We have finally returned to a colder pattern here in the Eastern Sierra; after seemingly endless weeks of sunny skies and spring-like temps, it almost feels like winter. A series of weak cold-fronts will be approaching California throughout the next week, bringing scattered light-snow across the mountainous regions of the state. The lack of widespread snowpack has been keeping most people home and those willing to hunt out the good turns have been rewarded with stark solitude.
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
The quick storm system that blew in Sunday thru Monday dropped 6-8 inches in the high country and 2 to 3 inches at 7000'. This weekend should have the best skiing we have seen in a month or so. For those looking to bang out short laps, Virginia Lakes remains the best bet for coverage and ease of access. The Matterhorn zone has the best snow in the range and only requires 1.5-2 hours on snowy trail to get to the skiing. The Incredible Hulk couloirs and Kettle Peak's East Couloir are skiable, but require 2-2.5 hours of snowy hiking along the Little Slide Canyon "trail." Various couloirs in the Mammoth Lakes Area have also seen some recent descents with reports of decent to good conditions in the chutes and thin to non-existent coverage below 9.5k.
ESAC will continue to publish daily avalanche advisories, so make sure to read the report before you venture into the backcountry.
Only have the weekend and want to get the best backcountry turns possible. Check out our Guided Backcountry Skiing Tours.
Tahoe backcountry skiing remains in a sad state after missing out on the snow earlier this week. Wind and cold temps have likely turned the little good snow out that remained to crap.
- Carson Pass (South Lake) NOAA Weather Forecast
- Castle Peak (Donner Summit) 7500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast
Scattered snow showers and high winds plague Shasta all week. Call the Fifth Season for up to date conditions on Mt Shasta.
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
- Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (Observations only)
- Bridgeport Avalanche Center (Northern High Sierra)
- Sierra Avalanche Center (Lake Tahoe Area)
- Mount Shasta Avalanche Center
Lee Vining & June Lake Ice Climbing
June Lake ice took a beating throughout the last two weeks of high pressure, however with a return to a colder, cloudier pattern, the ice is poised to come back into condition quickly. The North Gully of Horsetail is the only route that has remained in condition throughout the hot-spell and is a safe bet for anyone looking to get a half-day of climbing.
Lee Vining Canyon's Chouinard Falls remains the best bet for ice in California. Comrade's Corner has finally grown fat enough to be led. The central routes are fat and have clearly seen quite a few picks. The Right side routes remain thin and mixed.
Main Wall began fatten up during this last high pressure spell and we just might see lead-able ice form this week on Plumb Line and Center Flow.
The Bard-Harrington and Narrows continue to be dry.
Take your ice climbing to the next level and check out our Ice climbing Courses 2017/18.
High Sierra Climbing
Too cold this week for all but the beefiest alpine climbers.
Mount Shasta Climbing
See: Mount Shasta Skiing (above)
Beautiful weather in Joshua Tree this weekend. Despite a little wind, it should be a wonderful weekend for climbing.
Daytime temps in the high 50s and overnight temps in the high 30s will have most looking for sun. Deadman Summit areas will probably shut down after these storms for a while.
- Owens River Gorge NOAA Weather Forecast
- Mammoth Lakes 9000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast
- Pine Creek Canyon (mouth of canyon) NOAA Weather Forecast
Yosemite Valley & Tuolumne Meadows
Sunshine and mid 50's in the Valley this weekend through next week.
Tuolumne is closed for the season. There is little snow up there right now and without a drastic change is this Winter's weather we are expecting an early spring opening of Tioga Pass.