Here's the climbing & backcountry skiing condition report for January 10th... A massive winter storm has hit the Sierra Nevada! In some places there has been over 8 feet of new snow above 9500 feet and more is on the way. This is a real game changer folks not only for our outdoor winter pursuits but for the State in general. There's been flooding and blizzard conditions through the central and Northern parts of California. Most winter outdoor activities have been limited to resort skiing since the backcountry has just been too dangerous for both ice climbing and skiing.
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
Backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra got a lot better last week with a mid week storm that dumped some much needed cold snow. And then rainaggedon started on Saturday . Massive amounts of wet snow fell above 9500 feet and lots of rain below that. Avalanche danger went through the roof up to high/extreme and many large wet natural slides were observed in the June Lake area. And currently the snow levels have dropped on the Eastern Sierra is in the middle of a major cold winter storm with snow levels down to 6000 feet and 2-3 feet predicted at town levels. So that said, we don't have a recent backcountry skiing report for ya because no sane people have been back there. BUT, when things mellow out it should be game on for the best backcountry ski season in many, many years!
Same story in Tahoe. Massive amounts of rain and very high elevation snow and high avalanche danger. So no one has really been in the backcountry lately. Currently Tahoe is getting hit with a colder storm so expect backcountry skiing conditions to get real good once the storms are over later this week and the avalanche danger drops to more sane levels.
The prediction this week is for another 6-8 feet of snow on Shasta! And that's after record breaking snow in November and December. Perhaps the conditions on Mount Shasta itself is a bit gnarly for skiing right now, but like everywhere else it should be great skiing and boarding once the storms clear and things stabilize a bit. And even if no more snow fell this year (that won't happen!), it would still be a stellar spring season on Shasta.
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
Lee Vining & June Lake Ice Climbing
Rain, rain rain. That's what we've seen over the weekend at the ice venues. But that is not a bad thing. The rain did not wash the ice way, it's still there folks. And with all the new moisture and now below freezing temps, things are gonna get real fat, real quick!
Lee Vining has been too dangerous from avalanches to climb at in the last 3-4 days and that may continue for a another day or two. But once things stabilize, expect great climbing and fatter ice.
Roadside ice in June Lake managed to survive the rain fine. The ice got a bit thinner but now it is expected to grow fast with all this new water and daytime temps well below freezing. No avalanche danger right at Roadside.
June Lake's Horsetail Falls is still fat. Like Lee Vining, the approach to Horsetail is in some avi paths so caution is advised if planning to climb there in the next day or so. There have been large wet slides observed in the June Lake area.
High Sierra Climbing
Our guides had to bail off a Matterhorn winter mountaineering trip on Saturday for safety reasons. Too much wet snow and avalanche danger. Expect those conditions to continue for at least the rest of the mid week.
Mount Shasta Climbing
Full, and we mean FULL, winter conditions. It's just skiing up on Mount Shasta.
Lots of rain lately and pretty much looking that way till at least this coming weekend when climbing weather will return.
No one has really been climbing at Owens River Gorge lately and it's looking like more rain and snow till at least this weekend when things may dry out enough to get back on the rock.
We are done with Yosemite rock climbing reports for the season.