California Climbing & Backcountry Skiing Report - Nov 22nd

Here's the report for November 22nd... the weather returned to normal late November conditions, the Tioga road is closed for probably the season and Shasta is getting absolutely hammered. It's back to "normal" now folks, which is a good thing as we need to get winter into gear. The Sierra is getting snow and climbers are heading South. Joshua Tree and Owens River Gorge are good now and Sierra backcountry skiing is getting close. Except for Shasta, we are still in that "in-between" season though.

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

Eastern Sierra

Backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra is kind of possible. They received 3-4 inches of snow during the last storm cycle in places up above 9000 ft North of the Mammoth area. Some gullies got drifted with up to 8 inches of snow. A group of local skiers found some good pow filled gullies in the Virginia Lakes area yesterday. So, if you are willing to bush wack and walk across snow covered rock for a long ways you can find some pow. But plan on hitting rocks. Not recommended.

Mammoth Crest 10,000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


Tahoe is faring better than the High Sierra down South. Squaw Valley reported over a foot of new snow at 8,000 ft over the weekend storm. Skiers have been hitting the backcountry again in Tahoe, but aside from some pockets of good snow overall conditions are not that good yet. Keep in mind there's not much of a base yet with lots of obstacles. The good news it's not even Thanksgiving yet! We've got time.

Castle Peak (Donner Summit) 7500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Mount Shasta

Shasta is getting hammered. Period. The snowpack was already 400% of normal last week and the fire hose just won't stop. Check out the forecast below and you'll see that there's solid snow in the forecast the next 10 days! Not many reports from skiers in the last few days, maybe because of the weather. Once it clears (if it ever does) and things stabilize, Shasta will be the place. Now how about sharing some more of that down South guys!

Mount Shasta 8500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


California Avalanche Advisories & Observations

Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (Observations only)

Sierra Avalanche Center (Lake Tahoe Area)

Mount Shasta Avalanche Center


Ice Climbing

Lee Vining & June Lake

Patience! It's coming. The temps in the Eastern Sierra have just dropped and the ice is beginning to form. No climbable ice yet, but with overnight temps below freezing all this week it shouldn't be long. Stay tuned

Lee Vining Canyon Ice 8000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Alpine Climbing

High Sierra

Forget it. Unless you are masochistic or just that hardcore.

Palisades 12,000 ft NOAA weather forecast

Mount Shasta

Full winter conditions. Now it's pretty much just skiing up on Mount Shasta.

Mount Shasta 12,000 ft NOAA weather forecast

Rock Climbing

Joshua Tree

Perfect climbing conditions in the sun. The temps are getting cold at night though. This is the place to be for climbing right now. But good luck finding an open camp site over the holiday weekend.

Joshua Tree, Hidden Valley Campground NOAA Weather Forecast

Eastern Sierra

It's cold now. The only enjoyable climbing right now is the Owens River Gorge (or there's always bouldering of course). 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.

Owens River Gorge NOAA Weather Forecast
Mammoth Lakes 9000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


The bliss that was Yosemite Valley has given away to typical late November conditions. With colder temps and rain predicted all week, the Valley season is mostly over by now. But Adam Ondra sent the Dawn Wall yesterday!

Tioga Pass is closed again and probably for the rest of winter. Bye bye Tuolumne.

Yosemite Valley NOAA Weather Forecast
Tuolumne Meadows 8600 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

The view from Virginia Lakes on 11/22

The view from Virginia Lakes on 11/22