Tioga Pass, CA Report: May 11th = Not Good | Surf Conditions = A+

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
You know it's hard when you're using an ice axe on snow you're about to ski...
You know it’s hard when you’re using an ice axe on snow you’re about to ski…

Last night, Mammoth got a bit of late season snow.  It was a nice day until about 3pm when clouds rolled in, the wind picked up (it was already blowing), and it started to snow.  It didn’t accumulate much, but the wind howled like a banshee and the low in Mammoth Lakes was 23F last night.

Lazy river surfing conditions = A+
100F Lazy river surfing conditions = A+

We weren’t quite sure what that weird May weather would equate on Tioga Pass, but we hoped for a few inches of new snow and fun conditions.  Wrong.

Oh Dear!!
Oh Dear!!

We got up to Tioga Pass today around 10am today and it didn’t look like it had snowed at all up there.  It looked like the wind had beaten up Ellery Bowl and that it had frozen very hard the previous night.

M-dizzle making it look good, even tho it wasn't
M-dizzle making it look good, even tho it wasn’t

The wind was still cranking when we started hiking up around 11am.  It was tearing across Ellery Bowl from the east and wafting snow off the mountain and into oblivion.

Ellery Bowl today.  hard.
Ellery Bowl today. hard.

We hiked a very short ways before having to switch to booting up due to the very hard snow conditions.  After getting about one third of the way up, we decided:  A.  the skiing wasn’t going to be fun;  B.  It was getting dangerous to hike up in ski boots due to the risk of falling and slide-for-lifing.

Tar-hizzle coming down on the ice
Tar-hizzle coming down on the ice

We skied down and the snow skied just like it looked:  hard, bumpy, and bad.

We got back to the car with no regrets because we knew it was worth a look and we knew we were on our way to the hot springs east of Mammoth.

Fawn with spots
Fawn with spots

Conditions at the hot river were excellent and surf conditions were glassy.  Deer and Egrets were plentiful this evening.

The forecast is looking like more cold temps up on Tioga Pass.  Tomorrow and potentially more days may very well be just like today.

Deer train
Deer train

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2 thoughts on “Tioga Pass, CA Report: May 11th = Not Good | Surf Conditions = A+

  1. @mike, saddlebag was really firm and windblown up high, but had some nice soft turns down low in north facing trees. south faces are bare.

  2. We were also there yesterday and tried a ridge on the other side of the road a couple miles closer to the park entrance. When we skied down a little after noon, it was pretty hard, as the wind seems to have kept it in that condition. It was a little frustrating, as there were a few turns which were really good and showed us what could have been.

    The mountain up Saddlebag road looked really nice. Any thoughts about that, as I’d like to check it out next weekend.

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