Dan's Outside

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Sierra Snowmelt and Passes Opening

Tom Stienstra at SFGate writes about prospects for the opening of Sierra Passes:

Chances are good that Highway 108 at Sonora Pass will open by Friday, according to Caltrans, with decent prospects that Highway 4 will open through Ebbetts Pass.

“We’re pretty encouraged about Sonora Pass by the weekend,” said Troy Bowers of Caltrans. “Ebbetts Pass has some challenges yet. We’re not sure yet we’ll have it open. I was up there and there’s still a lot of snow, especially from the 8,000-foot level and up. Banks can be 20 feet high. It’s an awesome sight.”

It also sounds like Glacier Point road will be open by this coming weekend. On the other hand, there is still a lot of plowing to do before Tioga Pass road opens. Last year it opened near the end of June, and I would be very surprised if it opened any earlier this year. (It has opened as late as early July in the past.)

In addition, he has some news about peak river flows (and general waterfall wildness):

Yosemite magic: Several hydrologists sent e-mails about my prediction that the peak snow melt and water volume for Yosemite’s waterfalls will be from May 20-31. Andy King took it a step further and calculated that exact peak flows, based on 80 years of river flow data, will be May 29 — Memorial Day. “It should be even better than last year,” said King, who noted that last year’s waterfall show was sensational for months.

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May 21, 2006 - Posted by | Commentary

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