Total settled snow depth: 22 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 51°F (April 14)
Low temperature: 2°F (April 17)
Ski Conditions and WeatherThis is our final post of the winter of 2018. Several storms came through the central Sierra Nevada this week leaving fresh snow and cold temperatures in their wake. This time of year the new snow generally melts pretty fast and the base depth continues to shrink. Snow coverage is still good in the Tuolumne Meadows area with 1 ½ - 3 feet on the ground. Above 9,000 feet the snow depth is 3–5 feet. The Tuolumne River has mostly melted out and is still running high and fast. All stream crossings should be approached with caution. Most lakes even above 10,000 feet are only superficially frozen. The ski conditions this week fluctuated between spring corn and mid-winter powder.
Caltrans continued there snow removal efforts on the east side of Tioga Pass this week and they reached Tioga Pass before this last storm. Visitors approaching from the east should anticipate dry pavement (except any new snow that falls) east of Tioga Pass. The park will be working on the road from west to east now. Stay tuned for progress/closures and for historical opening dates. Please stay clear of any machinery to ensure your safety and the safety of the equipment operators.
Avalanche and Snowpack ConditionsFor the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.
The avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is presently low. However, in the alpine zone, pockets of wind slab exist, especially right after these quick moving storms as the new snow doesn’t bond well with the old, firm snow surfaces. Spring skiers should always keep this in mind when ascending narrow couloirs. The warm temperatures and overnight freezes have stabilized the snowpack at all aspects and elevations. Wet slides are still possible during the heat of the day especially on steep granite domes and around rock bands.
WildlifeBears have been active for some time this spring as evidenced by their tracks in the snow. Coyotes in the park can also become habituated to humans. Please remember to store your food properly from these and all critters day and night while traveling in the park.
General InformationThe Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 8 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no phone service in Tuolumne Meadows at this time. For permit information visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm or you may contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740. Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness!
Happy Trails and we hope to ski you next winter!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers