Here's the report for December 5th... The ice in Lee Vining and June Lake is climbable now and it's growing quickly! Backcountry skiing is barely in shape from Mammoth North and we really we need another foot or more to make the skiing decent. It looks like another significant storm is on the way for the Sierra this week, but it could be a bit warmer of a storm with higher snow levels.
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 still possible above about 9000 feet from Mammoth North. The cold temps of last week preserved the snow we had from the last storms but in the last couple days daytime temps have risen a lot. This has caused some localized icy conditions in the backcountry with sun crusts and wind affected snow. Virginia Lakes seems to still be the best bet due to it's higher trail head elevation. We've had some reports of decent turns in the Red Cone Bowl of the Mammoth Crest. High winds the last few days have hammered the snowpack. But overall finding good turns is very localized and we need another good foot or more to make it good skiing and worth your while so maybe give it and your skis a break for a while. There's always the groomers at Mammoth Mountain. But....there's another storm predicted for later this week so perhaps things will change for the better!
Still localized pockets of deeper snow yet there are still areas of very low snow coverage, especially to the South. Lot's of sun and wind affected snow throughout the area and buried "sugar" snow. Oh yeah, and lots of obstacles. So not great. Waiting for that other storm that may hit the area later this week.
Still getting hammered with snow! It's still mid winter ski conditions up on Shasta and you may find decent skiing down on the lower mountain in between episodes of storms and winds.
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
Lee Vining & June Lake
Ice Climbing is in shape around the Eastern Sierra. Chouinard Falls in Lee Vining is getting fatter by the day and ice climbers have found leadable ice there. Main Wall not so much but it should be soon before that is climbable.
Roadside ice in June Lake is growing fast also. The left flow is getting fat and is fine to lead and the right flow should be in shape in a few days. Horsetail falls is in shape on the left and the right but a bit thin in places. The "chasm of death' underneath the right flow is open now so beware of that. It will take another good storm to fill that in.
Reports from Lundy Canyon found pretty good ice and some thin conditions that were avoidable. It was possible as of today to drive all the way to the summer trail head with high clearance 4wd vehicles.
Temps in June Lake are supposed to get down to 3 degrees tomorrow night! So that's a good sign. Plus, we a wetter storm coming later this week it will hopefully had more water which is always good for ice growth.
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.
A bit chilly in Joshua Tree but good climbing is to be had in the sun. And there is are no cloudy days for as far as the eye can see! A good time to go climb in Jtree before the holiday rush.
Still pretty cold but Owens River Gorge and even sunnier climbs at Pine Creek have been good. But it is going to get a lot colder later this week. 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.