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Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update

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avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 08, 2012 01:23PM
Weather: (March 1 through March 7)
High temp: 57°F (March 3)
Low temp: 0°F (March 2)
New Snow: 11 inches
Total settled snow depth: 20 inches as of March 7

Skiing Conditions and Weather: At the time of this writing, the winds are blowing and conditions are constantly changing. There were several days this week where the high temperature was in the 50’s and this has created a supportable surface, when re-frozen, on most aspects below tree line. These are ideal conditions for ski touring as the coverage is still pretty good. Only a light dusting of snow has fallen since Monday so conditions should remain good for touring if traveling during these “re-frozen” hours.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times a week and more often during weather events.

No natural avalanche activity has been seen in the Tuolumne backcountry area yet this season. Recent storm activity has been cold, with low density snow falling on a mostly consolidated, settled snowpack. High winds have affected most slopes above tree line. In between storms, the sun has also created crusts between snow events. Backcountry travelers should be cautious of these when on slopes greater than 30 degrees, primarily on North and East aspects. We dug a snow pit on a west aspect of Mt. Dana, at 11,000’ this week and observed a shallow slab on top of an old suncrust with faceted snow above and below the crust. Travelers should be wary if this snowpack is ever loaded with new snow.

Wildlife: A pair of Hairy woodpeckers were tapping on a Whitebark Pine snag at the Tioga Pass entrance station earlier this week. A Pine Marten was also seen investigating the nearby hut that evening.

Questions: Power and phones are out for the season. Contact the Wilderness Office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Bring your ski & skin wax and happy skiing!!

Laura & Rob Pilewski
Tuolumne Winter Rangers
avatar Re: Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 11, 2012 06:56PM
"A pair of Hairy woodpeckers were tapping on a Whitebark Pine snag at the Tioga Pass entrance station earlier this week. A Pine Marten was also seen investigating the nearby hut that evening." - Awesome.
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