Maybe Skip Onion Valley…

Maybe Skip Onion Valley…

The good news is the road is open all the way to the parking lot at Onion Valley. The bad news is that's because there's no snow up there—the parking lot and campground are completely dry.

Yes, a climb of a thousand vertical feet would presumably put you in range of a few snowfields on University Peak's north face (a good deal more snow than Al and I found two weeks ago on Baden-Powell, at least), but there's just not enough overall to justify the drive.

At the parking lot, Preston and I took in the conditions and then bailed on our plan to ski something. Preston went north, hoping to find better conditions in Mammoth; I went south, to take the kids to the zoo.

I don't have high confidence that anything south of Mammoth is worth your time. They're saying Southern Sierra snowpack is currently around 30% of normal, but that number seems way too high to me. This doesn't look anything close to normal—at least, not ten-years-ago normal.

Birch looks terrible. Whitney Portal has snow above 13K, but who cares? Maybe South Lake might have something, if you squint your eyes a lot. Or maybe stick to Mammoth, and skip the southern 395 corridor. It's just not there this year.

— April 29, 2018

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Scott Larson April 30, 2018 at 6:31 pm

I'd advise going north of Bishop. I got good turns April 14/15 and 21/22 weekends up Rock Creek; able to skin from the car and the north couloir on Abbot was great. Photos:

Henry Kramer May 21, 2018 at 2:43 am

Hey, so I was headed with my skis to the Palisades this next week to ski the glacier, the notch and off Sill, but reading your data, says leave the ski in the car.

Andy May 21, 2018 at 2:47 am

Henry it is thin out there but there is snow up high depending on your willingness to work for it.

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