If you still have skiing on the brain, come and get it quick. The Eastern Sierra snow pack is receding as the wildflowers start to bloom. Here is the climbing and skiing report for the Memorial Day Weekend.
Welcome to our 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
Spring skiing just won't quit in the Eastern Sierra. Last weekend saw huge numbers of backcountry skiers and riders at nearly every trail head. While we've not seen a hard freeze for a few days below 10k, the skiing has held up well. The popular routes and areas will have seen many skiers recently and that seems to have been the cause of most loose-wet activity throughout the last week, meaning lines off the beaten path will ski much, much better than the popular classics. Skiing can still be had to (or very close to) the car at several Southern Sierra trailheads as well as Virginia Lakes (no secret there). Forecasted temps for the range are above average for the weekend, with freezing levels around 12.5k. We are still waiting to hear projected opening dates for Sonora (108) Pass and Tioga (120) Pass to Ellery, hopefully the crews keep encountering easy removal conditions and open up the easiest access to high elevation skiing in the Northern Sierra.
Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center has issued their final forecast for the season which expires tomorrow. Careful analysis of the weather observations, weather forecasts and snowpack are necessary for safe travel in avalanche terrain. If you don't know, don't go.
SUMMARY: Plan on skiing early and high. Seek shaded, north facing aspects for smoother snow and steer away from the mega-classic lines to avoid the crowds, numerous boot-packs and roller-balls from previous skiers.
Its looking like its time to go to the beach with temperatures rising in the mid to high 60's this weekend in Tahoe. Yes, you could still find a few turns but really?
Mt. Shasta is going to see a windy weekend with the chance for light snowfall tonight; which has us wondering if winter will ever end up there. This system looks pretty typical for this time of year up there, much more so than the warm temps of the last week. With a windy forecast like this weekend's the skiing is likely to be fast and firm, so be prepared for difficult, icy descents if the winds come in as predicted.
Mount Shasta Avalanche Center has stopped issuing forecasts for the season. Use normal precautions for traveling in avalanche terrain and be confident in your own assessments of the snowpack. If you don't know, don't go.
Mount Shasta 8500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
Lee Vining & June Lake Ice Climbing
The ice climbing report is done for the season.
High Sierra Climbing
Its going to be snowy approach with the snow line hanging at 9,600 feet and patchy snow down to 9,000 feet in shaded north facing aspects, but the rock is reported to be good to go. Its still early season so be prepared for snowy belay ledges and possible "phantom ice" in the cracks. Climbing in the Eastern Sierra looks good this weekend. Temps in the Mammoth Crest to the North at 10,000 to 12,000 are going to be the mid to low 60's during the day and mid 30's overnight.
Mount Shasta Climbing
A cold front in brushing by Shasta bringing low temperatures, moderate winds, and possibility of snow.
The climbing season in Joshua Tree is quickly coming to an end. Very hot!
Chasing the shade is the name of the game in the Owens's River Valley with high temps and relatively little wind.
Pine Creek Canyon is snow free, but heads up on rappels as there are season waterfalls and streams at the base of some of the walls. The temps at Pine Creek have been great!
Clarks Canyon road is free of snow and the road is in good condition with 4wd not needed (The fire crews from last season fixed it!). The day time temps are warm, so think about the shade game for this weekend.
Rock Creek climbing is great right now with the Gong Show crag completely snow free (except for the still buried Patricia Bowl).
Be advised that LADWP is working in the Central Gorge. Access to some of the areas might be restricted. But it's too hot to climb there anyway.
All Mammoth area climbs are still under snow however the snowpack is quickly receding so hopefully mammoth area crags will be a go soon (or at least the last two thirds of the climbs!)
Yosemite Valley & Tuolumne Meadows
The climbing this weekend in Yosemite Valley will be be perfect this weekend with temps in the mid 70's and sunny all weekend. Hopefully the crowds have died down since last weekend, but get it while the temps are cool and the crowds are down; full on summer season is coming!
No new updates this week for Tioga Pass Rd, but as of June 1st Yosemite National Park reported road crews were two miles to the East of Tenaya Lake so with all these warm temps progress is going along great.