Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

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SSSdave
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Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by SSSdave » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:46 am

Today is February 19, 2019. After 3 series of large cold multi day systems, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is now over 150% of average for this date. And at lower mid forest elevations it is more above normal as the recent storms have been exceptionally cold. Long range forecasts now suggest more storms will continue to march across the Pacific and into the range over the next several weeks so the snow pack may even become deeper. At this point we can confidently state our summer backpacking season will not be normal and instead most likely to follow historic big winters like 1982, 1986, 1995, 2011, 2017. That noted it is possible a warm tropical pineapple express AR event could still occur and reduce pack depths below 8k. Above that, snow is now so deep that even wet storms will only just soak in.

Those making summer backpacking plans must thus adjust pushing back dates a few weeks. Terrain at elevations that are usually snow free and greening at dates, especially without sun exposures will takes weeks longer to melt out. Highways and roads to reach trailheads will remain closed into early summer making access for some already reserved trips impossible. Larger streams may be dangerous or impassable. Timberline lakes may be accessible though still frozen. Usual camping spots even if snow free may be muddy and or puddles of water. Trails along timberline canyon bottoms may be buried under enormous piles of avalanche debris full of huge snapped trees. Backpacking passes and especially north facing cross country passes may require ice axe and or crampons. Mosquito season will last much longer including into August about meadow and forest areas. Wildflowers and greenery will be delayed in rising. Trail quotas for mid and late season will quickly reserve out while early summer permittees will often end up canceling. Stories will make news and blogs of PCT and JMT thru hikers getting into trouble and worse.








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JWreno
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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by JWreno » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:26 am

I am looking forward to my Glen Aulin area 3 nighter the 2nd week of June. I am sure we will be camping on snow. I think the river will be an impassable torrent and the falls should be awesome. I don't think we will actually camp at Glen Aulin because of the bridge to the campsite is out still.

I plan on a lot of photos and video of the multiple falls near Glen Aulin.

Reno has almost an annual level of total water for the year to date in only about 7 weeks. My son has been shuttle driving the Truckee/Tahoe area the last 3 weeks and the snowbanks are now epic.
Jeff

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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:09 am

Alternative title: Ski season is AWESOME this year and will last until August!
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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:10 am

I am still waiting to make decisions. We have a few months ahead and the spring melt is yet to come. Regardless of residual snowpack, there probably will be high stream flows.

Desolation may not be the best early season choice this year. The CDEC graph shows this year at this point, exactly same as 2011
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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:38 am

Let's totally turn this into a "winter in June" pic collection :)

Lake Aloha, June 24th, 2017
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maverick
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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by maverick » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:01 pm

I am looking forward to my Glen Aulin area 3 nighter the 2nd week of June.
With even more snow coming in, I would not count on the road will be opening by mid June, in 2017 we has 177%, road opened on 6/29.
Here are the opening dates: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm
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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by JWreno » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:09 pm

Good point on road opening date. Didn't think of that. Hiking in from Virginia Lakes would require a bit more time and involve at least one dangerous crossing at Return creek. I put in my permit request for June 14th on January 9th. Maybe I need to put in another for the beginning of July as a backup plan.

I was going to do a short Yosemite trip to celebrate my eligibility for a National Park Senior Pass in June. My wife can get one next year which will make two car shuttles at Yosemite easier.
Jeff

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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by juniper395 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:30 pm

c9h13no3 wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:09 am
Alternative title: Ski season is AWESOME this year and will last until August!
This made my day! Guess I'll have to skin up my splitboard to get around :P

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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by longri » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:50 pm

Counting the eggs a little bit early, I think. It's an above average year for sure but comparison to previous years is dubious at best. And long range forecasts are next to worthless. I hope we get even more snow and have an unusually cold spring but I wouldn't put money on it. I'm just so glad that it's not another drought year.

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Re: Yes 2019 is now a BIG winter

Post by Lumbergh21 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:05 pm

Yep definitely canceling plans to hike over Kaweah Gap, etc at the end of June. Who knows, may cancel my late July plans as well.

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