Total settled snow depth: 112 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 38°F (February 2)
Low temperature: 5°F (February 4)
Ski Conditions and Weather
The atmospheric river (aka “Pineapple Express”) has returned to central California. We have measured 40 inches of new snow this past week and 3.57 inches of water so far, and there is more in the forecast. The present storm is a warm one and snow levels are high. The snow is of the “sierra cement” variety and the lighter snow that fell earlier in the week is now “inverted” beneath the heavy snow. This makes for difficult trail breaking and marginal ski conditions. The snow coverage is so good right now that ski conditions are ever changing and strictly dependent on aspect and surface conditions at the time. It is amazing to see the changes in this part of Yosemite with such a deep snowpack.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions
Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
Well, we had a small window of relatively stable snow conditions and some nice blue bird powder days. However, up high wind slab avalanches were evident and widespread.
As has been the case so far this season, by the time you read this, it will be old news as a lot more heavy snow and winds are forecasted and the avalanche hazard will be increasing yet again.
Just as we topped out on a local ridge the other day, our attention was drawn to a striking white-breasted nuthatch thanks to its nasally sounding call. It appeared to be looking for insects on a beautiful old lichen covered snag. A couple Townsend’s Solitaires were also seen perching among the nearby juniper and Jeffrey pine.
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. Power has been intermittent and there is NO 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, and please make good decisions while travelling in the wilderness this winter.
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers