9,624-Foot Sonora Pass, CA is OPEN | Earliest Opening in a Decade | Tioga Pass is OPEN to Pass from the East

Miles Clark | | WeatherWeather

 

Tioga Pass being cleared by snow plows
Tioga Pass being cleared by snow plows

This is big news for backcountry skiers and riders.  Sonora Pass is completely open and Tioga Pass is open to the pass from the East.  Tioga Pass will be completely open by May 11th.

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9,624-foot Sonora Pass (first crossed in 1852) on California highway 108 crosses the Sierra Nevada in an impressive place.  Impressive, because its highest point is right in the middle of fantastic ski terrain.  The pass just opened and while that’s a good thing for skiers, it’s a bad sign for the snowpack.

Great ski terrain immediately off Sonora Pass.  Very easy touring here.
Great ski terrain immediately off Sonora Pass. Very easy touring here.

Sonora pass generally doesn’t open until some point in May.  In 2011 the pass didn’t open until June 7th.  In fact, Sonora pass hasn’t opened this early in the past decade.

Sonora Pass a few springs ago
Sonora Pass a few springs ago

What caused this early opening?  Low snow.  Sonora Pass is located in the Central Sierra and this year, all of the Sierra Nevada mountain range saw around 50% of normal snowfall.  There hasn’t been a significant snowfall on Sonora Pass since December.  Good weather, low snow, and warm temperatures allowed plowing to begin much earlier than normal and allowed plowing to progress much faster than normal.

Tioga pass cross section with Yosemite Valley
Tioga pass cross section with Yosemite Valley

The end result was Sonora Pass opening yesterday, April 24th, which is the earliest the pass has been open in over a decade.

Yosemite’s 9,943-foot Tioga Pass gives access to some of the best ski/board terrain in California.  Tioga Pass is already open to the pass from the East.  Tioga Pas is expected to be opened completely by May 11th.  Tioga didn’t open until June 18th in 2011 and hasn’t been open in early May in a long time.

How Tioga Pass is supposed to look this time of year...
How Tioga Pass is supposed to look this time of year…

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, it’s time to get down to Sonora Pass and get in some great spring skiing.  When Tioga Pass opens in 2 weeks, it’s going to be game-time for many of California’s extreme skiers.  There are some gnarly lines down there…

Dana Plateau lines off Tioga Pass, CA
Dana Plateau lines off Tioga Pass, CA

11 thoughts on “9,624-Foot Sonora Pass, CA is OPEN | Earliest Opening in a Decade | Tioga Pass is OPEN to Pass from the East

  1. Yo Miles,
    “Tioga didn’t open until June 18th in 2011 and hasn’t been open in early May in a long time.”
    It opened on May 7 just last year, May 11 in 2007, and mid-May in 2008 and 2009. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm So that’s not a super accurate statement.

    Not that an opening this early is *normal* per se, but it isn’t unusual compared to the last 5-6 years. It’s been either feast (2010 and 2011) or famine.

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    1. Ya its this thing called globall meltdown…but not to fear if anyone has youngsters the’ll be riding i manmade groomer down tioga.. I was just at sonora its 20 feet deep up top… And no suncups just your a cups when you go jibby jibster pants…its natural not groomed so point and shoot…wait for after 1 and you can turn…and this year dominates last whatever that was oh ya global destruction ya not to be so f ing deppresing but its trying to get deep again. Get rid of coal cows and greed…and the pack willbe back….or go bowlingits neat.. Dr schillings…if your young still do it now…

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    1. Not just yet, we do have some friends down there now and we are hoping to get some conditions reports this week. thanks for checkin’ in.

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  2. Is sonora pass open with the last snow fall? What alternatives do I have if it’s closed. Coming from Convict Lake Going to Yosemite.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    1. Hey Anthony, we aren’t sure yet. Been looking around and no info has been released yet on Sonora Pass. We assume that it’ll open soon, but yes, that last snowfall likely delayed things. We’ll certainly be reporting on Sonora and Tioga passes once information becomes available. Both passes are currently closed. thanks.

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  3. Last weekend i camped at Kennedy meadows .wind blew the somora summit clouds t storms out for a full view of a stunning view of the summit .theres not even a rock deepest spring powder bowi ive seen in 15 years it looks like well heaven i guess it will last all year again thank the jet stream god for saving the other half of the stanislaus …oh ya hey stupid people if your lost make a fire ring make sure its not windy .you decimated half of the forest from groveland into yosemite.you owe all mountain people a trillion trees animals and if we keep letting people that are cluless in the woods there gone.so go get your tiny black bear.and if your a man get it fair leave your 223 with your kid and his friends and fight your badass starving bear with your fists and a rock…your no hero trust me… I think all tourists and city fucks should have a guide… Now that you moonscaped half the stani.killing whats left should be easy you can shoot from more then a mile…so just wanted to thank you for the rim fire and all the other dumb practices you have …stay the fuck home get drunk and beat yer wife and kid .and wonder hmmmm i wonder why most all countries think were soft and fat dumb and spineless.. A 300000 acre fire FU AND YER DUMB ASS BUDDIES… SIGNED MIKE MARSHALL MARINE RET.AND LETS JUST SAY SOMEONE THATS IN WHATS LEFT OF THE WOODS ENLIGHTENING SLOW PEOPLE…GO TO COMANCHE RES …ANY ONE WHOS NOT SECURE WITH ANY SITUATION IN THE FOREST…THINK FIRST K IM PISSED GOOD NIGHT FUCKIN IDIOTS…MORE COMMIN…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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