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Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

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Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby iHartMK » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:40 pm

I found this in our local news.. Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average
http://www.kmj580.com/pages/landing?Sie ... feedID=806
Looks like backpacking season starts early again this year...
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby asmrz » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:02 pm

The season will start even sooner then last year, give it maybe three weeks?

We tried to ski the west side of Palisades last year mid April, absolutely no snow. Climbed Carl Heller on May 18, no snow at and around Wallace Lake and its basin.

Contrary to some claims, there is little likelihood of considerable precipitation in April and May...So by mid May, the season should be in full force ( with just a bit of snow here and there). By mid July, the snow slopes will turn to ice, at least if the gullies and snow slopes did not burn out completely by then. Get ready...
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:28 pm

Can't wait for the Chief to tell you how it will average out...according to him this was supposed to be a heavy snow year. Proves my point- no one can predict how heavy/light next winter will be....even the Chief.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Burchey » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:48 pm

asmrz wrote:The season will start even sooner then last year, give it maybe three weeks?

We tried to ski the west side of Palisades last year mid April, absolutely no snow. Climbed Carl Heller on May 18, no snow at and around Wallace Lake and its basin.

Contrary to some claims, there is little likelihood of considerable precipitation in April and May...So by mid May, the season should be in full force ( with just a bit of snow here and there). By mid July, the snow slopes will turn to ice, at least if the gullies and snow slopes did not burn out completely by then. Get ready...


It seemed like the window for alpine ice was tiny/none last year. It's also possible my timing is just terrible, I know a couple guys had a nice run up Clydes Couloir. Fingers crossed for this year.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby asmrz » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:02 pm

Vitalyi, anecdotal evidence suggests these Sierra weather cycles run in (at least) three years in a row. Since others can predict, so can I (can I?)...Next year will be drier than normal as well...Burchey, if you must have ice, go in mid to late July and to places which rarely burn out. There will be nothing left in August...
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:03 pm

Burchey wrote:
asmrz wrote:The season will start even sooner then last year, give it maybe three weeks?

We tried to ski the west side of Palisades last year mid April, absolutely no snow. Climbed Carl Heller on May 18, no snow at and around Wallace Lake and its basin.

Contrary to some claims, there is little likelihood of considerable precipitation in April and May...So by mid May, the season should be in full force ( with just a bit of snow here and there). By mid July, the snow slopes will turn to ice, at least if the gullies and snow slopes did not burn out completely by then. Get ready...


It seemed like the window for alpine ice was tiny/none last year. It's also possible my timing is just terrible, I know a couple guys had a nice run up Clydes Couloir. Fingers crossed for this year.


Clyde couloir when they did it, was not alpine ice. Those are water ice pitches that form up there through that rock band in early summer/late spring (we should go do it this year!).

For alpine ice in couloirs to form doesn't it need to be cold at night etc (so it usually would form in autumn regardless)? The ice in North Peak couloirs was never fully in last year. Just patches of ice here and there and neve all the way. I climbed Mendel right when it was 'in" during spring time, just because the snow did not cover the ice from prior fall (2011) during that winter (not because the ice formed in spring) And by end of summer 2012 Mendel couloirs were gone!...U notch V notch feather couloir etc was not in. By "in" I am talking about blue ice. Don't consider neve or small patches as 'in.'
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Burchey » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:15 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:Clyde couloir when they did it, was not alpine ice. Those are water ice pitches that form up there through that rock band in early summer/late spring (we should go do it this year!).

For alpine ice in couloirs to form doesn't it need to be cold at night etc (so it usually would form in autumn regardless)? The ice in North Peak couloirs was never fully in last year. Just patches of ice here and there and neve all the way. I climbed Mendel right when it was 'in" during spring time, just because the snow did not cover the ice from prior fall (2011) during that winter (not because the ice formed in spring) And by end of summer 2012 Mendel couloirs were gone!...U notch V notch feather couloir etc was not in. By "in" I am talking about blue ice. Don't consider neve or small patches as 'in.'


If memory serves, they got on Clyde right at the end of June or very first part of July. There was a lot of blue in the V-notch in mid July when we went up, and we were heading for the U when massive rockfall in Clyde at 4am scared us off as we were flaking the ropes for the U. Not too long after that attempt, the U became a nasty mess of rock and dirt.

Hard to tell in this pic, but in the sun you could make out a few long pitches of blue on the V. early/mid July 2012

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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:33 pm

They climbed it on June 2nd. These pitches form from the melt/freeze of snow field above. Area where it forms stays in the shade usually which allows it to form...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySeoZb5JOBo


U notch looks half iced up there..

Late September or early October of 2010 it was beautiful looking...wish I ice climbed back than...
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Burchey » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:45 pm

Wow, that does look perfect (to my noob eyes). You got a time machine, V? A BMW one?
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby iHartMK » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:29 pm

asmrz wrote:The season will start even sooner then last year, give it maybe three weeks?

We tried to ski the west side of Palisades last year mid April, absolutely no snow. Climbed Carl Heller on May 18, no snow at and around Wallace Lake and its basin.

Contrary to some claims, there is little likelihood of considerable precipitation in April and May...So by mid May, the season should be in full force ( with just a bit of snow here and there). By mid July, the snow slopes will turn to ice, at least if the gullies and snow slopes did not burn out completely by then. Get ready...


I would be cool with hitting the trails by mid May! Gotta do my 10 trips again this year.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:44 pm

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowapp/sweq.action

Some more raw data.

Can't believe I bough skis last year. Have not really had great conditions to learn yet. Aside from a trip up Shasta and a few times at the resort they see no action :( At least I been rock climbing a lot. First world problems....
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby John Duffield » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:14 pm

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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby 96avs01 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:28 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:Can't believe I bought skis last year. Have not really had great conditions to learn yet.


So it was you who jinxed us :wink:
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby ElGreco » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:38 pm

Yes, we climbed the Clyde on Jun2 last year. The bottom half is AI, but Vitaliy is right that the crux (fun) pitch is WI. That section does melt out late season, and forms early season when night temps are low and the snowfield above feeds it with melt (and also hopefully keeps rockfall in check).

Here it is late season on a dry year (Sep2012): http://www.flickr.com/photos/98501575@N ... otostream/

Don't know what the weather has in store from now on, but I'd try to get on it in May or even Apr. PaliCam anyone?

Very aesthetic climb. Rockfall possibility is thought provoking. We rappeled the couloir, but I'd be happier rappeling Starlight Buttress. If anyone dials that, post up. The route down wasn't obvious from the top.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby SpazzyMcgee » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:21 pm

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecasts/displ ... tr&pil=afd

:::DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO HAS
HAD ITS DRIEST JANUARY-MARCH PERIOD ON RECORD. FROM JANUARY 1
THROUGH MARCH 31...DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO ACCUMULATED 2.31 INCHES
OF PRECIPITATION...ONLY 19 PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE. AVERAGE
RAINFALL IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THE YEAR
IS 12.22 INCHES. THIS WAS THE DRIEST JANUARY-MARCH PERIOD IN SAN
FRANCISCO SINCE RAINFALL RECORDS BEGAN IN THE CITY BACK IN 1850.
THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 3.20 INCHES SET ALL THE WAY BACK IN 1851.
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