Update for January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
New snow: 16 inches 
Total settled snow depth: 42 inches (at 8,600 feet elevation) 
High temperature: 35 degrees F (January 11) 
Low temperature: - 9 degrees F (January 8) 

Telemark skier making turns on January 8, 2016
Ski Conditions and Weather
The weather was ideal for winter recreation this week. The Tuolumne Meadows area received 16 inches of low density snow followed by cold and calm days. Trail breaking was initially quite arduous, but has since set up nicely for good turning and touring. Snowline stretched all the way to the gate in Lee Vining Canyon and there is a trail broke from the east to Tuolumne Meadows. Presently snow coverage is good on all aspects with some wind scouring at the highest elevations. Winter weather is dynamic and visitors should be prepared for changing conditions. Bring ski wax and a scraper for the changing temperatures. 


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. 

Avalanche on the north side of Lembert Dome on January 9, 2016There was a brief period of S-SW winds following this weeks' snowfall that caused wind slabs to form on N-NE aspects. The snow was low density and easily transported to lee slopes forming wind slabs that were overriding good sliding surfaces. Several shallow slab avalanches were observed on the north side of Lembert's Dome this week and visitors should be cautious when traveling above treeline. Below treeline the snow is not wind affected and the new snow has bonded well to the old snow surface. Deeper instabilities still exist in places, though the basal layers are becoming less and less reactive as the snow depth increases. 



Wildlife
Many animal tracks were observed in the new snow this week, though no new suspects were identified. The Tuolumne Meadows area is rich with Pine Marten, Douglas squirrels, and smaller rodents that leave the most delicate tracks on the snow surface. 

Questions
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open! There is an ample supply of 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 SKIING! 
Laura and Rob Pilewski 
Tuolumne Winter Rangers  

Overlooking Tuolumne Meadows with whitebark pine in foreground

15 Comments Comments icon

  1. January 20, 2016 at 08:23
     

    Hello Rick, The most commonly used ski to access this area is a waxless/scaled ski with metal edges. Especially, if the snow is deep, a wider base is preferred. This can be used with either a Telemark or AT/"tech" binding. Visitors have also used Split boards. Skinny touring skis have also been used, but are a bit limiting depending on conditions. Mostly, it depends on conditions and what you plan to ski out here. If you plan to just ski on the road and meadows then you do not need a real heavy duty set-up. Again, depending on conditions, many groups will ski all the way to the ski hut in a day. It is a 15 mile arduous trip. Other visitors will spend the first night near Tioga Pass or elsewhere then come to the ski hut on the second day. The ski hut rarely fills up except if it's a holiday or spring break but visitors should be prepared with a minimum of bivy gear in case they have to spend the night outside at any point during their trip. It is helpful if you email us closer to the dates of your trip so we will anticipate the arrival of any large groups.Thanks for your comment.

     
  2. January 20, 2016 at 08:22
     

    Hello Rick, The most commonly used ski to access this area is a waxless/scaled ski with metal edges. Especially, if the snow is deep, a wider base is preferred. This can be used with either a Telemark or AT/"tech" binding. Visitors have also used Split boards. Skinny touring skis have also been used, but are a bit limiting depending on conditions. Mostly, it depends on conditions and what you plan to ski out here. If you plan to just ski on the road and meadows then you do not need a real heavy duty set-up. Again, depending on conditions, many groups will ski all the way to the ski hut in a day. It is a 15 mile arduous trip. Other visitors will spend the first night near Tioga Pass or elsewhere then come to the ski hut on the second day. The ski hut rarely fills up except if it's a holiday or spring break but visitors should be prepared with a minimum of bivy gear in case they have to spend the night outside at any point during their trip. It is helpful if you email us closer to the dates of your trip so we will anticipate the arrival of any large groups.Thanks for your comment.

     
  3. January 20, 2016 at 08:20
     

    Hello Rick, The most commonly used ski to access this area is a waxless/scaled ski with metal edges. Especially, if the snow is deep, a wider base is preferred. This can be used with either a Telemark or AT/"tech" binding. Visitors have also used Split boards. Skinny touring skis have also been used, but are a bit limiting depending on conditions. Mostly, it depends on conditions and what you plan to ski out here. If you plan to just ski on the road and meadows then you do not need a real heavy duty set-up. Again, depending on conditions, many groups will ski all the way to the ski hut in a day. It is a 15 mile arduous trip. Other visitors will spend the first night near Tioga Pass or elsewhere then come to the ski hut on the second day. The ski hut rarely fills up except if it's a holiday or spring break but visitors should be prepared with a minimum of bivy gear in case they have to spend the night outside at any point during their trip. It is helpful if you email us closer to the dates of your trip so we will anticipate the arrival of any large groups.Thanks for your comment.

     
  4. January 20, 2016 at 08:19
     

    Hello Rick, The most commonly used ski to access this area is a waxless/scaled ski with metal edges. Especially, if the snow is deep, a wider base is preferred. This can be used with either a Telemark or AT/"tech" binding. Visitors have also used Split boards. Skinny touring skis have also been used, but are a bit limiting depending on conditions. Mostly, it depends on conditions and what you plan to ski out here. If you plan to just ski on the road and meadows then you do not need a real heavy duty set-up. Again, depending on conditions, many groups will ski all the way to the ski hut in a day. It is a 15 mile arduous trip. Other visitors will spend the first night near Tioga Pass or elsewhere then come to the ski hut on the second day. The ski hut rarely fills up except if it's a holiday or spring break but visitors should be prepared with a minimum of bivy gear in case they have to spend the night outside at any point during their trip. It is helpful if you email us closer to the dates of your trip so we will anticipate the arrival of any large groups.Thanks for your comment.

     
  5. January 20, 2016 at 08:19
     

    Hello Rick, The most commonly used ski to access this area is a waxless/scaled ski with metal edges. Especially, if the snow is deep, a wider base is preferred. This can be used with either a Telemark or AT/"tech" binding. Visitors have also used Split boards. Skinny touring skis have also been used, but are a bit limiting depending on conditions. Mostly, it depends on conditions and what you plan to ski out here. If you plan to just ski on the road and meadows then you do not need a real heavy duty set-up. Again, depending on conditions, many groups will ski all the way to the ski hut in a day. It is a 15 mile arduous trip. Other visitors will spend the first night near Tioga Pass or elsewhere then come to the ski hut on the second day. The ski hut rarely fills up except if it's a holiday or spring break but visitors should be prepared with a minimum of bivy gear in case they have to spend the night outside at any point during their trip. It is helpful if you email us closer to the dates of your trip so we will anticipate the arrival of any large groups.Thanks for your comment.

     
  6. January 18, 2016 at 09:00
     

    Hello, I was wondering....what is the most common ski you see at the hut and what do you recommend, ski wise? Waxless? Tele? AT? Skinny touring skis? Also, is there an ideal itinerary to visit from the Lee Vining side? What do 'most' people do? One or two days to get to the hut? Does the hut fill? What is plan B? Do most parties bring tents? Bivys? Thanks for the inspiration with the reports and photos!

     
  7. January 18, 2016 at 09:00
     

    Hello, I was wondering....what is the most common ski you see at the hut and what do you recommend, ski wise? Waxless? Tele? AT? Skinny touring skis? Also, is there an ideal itinerary to visit from the Lee Vining side? What do 'most' people do? One or two days to get to the hut? Does the hut fill? What is plan B? Do most parties bring tents? Bivys? Thanks for the inspiration with the reports and photos!

     
  8. January 18, 2016 at 08:59
     

    Hello, I was wondering....what is the most common ski you see at the hut and what do you recommend, ski wise? Waxless? Tele? AT? Skinny touring skis? Also, is there an ideal itinerary to visit from the Lee Vining side? What do 'most' people do? One or two days to get to the hut? Does the hut fill? What is plan B? Do most parties bring tents? Bivys? Thanks for the inspiration with the reports and photos!

     
  9. January 14, 2016 at 05:51
     

    Hello Bryon, The Ski Hut is the campground reservation building at the entrance to the Tuolumne Meadows campground just south of the Tioga Road. It is clearly marked and visible from the road. Hello Bill, Indeed that is a typo that reads 4". The settled base depth is presently 40". Thanks, Rob

     
  10. January 14, 2016 at 03:38
     

    As a family that visits Yosemite 3-4 times per year (but who are too chicken to attempt snow camping!) we SO enjoy your blog posts. It's like another world up there, and it's so fun to think of you two up there patrolling that vast wilderness....with it all to yourselves. Just wonderful. Be safe!

     
  11. January 14, 2016 at 10:26
     

    It was a pleasure to visit Tuolumne with the family for new year's eve again this year. The ski conditions were excellent. The trip was a ton of fun. Rob & Laura, we are so glad to have Rangers like you to keep the original vision from the 1930s of a hut system for ski-mountaineering in the Sierras alive! Your photo of Tuolumne Meadows from Lembert Dome is on the front page of sfgate today! http://www.sfgate.com/outdoors/article/Yosemite-a-winter-recreation-wonderland-after-El-6756763.php Happy skiing! Thanks for making this wonderful place accessible in the winter.

     
  12. January 13, 2016 at 03:32
     

    Which building is the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut? Parson's Lodge? Thanks!

     
  13. January 12, 2016 at 05:46
     

    The report shows only 4 inches snow depth. Is this a typo?

     
  14. January 11, 2016 at 06:38
     

    Beautiful pictures. Thank you!

     
  15. January 11, 2016 at 06:38
     

    Beautiful pictures. Thank you!

     
 
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Last updated: January 12, 2016

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