Condition Reports

Continued avalanche hazard along the PCT/JMT – in June!

2019 is turning out to be a very… different year. Above average snowfall, late snowfalls, high water runoff, delayed runoff; and now an avalanche hazard to take into consideration. On June 4th we had our annual staff training up in Rock Creek Canyon and found evidence of recent avalanche activity. The type of avalanches we saw were “wet slabs” and of up to a D3 plus size, on North and East facing aspects at 11,500 feet. With concern for backcountry travelers, we are offering a few warnings and pieces of advice, but first, a little more about D3 plus wet slab. D3 wet slab avalanches from Mt Starr, Rock [...]

By |2019-06-06T12:25:41-07:00June 6th, 2019|Condition Reports, SMC Blog|

Snow and more Snow

This is turning into a very atypical spring in the Sierra Nevada with extensive periods of snow and rain. Mammoth Mountain is reporting 29 inches of snow for May which is an all time recorded record, beating the last high in 2015. The ski area is now proposing to stay open until August. This has happened only twice before, in 2017 and 1995. Looking at the high country snow sensors the snow is very slow to melt and snow depth is gradually but slowly decreasing. Current run off forecast predicts maximum runoff for Kings River June 7 San Joaquin River June 10 Tuolumne River June 10 Merced River June 10 [...]

By |2019-06-06T10:37:56-07:00May 29th, 2019|Condition Reports, SMC Blog|

Update on Runoff in the Sierra

The Department of Water Resources has updated the predictions for run off. The maximum runoff dates have been pushed back and later due to cooler temperatures in the Sierra and unsettled weather with small storms moving through and frequent thunderstorm activity that seems to be ongoing. Kern River at Isabella, May 17 PCT mile approx. 690 Kaweah River May 14 To West of PCT Kings River May 17 PCT mile approx. 774 San Joaquin at Millerton, May 21 PCT mile approx. 880 Merced River at Happy Isles May 20 On the JMT Tuolumne River May 31 PCT mile approx. 917 East Walker River June 10 PCT mile approx. 978 If [...]

By |2019-06-06T10:38:06-07:00May 5th, 2019|Condition Reports, SMC Blog|

Spring and Early Summer in the Sierra Nevada for JMT/PCT Hikers and other Backcountry Users

  The winter of 2018/19 is on its way out and spring is here. Despite the media hype, this was not the biggest snow year ever. But looking at monthly totals from Mammoth Mountain, where the snows came early — February was the biggest February on record Nov 55 inches Dec 26 inches Jan 93 inches Feb 207 inches March 68 inches April 7 inches up to 4/11/19 Total: 456 inches Although winter has not yet fully gone, compare this to winter of 2016/17 where Mammoth reported 617 inches and 2010/11 with 668 inches. What is different is where the snow fell. This winter there has been more snow at [...]

By |2019-06-06T10:38:15-07:00April 24th, 2019|Condition Reports, Hiking, SMC Blog|

Condition Report for the High Sierra

This condition report uses direct observation from the Palisade Range to make some general predictions for the current conditions in the High Sierra.  Don't use this as your sole source of information to trip plan! This photo shows the Palisade Range from Polemonium to Thunderbolt Peaks.  Clearly in view are the V-Notch Couloir, U-Notch Couloir, Clyde Couloir, NE Couloir on Thunderbolt, North Face of Thunderbolt, and an un-named couloir to the right of the North Face.  Photo taken late July, 2009. The alpine ice routes in the Sierra continue to be in the best shape I have seen them in 7 years.  The L-shaped couloir on Mt. Sill is also still filled in [...]

By |2019-06-06T07:24:08-07:00August 21st, 2009|Condition Reports|