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April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

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April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby John Dittli » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:23 pm

Hi all

I just came out from Charlotte today, finishing up the April 1 surveys. As you all are familiar with the CDEC site as much as me, I won't bore you with the data. In a nut shell the south (Whitney area) is ~40%, Kings hdwtrs ~50%, San Joaquin ~60%, Tuolumne mid 60's.

The NF Bishop creek road was gated at Aspendel but pretty much snow free to North Lake. The Piute Pass trail was pretty much solid snow from the trailhead though not a lot.

SF Bishop Creek rd was officially closed at Hawbaggers, but drivable past Tyee TH. Trail patchy snow to far end of South Lake then snow covered.

Onion Valley rd officially closed at 7 Pines but snow free and passable to TH. Trail, patchy snow to Little Pothole then solid to Pass. Lots of brush and rock exposed so I could see that trail possibly being almost snow free in a few weeks if we have prevailing sun. Upper south facing slopes of the canyon/Gould completely snow free save a little in the gullies.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:53 pm

Thank you very much JD for posting this info! This confirms the reports that were
in the news last week.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby BrianF » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:22 pm

Thanks for sharing, just the info I was looking for! It's good to hear from the boots (or skis) on the ground
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:16 am

Maybe those percentages mean my chances of dying in some death water ford on my first week. I like where the odds are. :unibrow:
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby John Dittli » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:33 am

So I ran some numbers and came up with some interesting data. Again, this is my opinion and doesn't represent that of the State of California, Department Water Resources

While lower elevations are quite dry, most of the upper elevations courses measured significantly higher than last April, a sampling:

Comparing SWE (snow water equivalent) between this year and last year, I have observed the following:

% of last year

Crabtree 100%
Bighorn 168%
Charlotte 128%
Bench 132%
Bear Ridge 125%
Tuolumne 174%
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby longri » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:45 pm

So how much longer do you expect a ski tour in the High Sierra to be a reasonable option this season?
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby schmalz » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:59 pm

John Dittli wrote:So I ran some numbers and came up with some interesting data. Again, this is my opinion and doesn't represent that of the State of California, Department Water Resources

While lower elevations are quite dry, most of the upper elevations courses measured significantly higher than last April, a sampling:

Comparing SWE (snow water equivalent) between this year and last year, I have observed the following:

% of last year

Crabtree 100%
Bighorn 168%
Charlotte 128%
Bench 132%
Bear Ridge 125%
Tuolumne 174%


Very interesting, and hopefully a good sign that things won't be quite as dry as we've feared.

Thanks for doing all the hard work and reporting back to us John.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby John Dittli » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:05 pm

longri wrote:So how much longer do you expect a ski tour in the High Sierra to be a reasonable option this season?


It kinda depends on where. Last year I did an amazing tour along the Merced Range first week in May when the rest of the southern Sierra was gone. I only had to take off the skis 3 times in 8 days for short sections.

If you stay high you might be ok in the south for a couple more weeks, though I'm thinking the skis will be off on south facing. North of say the Silver Divide, I'm guessing into the second week in May. It all will probably require a certain amount of creativity.

Eastside approaches down south will probably be pretty dry.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby longri » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:29 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.
Thinking about Tioga to Twin Lakes.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby John Dittli » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:16 pm

Good choice, and a great tour!
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby KathyW » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:32 pm

John: Thanks for the update - very helpful information. Low, average, and high snow years - they are all great in different ways.
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Re: April 1st snow survey and snow conditions.

Postby DAVELA » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:27 pm

thx, jd
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