Update for April 5, 2016

April 05, 2016 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 1 inch
Total settled snow depth: 37 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 52 degrees F (April 3)
Low temperature: 15 degrees F (March 31)

Skier in the shadow of Mt. Lyell and Mt. McClure.

Ski Conditions and Weather

High temperatures were in the low 50s every day this week. Overnight lows were below freezing, but not much below and not for very long. This has resulted in significant snow melt in the Tuolumne area. South aspects below 9,500 feet are patchy or completely bare.  Above 10,000 feet the snowpack remains deep with good coverage. Ski conditions are variable depending on aspect and elevation. Temperatures are forecast to hit 60 degrees F this week at the middle elevations which will result in continued snow melt and the upper elevations should see a good corn cycle as long as the snow surface gets a good freeze overnight. There is still good coverage on the Tioga Road from the park boundary at Tioga Pass to points west above 7,000 feet. Ski touring conditions are good until mid- afternoon when the snow has been getting very wet and sloppy.

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 area is low. The primary avalanche concerns are now for wet loose and wet slab avalanches on aspects receiving solar radiation as the days continue to get warmer. This will be of particular concern if the snow surface does not freeze overnight, or if there is only a light freeze. Wilderness travelers should be cautious when traveling on steeper terrain during the heat of the day. If the snow is collapsing beneath you or you can easily push your ski pole in deep, it is probably time to call it a day and go find some shade to relax in.    


The rivers and creeks are flowing quite freely now and the waterfowl is starting to move in. A pair of mallards has been seen floating near the Tuolumne Meadows Bridge. Up high where the slopes are still blanketed in white, four White-tailed Ptarmigan were seen along the Kuna Crest.   


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

Spring runoff in Tuolumne Meadows

Last updated: April 5, 2016

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