Here's the report for November 29th... A good Sierra storm has hit the central Sierra and the temps have gotten cold. Ice is coming in around Lee Vining and June Lake and backcountry skiing is now possible from Mammoth North. We are now moving into winter!
Welcome to our new weekly climbing and backcountry skiing report for the state of California. Our goal is to provide a weekly single source of climbing and skiing conditions around the state. We hope you stay tuned!
Backcountry Skiing & Boarding
Backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra is possible. The Mammoth area received 14-20" of snow over thanksgiving weekend above 9500 feet and BC skiers are finding some decent but very shallow snow to ski. Conditions are still at verrry low tide so watch for obstacles and under 8000 feet it's still too boney to reasonably ski with only 3-6" of the white stuff. A report from today in the Virginia Lakes area found a lot of skiable shallow snow but most of it was wind affected and crusty. And they never hit a rock!
With up to 4 feet of snow in the Tahoe backcountry, things are getting good from a snowpack standpoint. We've heard of some wind affected and some crusty conditions as well as some good powder stashes, BUT there's skiing in the Tahoe backcountry. Lots of obstacles still and the lower elevations still have a shallow snowpack. Along the Sierra Crest further to the North is best. The further South you go in the Tahoe area the shallower the snow gets even higher up. There is a pretty good snow pack in the Mount Rose highway, but still reports of obstacles.
After getting copious amounts of snow the last month, It might as well be the month of March up on Shasta. Lots of stormy weather with very high winds have been the norm the last week up there so not a lot of reports coming out of Shasta. But get a good weather window and this is where you will find more snow than has been seen in the rest of California for the last 5 years!
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
Lee Vining & June Lake
It's here! There is climbable ice in the Eastern Sierra. Horsetail Falls in June Lake is in and there is one flow of thin climbable ice at the Roadside in June Lake. As for Lee Vining, the ice is climbable but thin on the Chouinard Falls. Everywhere you have to watch for good bonding as the ice is only a week or so old. Overnight lows are predicted to be in the single digits later this week so ice growth will continue. We've noticed a lot of water flowing so expect things to get good soon!
Forget it. Unless you are masochistic or just that hardcore. We will say that with the recent storm you could get out winter mountaineering now that there is a somewhat supportive snowpack
Full winter conditions. It's just skiing up on Mount Shasta.
It's gotten quite cold in Joshua Tree and the it is supposed to be breezy this week. Highs in the upper 40's...brrrrr. The good news is that temps are supposed to warm up into the 60's this weekend which should make for some great climbing.
It's even colder now. So Owens River Gorge and bouldering it is. One thing to keep in mind about the Gorge is that it feels A LOT warmer in the sun down inside the gorge than what the ambient temperature actually is. It's not uncommon to be climbing in a T shirt in the sun and then immediately switch over to a down jacket as soon as the sun goes away. So as long as there's sun and no wind, don't pay too much attention to the cold temps during the winter.
We are done with Yosemite rock climbing reports for the season.