Tuolumne late June/early July?


Original Post
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282

My impression is that this has been a huge snow year and that there will probably be a substantial amount of snow even in late June and early July, and that potentially Tioga Pass might even still be closed at that point.  Based on people's prior and current experiences does that seem like a good guess?  That's the time window I have, but I'm thinking this isn't the year to do it.

jayhofman · · Bishop · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 5

Tough to say at this point, yes it was a mega-snow year but here in Mammoth the snow has been melting at a fairly rapid pace.  Maybe bring some touring gear worse case scenario?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Optimistic wrote:

My impression is that this has been a huge snow year and that there will probably be a substantial amount of snow even in late June and early July, and that potentially Tioga Pass might even still be closed at that point.  Based on people's prior and current experiences does that seem like a good guess?  That's the time window I have, but I'm thinking this isn't the year to do it.

Here are the historic Tioga Pass opening dates. Notice the % of normal snowpack column. In years with mid-June or later openings, snowpack was typically 130% or more of normal. Currently the Sierra snowpack is 185% of normal, with another huge wet storm on the doorstep. I would not be at all surprised at a late June or early July opening this year.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282

Thanks to you both.  Jay, I think with the toddler ski touring might be more than we can handle!  Marc, that's an interesting link, thanks.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Yeah, look at 2011 and 1995. Those are similar in terms of snowpack. And those dates are just to get the road open. The peaks around T. meadows will have snow still. 

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
AndrewArroz wrote:

Yeah, look at 2011 and 1995. Those are similar in terms of snowpack. And those dates are just to get the road open. The peaks around T. meadows will have snow still. 

That's what I was thinking, that even with the road open the trails/approaches could be pretty tough for a 3 year old and 6 year old, and possibly even for their parents!  

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Optimistic wrote:

That's what I was thinking, that even with the road open the trails/approaches could be pretty tough for a 3 year old and 6 year old, and possibly even for their parents!  

The approach to Lembert Dome is a stone's throw from the parking lot. But I'd be more concerned about the rock still being wet. The trails to places like Cathedral Peak will probably still be in snow for sure. Are you talking about hiking or climbing? If hiking, I'm sure you could find something fun to do. Climbing, maybe not.

MHostetler · · Oakland, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Tuolumne campground isn't opening until August 1 if that gives you any insight.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm#table

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
MHostetler wrote:

Tuolumne campground isn't opening until August 1 if that gives you any insight.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm#table

Ahh, that gives me a huge amount of insight, thanks very much.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
AndrewArroz wrote:

The approach to Lembert Dome is a stone's throw from the parking lot. But I'd be more concerned about the rock still being wet. The trails to places like Cathedral Peak will probably still be in snow for sure. Are you talking about hiking or climbing? If hiking, I'm sure you could find something fun to do. Climbing, maybe not.

Mix of easy hiking and climbing was the dream...

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,731

Even if Tioga Pass is still closed through your entire visit, it's not like you'd be "skunked" for fun climbing (or hiking).

Nowadays there's so much fun climbing (on a wider variety of interesting rock types) on the Eastside Sierra within an hours drive of Tioga Pass -- around Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, Lee Vining -- plenty to keep any visitor busy for a couple of weeks. 

The MountainProject routes database shows 473 routes in Tuolumne Meadows, about
2000 on the Eastside north of Bishop.
. . . (or 4000 if count lower-altitude Bishop, which could be climbed some days in June with some care taken about choice of exposure directions and avoidance of mid-day hours).

Get the latest edition of Mammoth Area Rock Climbs, by Marty Lewis (and perhaps somebody else?), with more new stuff on MP. High-clearance 4WD vehicle needed to access some crags, but many can be reached with standard-clearance and a bit of walking.

Lots of camping options on the Eastside, also good range of house / condo / apartment rentals (if start shopping now). June Lake more low-key (and closer to Tuolumne in case the pass opens) than Mammoth Lakes area (which wins on amenities + restaurants + shopping + closeness to Bishop).

Generally less driving time if fly into RNO or LAX or LAS rather than SFO.

Ken


AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
kenr wrote:

Even if Tioga Pass is still closed through your entire visit, it's not like you'd be "skunked" for fun climbing (or hiking).

Nowadays there's so much fun climbing (on a wider variety of interesting rock types) on the Eastside Sierra within an hours drive of Tioga Pass -- around Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, Lee Vining -- plenty to keep any visitor busy for a couple of weeks. 

The MountainProject routes database shows 473 routes in Tuolumne Meadows, about
2000 on the Eastside north of Bishop.
. . . (or 4000 if count lower-altitude Bishop, which could be climbed some days in June with some care taken about choice of exposure directions and avoidance of mid-day hours).

Get the latest edition of Mammoth Area Rock Climbs, by Marty Lewis (and perhaps somebody else?), with more new stuff on MP. High-clearance 4WD vehicle needed to access some crags, but many can be reached with standard-clearance and a bit of walking.

Lots of camping options on the Eastside, also good range of house / condo / apartment rentals (if start shopping now). June Lake more low-key (and closer to Tuolumne in case the pass opens) than Mammoth Lakes area (which wins on amenities + restaurants + shopping + closeness to Bishop).

Generally less driving time if fly into RNO or LAX or LAS rather than SFO.

Ken


This ^ exactly. The Bishop/Mammoth/Lee Vining area is a hiker's and climber's dream. 

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 115

Ditto on above, kenr advice is right on^^.

It's a 5 hr drive from either Las Vegas or the Ontario, CA airport to Mammoth Lakes, less to Bishop.  Gorgeous hiking all over that area.  And it's soooo much easier to stay in those places with a family because it's outside the park boundary.  Hotels, condos, or Forest Service campgrounds.  

There are a number of little crags over there that are super easy to get to with small kids, and the terrain is pretty safe.  Out of Mammoth, Benton Crags, Clark Canyon, Matrimony Wall, Looking Wall, and the stuff down low near Horseshoe Lake come to mind off the top of my head.  Down near Bishop, the stuff off Pine Creek Canyon has very short approaches.

George Wu · · Newport Beach, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 76
phylp wrote:

There are a number of little crags over there that are super easy to get to with small kids, and the terrain is pretty safe.  Out of Mammoth, Benton Crags, Clark Canyon, Matrimony Wall, Looking Wall, and the stuff down low near Horseshoe Lake come to mind off the top of my head.  Down near Bishop, the stuff off Pine Creek Canyon has very short approaches.

Keep in mind that June or July will be pretty warm down in Bishop.  Not too bad to be camping at night - historical lows in the 50's for those months.  But daytime highs average in the 90's.

Thats the whole reason I love Tuolumne so much in the summer - the high altitude is cooler.  Looks like this year we're going to have a shorter climbing season given the snowpack.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

True about Bishop. But not about Mammoth, June Lake, Lee Vining, etc. Or the areas just west of Bishop in the Sierra. If I were camping in the Sierra with kids and wanting some climbing time I'd think very seriously about posting up at Lake Mary or one of those campgrounds above Mammoth. Wonderful place to hang out with the little ones and some nice climbs there, too.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282

Thanks all for the Eastside beta.  We'll ponder that, but we have a pretty strong attachment to Tuolumne and were really psyched on the idea of camping up there with the kids. Climbing is somewhat secondary (!!) on this trip. So it might have to wait for another year. Late June is a bit of an awkward time, kind of late for the desert but early for the mountains.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

I understand. I grew up camping and backpacking out of Tuolumne Meadows. I was there last year in late June, too. But I was just up in June Lake area last week and the snow quantity is astonishingly different from last year. It's going to be a long time before the snow melts at 8,600 feet. 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,731
Optimistic wrote:

Tuolumne ... really psyched on the idea of camping up there with the kids. ...

Late June is a bit of an awkward time, kind of late for the desert but early for the mountains.

Actually nowadays I've come to think June is a special time to get out in the mountains, because they're prettier when they still have accents of snow. Decades ago you could get that mix of white snow with dark rock (and green trees?) in August because of the glaciers. But now that those are melting away, showing up in early season is the alternative: sort of a "time machine".

For several years (2012 thru 2015) I missed seeing the accents of white snow when we visited the Sierras in July+August.

If they do open the road and the camping into Tuolumne, might be prettier (and more interesting?) than you remember. Might be more grass showing than anybody would guess, if it suddenly gets hot for a few weeks before you arrive.

Sharon and I are planning to get out to the Eastside for climbing (and skiing) this year already over Memorial Day weekend.

Ken

P.S. It's a safe bet that Mammoth Mountain will still be operating their lifts for skiing on Fourth of July.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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