Update for January 10, 2018

January 10, 2018 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 14 inches
Total settled snow depth: 10 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 47°F (January 7)
Low temperature:  17°F (January 7)

Ski Conditions and Weather


This week saw a welcome change from the dry weather that has dominated the winter so far.  Although the Tuolumne Meadows area did not receive the soaking that much of the rest of California did, the 14 inches of snow that fell over the course of the week vastly improved moods and ski conditions. Snow coverage is now good above 8,500 feet on all but southerly aspects. The Tioga Road is 100% snow covered from Ellery Lake to Tuolumne Meadows. There is a ski track through this stretch which makes the going easier.

Tuolumne River at Glen Aulin on January 4, 2018. Some snow on banks
There is significantly more snow at the higher elevations, than here in Tuolumne Meadows. We dug another snow pit yesterday at 9,500 feet on a north aspect and the total depth was 75 inches.  The wet new snow on top of the old faceted snow made for some arduous and challenging trail breaking the past few days. The forecast is for warm and dry through this weekend so the snow should settle a bit (as long as it is still freezing overnight), which will make for better ski conditions. The best opportunity for making turns is on north aspects above 9,500 feet.   
 

Snowpack assessment in fresh deep snow on January 9, 2018.Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions


Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.

The snowpack is very dynamic as of this writing. This storm cycle, we saw rain as high as 8,600 feet elevation with 14 inches of new snow. Higher elevations saw even more snow but not necessarily enough to trigger the weak layers within the snowpack. Presently, the winds are increasing and loading leeward slopes which will temporarily increase the avalanche hazard. While touring this week we witnessed widespread whoomping and snow pits revealed weak layers deep within the snow pack on near surface facets and depth hoar. Skiers will have to make safe decisions this week especially when skiing in avalanche terrain. The Tioga Road corridor will pose less hazards. However, if temperatures warm in the afternoon, folks will have to be cognizant of rock fall and wet slides. Be advised too, that lakes below 8,600 feet may not be frozen beneath the new snow.

Wildlife

A well-adapted winter traveler, the pine marten was seen “swimming” through the powder near Tuolumne Meadows. The usual winter residents the mountain chickadee, brown creeper, red-breasted nuthatch, Clark’s nutcracker, and flocks of red crossbills have been active as well. 
 



Questions


The 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. 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 traveling in the wilderness this winter.

Safe skiing!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers

White Cascade at Glen Aulin on January 4, 2018. A full sheet of ice instead of water


10 Comments Comments icon

  1. Laura Pilewski
    January 17, 2018 at 08:10
     

    Thanks Judi! Yes, virtually all the snow did melt over the summer. Although we can't give you any exact figures, some snow did remain in areas formerly mapped as glaciers and, perhaps, not-so-permanent snowfields.

     
  2. Judi Land
    January 16, 2018 at 11:33
     

    Hello, I really like following your updates every winter. I am wondering how much, if any, snow "summered-over" or did everything melt off. I am concerned about our slow start to this winters snow pack and where it will position us for another drought year. Thanks! Judi Land judiland@comcast.net

     
  3. Robert
    January 15, 2018 at 07:30
     

    Thank you so much for what you do! Even though there aren't (m)any comments, please know that you're appreciated! Thanks

     
  4. John
    January 14, 2018 at 11:09
     

    Let's hope for more snow from this week's storms!

     
  5. John
    January 14, 2018 at 11:09
     

    Let's hope for more snow from this week's storms!

     
  6. Kathy Brown
    January 13, 2018 at 09:15
     

    Thanks for braving the elements this winter to keep us abreast of what is going on in the Yosemite high country. So glad to hear there is finally some good snow in T Meadows. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs, especially the White Cascade at Glen Aulin which is really living up to its name. Kathy Brown

     
  7. Daniel
    January 12, 2018 at 08:36
     

    LOVE the fact that you folks are up there keeping an eye on a treasured national resource and providing an aid station for the intrepid travelers who dare to challenge their comfort levels for a winter wonderland few will see. Keep the great reports coming. For we office bound who know and love the area, it's a way to visit vicariously and we're there with you in spirit. Thank you for your service.

     
  8. Daniel
    January 12, 2018 at 08:36
     

    LOVE the fact that you folks are up there keeping an eye on a treasured national resource and providing an aid station for the intrepid travelers who dare to challenge their comfort levels for a winter wonderland few will see. Keep the great reports coming. For we office bound who know and love the area, it's a way to visit vicariously and we're there with you in spirit. Thank you for your service.

     
  9. Clark
    January 12, 2018 at 01:29
     

    Thanks for another wonderful report and beautiful photos! We look forward to visiting Glen Aulin this summer... with a little less snow and ice, we hope!

     
  10. Alden G. Ryno
    January 12, 2018 at 08:16
     

    Thank you greatly for the update! I'll be living vicariously through y'all while I make (attainable) trips and hikes throughout the Pacific Northwest this winter. Stay safe and stay warm! Regards from WA, Alden

     
 
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Last updated: January 10, 2018

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