Update for March 25, 2015

March 24, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: 3 inches
Total settled snow depth: 0 feet as of March 25 (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 56°F, March 20
Low temperature: 22°F, March 21

Skiing/Snowshoeing Conditions and Weather: A skier on a snowy Unicorn Peak with mountains in the distance.Okay, ski season is over for all but you diehards. If you are willing to strap your skis on your back, you can find skiable snow above 9500 feet. But, it is by no means hiking season yet unless you want to post-hole in 1 ½ feet of snow on north-facing slopes above 9,000 feet. Patchy snow exists elsewhere, especially in the shade of the trees. Snowshoes are still a necessity in most places above this elevation. From Saddlebag Lake Road to a mile east of Tenaya Lake, the road is approximately half snow, half pavement. If you are snowshoeing/hiking please realize trails are not obvious in places and navigational skills are a must. Come prepared for any type of weather. We did get three inches of new snow this week. Every flake helps!

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 avalanche danger in the Tuolumne Meadows area and along on the Tioga Road including Lee Vining Canyon is low.

Wildlife: Northern flickers became quite vocal this week, making sure all of its neighbors are awake first thing in the morning. Mountain bluebirds are finding their nesting snags. The song sparrow is singing in the willows along the riverside and the Cassin's finch, from the tree-tops. It is quite the chorus of many other species as well: pine siskin, red crossbills, brown creeper, red-breasted nuthatch, mountain chickadee, Clark's nutcracker, common raven, and American robin. Now that the snow is patchy or firm, it is hard to see the tracks of all the mammal species, but the coyote has been spotted almost daily in Tuolumne Meadows.

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 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.

Nelson Lake and the Clark Range mountains with a dusting of snow.

14 Comments Comments icon

  1. April 02, 2015 at 01:38

    @Joe, the Tuolumne Meadows ski hut is accessible by skiing (or, this year, by hiking), either from Yosemite Valley or from 5 miles west of Lee Vining on Highway 120.

  2. April 02, 2015 at 01:38

    @Sam, you can see the latest update at https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/Update-for-April-1-2015.htm

  3. April 01, 2015 at 08:40

    Scary outlook for the sierras - cross your fingers it snows next year and that this pattern changes

  4. joe
    April 01, 2015 at 05:48

    How do you get to the huts?

  5. Sam
    March 29, 2015 at 07:01

    How's the corn up there?

  6. March 29, 2015 at 10:24

    @Matt, The Tioga Road is at a higher elevation and also goes through several avalanche zones. Road debri, like big rocks, will slow down the progress. The road construction crew is also using this mild spring to get more construction done so (hopefully) there will be less delays in the summertime.

  7. March 29, 2015 at 12:28

    The Glacier Point Road opened today -- shockingly little snow along the road, I guess someone finally decided to see if they could drive it! We had checked the road conditions the day before and there was no notice that the road would be opening 48 hours beforehand. Though our backpack was cancelled by a 103F fever, the views from the point were as spectacular as ever. I wonder if they will do similar with the Tioga Road, and open on relatively short notice? Based on the pictures here, I would imagine clearing the road would be relatively short work.

  8. March 28, 2015 at 03:47

    Alice, I'd be careful about water supply in mid- to late summer this year due to the minimal snowpack and drought. Some normally perennial streams will probably dry up later in the year. Bring extra water bottles and refill them with safely purified water while you're hiking whenever you have a chance. That said, the loop over Donahue and Koip is amazing. Try making it over to Marie Lakes if you have a chance- the lower lake offers camping and the upper lake offers great views of both the Ritter Range and out into Nevada. Also be sure to climb Parker Peak or Koip Peak while you're at it for more amazing views. Between Koip Pass and the Tioga Road you can camp at Mono Pass as long as you're east of the park boundary; the area to the west is the Dana Fork watershed and camping is not allowed to protect the water supply for Tuolumne Meadows. Have a great time!

  9. March 27, 2015 at 12:50

    @Scott, Highway 120 is closed five miles west of US 395: http://dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr120

  10. March 26, 2015 at 11:26

    Is the road open from the East up to the entrance?

  11. March 26, 2015 at 03:16

    @Houle, the Glacier Point Road could be open by April 14. Visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm for updates.

  12. March 26, 2015 at 03:14

    @Alice, @Ray, the snowline is currently between 9,000 and 10,000 ft in many places, and should be plenty higher by late May, assuming we don't get more snow. Passes should be snow-free by mid-July.

  13. Ray
    March 26, 2015 at 08:10

    I am in a similar situation to Alicia wondering about snow above 9000ft. I am hoping to do some backpacking in Yosemite towards the end of May. Thanks for the updates!

  14. March 25, 2015 at 09:06

    I've been following your weekly posts with interest, especially with regard to snow depth at 9,000 ft and above. We're thinking of a mid-July backpacking trip over Donohue Pass and Koip Peak Pass and wondering if we will encounter snow covered trails. Thanks for the updates!

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Last updated: March 24, 2015

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