura Pilewski

New snow: 4 inches
Total settled snow depth: 31 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 58 degrees F (April 6)
Low temperature: 27 degrees F (April 11)

McCabe Lake and Shephards Crest on April 6, 2016Ski Conditions and Weather

This week was characterized by very warm daytime highs and below freezing overnight lows for the first half of the week. The second half of the week saw warm and humid days with light precipitation and above freezing overnight lows. This has resulted in marginal ski conditions along the Tioga Road and the middle elevations below 9,000 feet. The snowpack is collapsible and very wet making for slow travel for all except the coldest part of the morning hours. Cold temperatures are forecast for later this week and should improve ski conditions. Coverage on the Tioga Road is good from the park boundary at Tioga Pass westward; however, Caltrans has started clearing the snow on the eastside of Tioga Pass. At last report they were approaching Saddlebag Lake Road. Wilderness travelers entering Yosemite National Park at Tioga Pass should anticipate 6-8 miles of dry pavement before hitting skiable snow. A bicycle might be a good option to get to snowline, but be wary of snow removal operations.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.

Overall, the avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. The primary avalanche concerns are for wet loose and wet slab avalanches on aspects receiving solar radiation as the days continue to get warmer. We did observe some wet slides this week when there was not a good freeze to the snow surface overnight. Wilderness travelers should pay close attention to the temperatures when traveling in avalanche terrain this time of year.


The yellow-rumped warbler has moved back up into the high country singing as it moves from branch to branch in the lodgepole pine forest.   


The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is still open. However, the Snow Creek Cabin is closed for the season. There is firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is power but no public phone service in Tuolumne Meadows this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared; don't count on phone service at the ski hut.

Happy Spring Skiing!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers

Tuolumne River, April 2016

Last updated: April 13, 2016

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