Yosemite National Park Friday, March 9th, 2018

March 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Daily Report - Yosemite National Park

Friday, March 9th, 2018


Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast

Today: Mostly sunny. Highs 50 to 56 at 5000 feet...42 to 48 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, southwest winds around 25 mph in the morning. Gusts up to 55 mph over higher elevations.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow after midnight. Near the crest, a 30 percent chance of snow after midnight. Lows 30 to 40 at 5000 feet...18 to 28 at 8000 feet..

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. A 50 percent chance of rain and snow. Near the crest, chance of snow in the morning, then snow in the afternoon. Snow level 7000 feet. Highs 49 to 55 at 5000 feet... 42 to 48 at 8000 feet.


Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:

Yosemite Valley  |  Wawona  |  Tuolumne Meadows  |  Glacier Point |  Big Oak Flat  |  Hetch Hetchy  |  El Portal  |  Mariposa | Badger Pass






Nordic Center Opens Today


Yosemite Hospitality is pleased to announce the opening of the Nordic Center at Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area with limited services starting March 9, 2018 from 8:30 am – 4 pm. The Nordic Center will be open Friday-Sunday through April 1, 2018as conditions permit. Cross-country skis, boots, poles and snowshoes will all be available for rent. Please note the Alpine operations and snow tubing at Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area remain closed for the season. At this time, the Glacier Point Road will be groomed up to the Ostrander Point trailhead.  (L. Cesaro)



No NPS Snowshoe Walk Today

There will be no NPS ranger snowshoe walk at the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area on Friday, March 9th. Another note will be posted in the Daily Report next week to update regarding the status of the March 15th and 16th ranger snowshoe walks.  (S. Miyako)



Snow Creek Cabin Opens Today

Snow Creek Cabin will open Friday, March 9th through Saturday, March 31st. There is a 6-person per night quota for the cabin. To use the cabin you must go to the Valley Visitor Center to pick up a wilderness permit (if available) and current combination for the cabin's lock. The Visitor Center is open 9 am to 5 pm daily. Permits are available one day in advance of your trip. Reservations are not available.  (H. Edgecomb)


Chip Jenkin's Arrowhead

Arrowheads for Chip Jenkins and Mike Gauthier are now in the Superintendent's office, if you would like to sign them.  (R. Madrid)




Maintenance Complex Water Outage March 16

There will be a brief water outage on March 16th 10am affecting the east end of the Maintenance Complex Building. The upstairs bathrooms will be available for use. For more information contact George Harders at 379-1828.  (G. Harders)






Lion Activity in El Portal

There has been an increase in mountain lion sightings over the past two weeks in El Portal. Sightings have been reported from Incline Road to Old El Portal over the past few weeks. Most sightings have been in Old El Portal. Mountain lion behavior indicates that the main draw to Old El Portal is easy prey - dogs and cats.  


By allowing your pets outside in mountain lion habitat not only are you putting your pet at risk, but by attracting large predators to housing areas you are also putting children and other people at a higher risk. Once a mountain lion discovers easy prey, they are likely to hang out looking for more. When this prey is within a residential area, this can lead to a bold mountain lion used to human presence. 


Lions are a normal and important part of Yosemite, however, the presence of lions, especially near developed areas, requires that we take precautions.

- Keep children close to you. Do not allow them to run ahead or lag behind on a trail.

- Never feed wildlife - this helps discourage them from frequenting developed areas. Remember - smaller animals are prey to larger predators. Attracting small animals in turn attracts large animals.  

- Please keep pets indoors or on a leash and feed pets inside. 

- Hiking or running alone is not recommended, particularly in morning and evening hours.


If you encounter a lion, take the following actions:

- Shout in a low voice and wave your arms or hold your coat open. Your goal is to make yourself look as large and threatening as possible. 

- Maintain eye contact with the lion, and do not crouch down. 

- Throw sticks or rocks at the lion. 

- Never Run. 

- Pick up or restrain small children to keep them from panicking and running. 

- If a lion attacks, fight back!


Attack from a mountain lion is an extremely unlikely event, but use of the above recommendations can further reduce the chances of injury and allow humans to more safely share the park with these spectacular animals.


​Report mountain lion sightings to yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov or to the Park’s Dispatch Office at 379-1992. ​ (C. Lee-Roney)


Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update for March 7, 2018  



New snow:  51 inches

Total settled snow depth: 31 inches (at 8,600 feet)

High temperature: 46°F (March 6)

Low temperature:  -12°F (March 5)


Ski Conditions and Weather: Alas, a real winter storm hit the Sierra Nevada this week! Now it’s starting to live up to its namesake. We measured 51 inches of new snow at our weather plot over a four day period, which is one inch more than the total snowfall for the three month period December through February. The new snow had a low water content which is why the settled base depth is as low as it is four days after the storm. Regardless, coverage is now good on most aspects. It was a very windy storm with blizzard conditions at its height. This resulted in lots of wind scoured slopes on southwest aspects and lots of wind loaded slopes on northeast aspects above tree line. Below tree line we were able to find good skiing this week on slopes that were previously bare ground. The sun and warm temperatures the past few days have started a melt freeze cycle on all aspects below 9,000 feet.


Some hearty travelers took advantage of the fact that, for the first time this season, one could ski from the gate in Lee Vining. Their efforts paid off with some good powder skiing and now there is a nicely broken trail from Tuolumne Meadows down to the east. However, being later in the season with a higher sun angle and longer days, that snowline will rapidly be creeping upwards.  Visitors are reminded to bring ski wax, a scraper, and patience until the snow has a chance to set up a bit more.  North aspects will have the most consistent soft snow, but also the most avalanche hazard. 


Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.


This storm truly tested most slopes in the high country. The intensity of the snowfall and the associated high winds shock loaded avalanche paths. As a consequence of that and the continental like snowpack, we observed the most widespread avalanche cycle since we have worked up here. From one vantage point, we could count over twenty visible avalanches. Virtually all of them were located on north facing slopes right at tree line and adjacent to steep rocky terrain. Many of them stepped down from a wind slab down to the depth hoar. Normally people associate tree skiing as being safer, but this was not the case with this snowpack. These zones have maintained a shallower snow depth and have had more depth hoar formation as a consequence. That said, many avalanches were also observed along ridges and in bowls in the wind loaded alpine zone. 


As we go through another melt freeze cycle, the snowpack will become more stable. However, newly formed MF crust may offer new sliding surfaces. Pockets of instability still exist out there so one still must be careful in their assessments. The hazard that currently exists is not typical for the Sierra Nevada as weak layers are now buried deep in the snowpack and difficult to trigger, but if triggered a large and destructive avalanche is possible. The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center has done an excellent job at spelling out the hazards that exist and their observations have been spot on with ours. Their site is a valuable tool that should be used before heading into the backcountry.


Wildlife: Every storm cycle is like an Etch-a-Sketch. The wind and snow wipe the slate clean. Just when we think we’re going to be the first ones to hit the slopes, we’ll top out on the local ski hill and see that some snow shoe hare has center punched not the “bunny” slope, but a “double black diamond.” Powder fever!


General Information: There is no phone service in Tuolumne Meadows at this time. We can be contacted regarding winter travel to Tuolumne Meadows via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. For permit information: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm. or you may contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740. Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness this winter! Follow our blog: https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm. March miracles! Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers  (L. Pilewski)



Yosemite Forum Tuesday March 13 

White Pines of the Sierra Nevada: Ecology Conservation & Management by Dr. Jonathan Nesmith, NPS I&M, Sequoia NP


This talk will provide an introduction to the white pines - sugar pine, western white pine, limber pine, foxtail pine, and whitebark pine that occur in the Sierra Nevada and discuss the unique role they play in forest ecosystems. These pine species are currently threatened by the combined effects of multiple novel stressors, which have led to severe population declines in some cases. Dr. Nesmith will discuss the current status of these long-lived species in the Sierra Nevada, and present possible management options to help ensure their continued persistence. 


The Forum will take place Tuesday, March 13th from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Yosemite Valley Auditorium.  Please contact Garrett Dickman at 379-3282 for additional information.  (G. Dickman)




March 1 Snow Survey Results

Park staff have completed the March 1 snow surveys. The water content of the snowpack in both the Tuolumne drainage and the Merced drainage is is 20% of average. Nineteen out of twenty snow courses were sampled before the recent storm.  (M. Fincher)



Women's History Month -  Jessie Benton Fremont, 1824–1902

Each week during the month of March, organizers of the Women’s Leadership Symposium highlight a famous woman from Yosemite's History. The Symposium will take place Tuesday, March 13th, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm in the Yosemite Valley Theater and Auditorium. For more information email Yose_RDI@nps.gov


Did you know that the first effort to protect Yosemite from logging, overgrazing, development, and commercial wildlife trapping—even preceding the impassioned work of John Muir—was led in part by a woman named Jessie Fremont?  


Jessie, the daughter of a powerful US senator, eloped with the lieutenant and explorer John C. Fremont, who was at the time charged with exploring the west. Jessie eloquently ghost-wrote many of her husband's findings for publication, and after moving out west in 1849, helped run his (unsuccessful) presidential campaign. After visiting Yosemite once in the 1850s, Jessie was struck by its incomparable beauty, and was moved to action to protect it from mounting developmental pressures of the time. Jessie began to form discussion groups in both Mariposa and the Bay Area, bringing together some of the greatest minds of the day. She hosted these writers, influencers, and photographers, and encouraged them to pressure Congress and take action in their personal lives to protect Yosemite, and eventually to support her, Galen Clark, and Senator John Conness in setting aside Yosemite to be protected forever. It is said that Jessie’s revolutionary will to speak out on injustices, in a time when women were not expected to be vocal on contentious issues, was instrumental in the eventual signing of the Yosemite Grant Act as well as in the formation of the women's suffrage movement.  (E. Wold)






Yosemite Valley Parking and Road Work

Parking and road work is ramping up in Yosemite Valley. The first project is final paving at the Yosemite Falls Parking Area (west of Yosemite Lodge). Please direct vehicles to park at Yosemite Village or Half Dome Village as the Yosemite Falls parking lot will close. RVs may park along Stoneman Meadow or Half Dome Village. Commercial tour buses may continue to park at the Yosemite Falls parking area. Work at the Yosemite Falls Parking area is estimated to finish by the end of March.  (L. Acree)



Museum/District Building Electrical Rehab Project

This project will rehabilitate the electrical system in the Museum/District Building by installing grounding in the existing electrical circuits. The Contractor mobilized on Monday, December 18th and the project is expected to run for 6 months. The 8 parking stalls to the west of the building between the sidewalk on the south and the south end of the fence to the north will become the Contractor's staging areas.  Please do not leave any vehicles parked there on Sunday night. Thank you.  (K. White)


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