Update for February 9, 2016

February 10, 2016 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 3"
Total settled snow depth:
54 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature:
56°F (February 8th)
Low temperature:
-6°F (February 3rd)

A ski track descends a hill while snow blows in the wind on distant mountain tops.Ski Conditions and Weather

This week saw initially cold temperatures, followed by much warmer than average temperatures. The warming trend is forecast to continue through the week with daytime highs approaching 60°F! The ski conditions are making a quick transition from cold, dry powder snow to more spring-like wet, corn snow conditions. There will be good touring and turning opportunities with this new pattern. Visitors can expect a frozen snow surface early in the day followed by softening conditions as the day warms up. Of course, there may be less than perfect conditions during this transition with “zipper” sun and wind crusts on certain aspects. 

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. The warm temperatures have increased the hazard for both wet loose and wet slab avalanches primarily on aspects that get more sun exposure though out the day. This is especially true when temperatures do not stay below freezing at night. Visitors should be aware of changes in the snowpack as warming causes the upper part of the snowpack to become wet and lose the bond with adjacent snow crystals causing wet avalanches. There is still hazard from wind slab avalanches on steep terrain at the higher elevations where more wintry snow still exists, but this will diminish as the warming trend continues.    

Wildlife

Not only does the snow reveal tracks of Yosemite’s winter inhabitants, it can tell a story. Unfortunately, sometimes the story does not have a happy ending, as was the case of a poor Snowshoe hare this week. Or, shall we say, it was a happy ending for the pine marten that ended up with a full belly, leaving only a pile of soft white fur behind!

Questions

The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open! 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 electricity or phone service at the ski hut.

Happy Ski Touring!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers

Pink sunset clouds hover over a snow covered landscape.


1 Comments Comments icon

  1. February 11, 2016 at 05:11
     

    Hi Rob and Laura The Yosemite Winter Club will be visiting TM twice this winter. Unlike last year, we hope to actually ski most of the way and not have to hike. :) The pictures you've posted are great - it looks like conditions are much more normal this season. I still wow people with last year's photos of a dry TM and rocks on the snowless Tioga Pass road. Our first group'll be arriving in TM on March 12 and leaving March 14; the second March 19 and leaving March 21. The first group is re-creating a trip that we used to offer back in the days when TPR was open during the winter. So, they'll be coming into Tuolumne Meadows from Tioga Pass, then heading back to Tioga Pass after a couple of nights. The second group's our annual trans-Sierra tour coming from Tioga Pass and heading west. Can you give us the skinny on access to the TP cabin? The first group will be there on their first and last nights. The trans-Sierra group on first night only. Thanks. Terry Rivasplata

     
 
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Last updated: February 10, 2016

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