Sierra snowpack 2016


Just heard on the news last night snowpack at Echo Summit (west of Lake Tahoe) is 130% of normal for this time of year.



Also, refer to this:

The current snow levels are the pink lines.



Current snowpack for the southern Sierra is 96% BUT long range precipitation predictions by NOAA have the Southern Sierra at above normal until June. Additionally NOAA predicts from now until next winter the entire PCT will experience above normal temperatures.

Best bet at this time is for above average snow in the south with above average temperatures. So don’t get to Kennedy too early and expect the desert to be hotter than normal.



I live in Ridgecrest, CA, near the eastern side of the Sierra Crest. I am a Sierra backpacker - and also fly a homebuilt Vans RV-8A airplane. I do “check out the Sierra snow” flights a couple times a month.

Snow coverage now extends down into Monache Meadow north of Kennedy Meadows. Snow appears much deeper as you head north. Even if we don’t get another major storm, I would expect late spring snow over the passes north of Cottonwood Pass - but you should be able to bail out into Lone Pine over Trail or Cottonwood Passes.

I’ll be updating flight-observed snow conditions after each flight. Of course, such airborne advice is just an educated guess until someone actually puts boots on the ground to measure actual depth.



Dept of Water and Power says statewide snowpack is 85% of average for this time of year. SF bay area had almost no rain in February which meant almost no snow in central sierra. We’ve got some storms coming in this week that might add a foot or so of snow to central sierra.



Flew over the Southern Sierra from Walker Pass to Trail Pass yesterday. Recent storms don’t appear to have had much effect south of Whitney. Trail clear until near the bridge crossing South Fork of the Kern in Monache Meadows. Patchy snow til north slope of Olanche Peak, then solid coverage, although depth appears diminished until north of Whitney.



Latest report says statewide snowpack is 87% of normal.



Flew from Kennedy Meadows to Crabtree yesterday. Trail clear until northwest of Olancha Peak, then patchy snow to Cottonwood Pass, with solid snow on north-facing slopes. Chicken Springs still frozen over and covered with snow. Increasing snow density north to where it becomes constant north of Guyot. However, it does appear to be melting!



I drove over interstate 80 yesterday. Where the PCT crosses there is no snow on open ground or south facing slopes. Patchy snow in the trees and north slopes 1 to 2 feet deep. That’s at el. 7000’.



Flew the PCT from Trail Pass to Forrester Pass Sunday. A lot of snow north of Wallace Creek. The area around Tyndall Creek solid white. And it looks like even more snow north of Kearsarge. The folks at the Whitney Portal Store say it’s not that there has been a lot of snow, it’s the fact that it has been unusually cold and the snow hasn’t melted.