Howdy Mountain People!
Happy almost summer, as it may be. Certainly isn’t acting like summer. But 2015 is a year for weather extremes. After the biggest drought year ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada, somehow May was the wettest ever recorded in Bishop. The forecast is for more of the same lingering low pressure, with another 1+” of H2O projected over the next week with thunderstorms.
The high country is currently in alpine form. Snow in couloirs ranges from styrofoam neve to transitional mush. PCT hikers are descending and strategizing for the high passes along the trail. A lone PCT hiker was reported to have died from exposure after a slip on snow on the north side of Forester Pass. Local guides and climbers have been changing high mountain summer itineraries due to weather and/or snow conditions. The ice climbs in the range that have been in good ice climbing condition this spring are currently not. For those willing to hike in skis and snowboards, steep north facing couloirs are in as good of a condition as they have been all year. Notably, through all of this, the hiking and rock climbing weather at lower elevations has been excellent. Greenery and rainbows are welcome sights in what could otherwise be a landscape from Mad Max had the dry weather continued. Water is a good thing, for all of us here in California.
Here are some photos from around the range. I hope they help you see better what to expect out there. Yeah, get out there!