Total settled snow depth: 130 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 28°F (February 26)
Low temperature: -10°F (February 24)
Ski Conditions and Weather
This week was characterized by cold temperatures and mostly dry weather. The alpine terrain was hit hard by southwest winds following last week’s stormy weather. The disturbance that came through the central Sierra Nevada the past few days left some cold, dry powder, on the surface. The skiing is quite good presently with light powder snow on a soft and supportable surface. It looks like we are in for a bit of a warm up at the end of this week which will affect conditions yet again. It goes without saying, that coverage is excellent on all aspects above 7,000 feet. The snow surveys that we conducted this week revealed historical records for snow depth and water content for March 1. These records date back to 1930.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions
Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
The Tioga Road can be steep, icy or non-existent in places this season due to avalanche debris. Safe route selection and mountain skills are a must. This week expect warming temperatures and the potential for wet slides in areas such as Olmsted Point, Polly Dome-Spring Hill and Lee Vining Canyon. In the alpine zone especially, be cautious of wind-loaded areas. Otherwise, expect highly variable conditions from hard pack where ice axe and crampons may be needed to soft, dreamy powder. Don’t forget the ski wax and scraper!
Golden-crowned kinglets were seen flitting about in the lodgepole pine trees in Tuolumne Meadows. A lone Steller’s Jay was poised to steal lunch while we were snow surveying near Tenaya Lake. With the recently settled snowpack, more and more coyote, pine marten and weasel tracks appear every day.
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 Meadows Winter Rangers