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Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

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Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:39 pm

Hi all

We have now completed the Feb 1 snow surveys for the southern Sierra and as you all have probably guessed, there is a lot of snow. In fact, there is more snow then ever recorded in many locations to date. This is mostly due to the fact that very few high country surveys were completed Feb 1 during the record storm event of 1969. The harrowing story of the two snow surveyors caught at Big Whitney cabin during the '69 event is told in the log books and in Armstrong' "A Snow surveyors log". The data they recorded from the Big Whitney course shows that '69 was indeed a bigger event.

That said, the Kings and Kern drainages are at a whopping 217% and 271% to date and 132% and 165% respectively for the entire season. How this plays out for the rest of the season is to be seen; there have been years when winter has just "shut" off in which case the Sierra can still end up below 100% by April 1. While possible, it is highly unlikely as another series of ARs is about to wallop us with another 7 to 12 inches of water (7-12 feet of snow).

For comparison, the graph below shows where we stand compared to other years including the record year of 1983. Note the graph only shows 127% of April 1, this is due to the fact the northern watersheds covered in the graph (Tuolumne, Merced and San Joaquin) are not as "fat" as the southern most drainages.
Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 7.24.54 PM.png


Here are a few photos from the past couple of weeks
DSC03195.jpg

DSC03316.jpg

DSC03256.jpg

DSC03249.jpg

DSC03222.jpg

DSC03204.jpg
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:41 pm

Thank you very much John for post this, very informative. :thumbsup:
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby gary c. » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:24 am

As always you pictures are awesome John. Thanks for the update and pictures.
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby DaveB » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:41 am

Impressive, thanks for sharing, John! Are those percentages for snow depth or water content?
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby Hobbes » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:49 am

Beautiful.
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:57 am

John,

The pic of the Charlott Cabin looks almost exactly like early May of 1983 when I skied in over Kearsarge then down to Cedar Grove. (Had to hike from bridge across Bubbs that accesses Sphinx creek.) Luckily the snow survey crew was a couple of days ahead of us so we didn't have to dig down to the door!
Mike

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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby Silky Smooth » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:17 pm

Hey John thanks for the update and great photos, us locals have been getting some good turns in at onion valley. Curious which way did you go in ? which way did you go out? Skin track to the trail head is there, but curious how you went in and out. Planning a few mini tours up there. Any beta would be greatly appreciated.

take care
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:27 pm

DaveB wrote:Impressive, thanks for sharing, John! Are those percentages for snow depth or water content?
Those numbers are for water content or "SWE" (snow/water equivalent)
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:34 pm

Silky Smooth wrote:Hey John thanks for the update and great photos, us locals have been getting some good turns in at onion valley. Curious which way did you go in ? which way did you go out? Skin track to the trail head is there, but curious how you went in and out. Planning a few mini tours up there. Any beta would be greatly appreciated.

take care


I skinned straight up the creek from Greys Meadow my other team members took a snowcat. From OV we usually take a pretty high line when we can and avoid the lakes and switchbacks. Came out on more northerly aspects for 6000' of nice powder; ended up over by Lime Cr.

Mary Austin was a free ski day.
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Re: Feb 1, 2017, southern Sierra snow survey

Postby Silky Smooth » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:27 pm

thanks for your promptness and beta, really appreciate it
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