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Thread: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

  1. #1

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    Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    Driving up to Sonora Saturday morning, I was very surprised to see that both Sonora and Tioga passes are OPEN! The road is normally closed east of Strawberry this time of year. I'm up in Sonora for the week and am very tempted to drive up the hill to see the pass in the middle of winter. I realize that this maybe a risky proposition but, I think it might be worth the effort. Any comments or suggestions?

  2. #2
    Preston Birdwell
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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    Brad,

    I live near Sonora and the weather has been very pleasant. However, taking a look at the NWS forecast for Sonora Pass, it will be very windy Monday and Tuesday (gusts to 45 mph), with a chance of snow showers forecast for Tusday night and Wednesday.

    Be careful in shaded areas that face north/ north-east as there could be icy patches.

    It should be very interesting up there with so little snow on the ground. There are some beautiful juniper trees at around the 8,000' level in the canyon of Deadman's Creek. You'll also find some nice aspen groves in the same area.

    --P
    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  3. #3
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    Go for it, while you still can. Carry and know how to use chains (the law). It really is not the same as heading across the Great Divide in a Conestoga Wagon. Wheels touch pavement, horses under the hood, and you're good to go – for a day or a weekend, or more until snow begins piling up on the pavement. Bring your own lunch. Just be aware of the local forecast as Preston says.

    On another note Howard Sheckter, who runs mammothweather.com, has indicated per his discussion that it is very likely, based on climatic data, that this will be a subnormal snow year in the Sierra. For those who don't know of of Howard, he is a scrupulous amateur forecasting resource, whom I became aware of as the only discussion oriented radio weather guy (not meteorologist) in the Eastern Sierra, some 15 years ago. His forecasts are derived from NWS and NOAA meteorologic and climatic forecasts, not personal opinion or whim. I encourage and endorse his (re)issuing of scientifically rigorous forecast discussions in such available technology as his site and via broadcast (KMMT 106.5 FM), when in country.

  4. #4

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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    When I was up toward Yosemite the weekend after Thanksgiving I was surprised to find that the Tioga Road had been re-opened. I thought that once they closed it they just kept it closed till Spring. We drove up it almost to Tuolomne Meadows--not shooting, just looking for some snow for the grandkids to play in. Will be back up there the next couple of days, might have to drive even farther for snow.

    The forecast for Tuolomne Meadows & the Tioga Pass is similar to what Preston said: chance of snow Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
    Paul Stubblebine
    serious student

  5. #5
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodyslam View Post
    When I was up toward Yosemite the weekend after Thanksgiving I was surprised to find that the Tioga Road had been re-opened. I thought that once they closed it they just kept it closed till Spring.
    The Tioga Road has historically been closed after the first "significant" autumn/winter snow covering the road. The ranger–word has always been "We don't plow the road...", spring opening aside. If it melted off sufficiently to allow safe driving and the forecast was absent upcoming storms, it was re–opened.

    Over the last decade or two, there has been considerable pressure from businesses in Mono and Inyo Counties, to keep the Road open as long as possible. This culminated this spring in the use of Mono County snowplows coming up from the east and into the actual park (unprecedented, I believe), in order to assist eastbound NPS plows in opening the road later than normal, after a near record snowpack. It is possible that this agreement resulted in re–opening after a couple of relatively early season October snows, which would have historically resulted in early closure. There have been only light dustings of snow since then, insufficient to warrant seasonal closure.

  6. #6

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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    Went up today with my son. We drove over the pass and down to Bridgeport. Weather was clear and WARM. Roads were dry all the way. We saw a little, tiny bit of snow along the road. Stopped at a few places along the way but didn't do much photography - got a late start this am and the sun was just wicked. Still had a great day.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    A bit of cloud cover headed across the state now. Won't bring much snow but could
    be enough to make things slippery. Strange how last yr was the snowiest on record,
    and now we have the driest Dec I can ever remember. The very driest year on the
    books was just a few years ago. So very difficult to predict what the summer hiking
    season will be like in the high country. The long-term forecasters are coming up with
    completely conflicting opinions about Spring snowfall. We'll see.

  8. #8

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    Re: Sonora pass is OPEN !?!?!

    here's a photo from that day....two years ago now.


    90mm Grandagon-N

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