California Climbing & Backcountry Skiing Report - Nov 8th

Here's the report for November 8th... A bit of an indian summer early this week and the Tioga Pass Road opened back up yesterday! So that will give great access East to West and vice versa across the Sierra Nevada. Temperatures in the Sierra are a bit above normal but predicted to fall later this week. Overall though, it's that "in-between" season where the higher climbs are somewhat shutdown with early snow, but except for the far North there's not quite enough snow to make for good backcountry skiing yet.

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

Eastern Sierra

Backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra is possible. There are pockets of skiable snow, most notably the Mammoth backcountry. However, we wouldn't recommend it yet. Just too shallow of a base and too many obstacles. But this has been one of the best starts to the season we've seen in years! Mammoth Mountain opens this Thursday.

Mammoth Crest 10,000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


The Tahoe backcountry does have some skiable snow. Some skiers were getting after it after the storms over a week ago. However, it is now very spotty. Some places above 7000 feet have almost no snow, some have a decent amount. Best to wait till the next big dump.

Castle Peak (Donner Summit) 7500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Mount Shasta

Early season Mount Shasta skiing has been going off! Best early November in memory is what we are hearing. The series of storms over the last few weeks dumped over 4 feet of goodness above 9000 feet. It's a bit boney down by Bunny Flat at 7000 feet, but who cares? If you want to get in some early turns Shasta is your place. However, keep an eye on potentially high winds coming this week, could make for some miserable conditions.

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

Obviously just too early for ice here. The temps are not there yet to produce any climbable ice. BUT....there's lots of water flowing around due to some good early season rain so we are looking forward to a great early season once it gets cold enough. Check back in a few weeks!

Lee Vining Canyon Ice 8000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Alpine Climbing

High Sierra

Not many reports coming out of the high country last week. Early season storms have produced a thin snowpack with some deep drifts above 9500 ft in the Mammoth area so many alpine rock climbs are shut down...unless you're looking for those full alpine conditions! That said, with warmer temps this week and sunny skies we would guess that some of the sunny high alpine rock climbs may be good to go this coming week into this weekend.

No alpine ice reports as of late, but with Tioga road opening back up it might be worth checking out the North Peak couloir.

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

Temps are perfect and the climbing is great. Camping on the weekend is insanely crowded mostly with campers from LA. The climbs themselves were not too crowded last week.

Joshua Tree, Hidden Valley Campground NOAA Weather Forecast

Eastern Sierra

It's the beginning of Owens River Gorge season. But temps are good this week for almost anything. Some of the higher crags around Mammoth may be a bit cold and snowy though. Clark's Canyon should be great. The summer fires over there did not affect the climbing at all, just made for a sooty approach.

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


With temps in the 60's and no rain in sight, the Valley is sublime now! Especially with the potential for less crowds this time of year. The sunnier climbs up at Tuolumne Meadows could be a good choice with the re-opening of the Tioga Road.

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


Hidden valley campground at joshua tree

Hidden valley campground at joshua tree