Update for April 22, 2020 (last update for the season)

April 22, 2020 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 7 inches
Total settled snow depth: 28 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 50°F (April 16)
Low temperature: 19°F (April 16)

Cockscomb (a mountain near Tuolumne Meadows) rises above the snow on a partly cloudy day on April 21, 2020.
Cockscomb (a mountain near Tuolumne Meadows) rises above the snow on April 21, 2020.

Ski Conditions and Weather

Yosemite National Park remains closed due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this pandemic. Stay strong and continue to follow the guidance of health officials. Now is not the time to let our guard down. We can emerge from this stronger and more aware of life’s essentials.

It's Earth Day. Can you imagine we have set aside only one day of the entire year to celebrate the planet, our only home that has given us everything? Well, in an unprecedented turn of events, one may walk outside today and breathe one of the cleanest of breaths of air our lungs have ever had and be able to see farther than ever before from a mountain or building top. The birds can sing their songs freely without the competition of honking horns or the white noise of traffic. And, we humans have more time than ever to reflect on what is most important to us during our brief time on this planet.

Let's be honest, humans are taking more than the Earth is able to provide. Protecting the Earth should give us a common purpose. May we do better in future days to ensure a viable environment for all living things. May the songs of springtime give us all hope for one another and this fragile planet we call home.

Based on the calendar on the wall and the weather forecast for the next ten days, it would appear that winter is over. In spite of the wet (ish) March and April, the Sierra Nevada is still running at a water deficit. The runoff will accelerate as temperatures here in Tuolumne Meadows are forecast to be near 70°F next week. The Tuolumne River is rising and getting louder each day, and green will soon replace white as the dominant color.   

A greenish murky Tuolumne River flowing on April 19, 2020.
Tuolumne River on April 19, 2020.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

The avalanche center has suspended their forecasting for this season due to COVID-19, but they do have a video on their homepage that we recommend along with some valuable snowpack evaluation tools for springtime. As always, we are very grateful to Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for their invaluable service to the outdoor community.


Left image shows Cathedral Peak and Mt. Hoffmann from a distance covered in some snow. Right image shows Unicorn Peak and Budd Creek also covered in some snow.
Left: Cathedral Peak and Mt. Hoffmann on April 21, 2020. Right: Unicorn Peak and Budd Creek on April 19, 2020.

Wildlife

While skiing up Lee Vining Canyon towards Tioga Pass, dark grey cumulus clouds were towering overhead with intermittent rays of sunshine slicing through them alternating with veils of rain and snow. The thermals provided the perfect conditions for a pair of bald eagles to circle effortlessly above the cliffs and cascading waters below. It is always inspiring to see a species that was once on the brink of extinction take wing over our national parks. It was a breathtaking reminder of the successes of the Endangered Species Act and how our individual actions can indeed affect positive change.  

General Information

The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is closed.

This is our final post of the 2019-20 winter season. It is an honor to serve as the Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers. We wish you well and hope to “ski you next winter.” 

Celebrate Earth Day everyday!

Tuolumne Meadows in the distance as seen from Budd Creek on April 19, 2020.
Tuolumne Meadows in the distance as seen from Budd Creek on April 19, 2020.

 

Last updated: April 22, 2020

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209/372-0200

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