SPRING of 2018 High Sierra Hazard Alert Status


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By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 18 May 2018

 

SPRING of 2018
High Sierra Hazard-Alert Status

 

Closing Note
After the middle of June the remaining snow was confined to the highest elevations, mountain passes, and terrain with NE aspects, and receeding rapidly. This was a light year for Sierra Snow, with the snowpack only finally delivering 58% of average.

High Sierra Backpacker's Calendar, mid-June, 2018

 

LAST 2018 ENTRY

 

June 13

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Serious Snow Travel Accident on Mount Whitney

Pro Rescue brings Two out by Helo, One able to Self-Rescue

Mountain Safety News

 

June 7

Status Update
in the
Spring of 2018 Reprt

Very Much the Same as below, on May 17:

Except the N Sierra is clearing rapidly, while the South Sierra has a couple of feet...

 

 

May 17

High Sierra Backpacker's Calendar, mid-May, 2018

WINTER CONDITIONS & ACCIDENTS

Two High Altitude Fatalities in Sequoia

 

 SPRING SNOW TRAVEL HAZARD WARNING in EFFECT

SPRING FORDING HAZARD WARNING in EFFECT

GENERAL CONDITIONS
TRAVEL
Low snow for this time of year, but, it looks like we can still anticipate four feet in the South Sierra, and two in the North, receeding rapidly. Shaded-sheltered areas and NE aspects will have more. Warm temps will make the surface soft, and we will absorb more moisture and expend more energy relative to the depth we sink in. Cooler temps will ease travel by keeping us on the snow-surface, but slicker surfaces present their own special dangers.

Snow Data

All Reporting Stations

FORDING
Fording dangers are increasing each day, and a heat wave will bring outright dangerous fording conditions. Undercut snow along riverbanks is still an issue, though it's likely all the arches and creeks submerged under snow have all melted out. Fording dangers are going to increase with increasing heat!

All River Stages & Forecasts

WEATHER
Sloppy, unsettled weather is still being dragged-in by a Low to the NE of the Sierra, over North Central Nevada. Though this Low's movement gradually East is diminishing the local instability in the Sierra, we've seen and are still seeing some spitting snow and light rains, mostly in the North Sierra now, with the lightest snows only at the highest altitudes.

Relevant Weather Resources

Storm Warnings-Hazards

PERSONAL PROTECTION
Wet, cold, and windy are a dangerous combination during Spring. We've got to be sure we can stay warm during these cool, wet, and windy periods. That means good quality insulation layering that retains heat when wet, a shell that resists wind, and enough layers so we can resist these cold, wet, winds.

Four Season Gear

These are very dangerous conditions for improperly equipped backpackers.

 

Sequoia Trail Conditions

 "Hikers and climbers are cautioned that winter conditions still exist at higher elevations, and extreme caution is necessary."

"Expect winter conditions above 9,500 ft."

 

 

Yosemite Wilderness Conditions

May 10:
"The rough snowline is 8,500 ft but varies on location and aspect..."

 

 

Bottom Line

Spring Temp & Snow Travel conditions are operative in the Sierra Nevada now, with increased fording danger. A heat wave will increase the fording danger.

Spring Snow Gear is still required for safe mountain travel in the Sierra.

2018 High Sierra Calendar, May

Summer-PCT lightweight gear WILL NOT CUT IT. Don't even try...

 

April 25: Winter to Spring Gear Transition

 

 

MAY 1 STATUS 2015
2% of Average Snowpack

Calendar

 

MAY 1 STATUS 2016
55% of Average Snowpack

Calendar

 

MAY 1 STATUS 2017
194% of Average Snowpack

Calendar

 

MAY 1 STATUS 2018
27% of Average Snowpack

Calendar

 

 

 

Related

 

HIGH SIERRA
MOUNTAIN SAFETY NEWS

 

SAFETY TOPICS

 

 

 

SIERRA WEATHER

 

RIVER STAGE REPORTS & FORECASTS

 

 

ALL HIGH SIERRA FORESTS & PARKS CONTACTS

PERMITS

 

 

 

Tracking Spring's Weather

 

 

 

Trail News Forum

 

 

 

Latest Trail News, May, 2018

 

 

 

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Spring of 2018 High Sierra Conditions Alert Hazard Status

 

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