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Monitoring Mono Lake’s level by ski

Friday, March 8th, 2019 by Maureen, Membership Assistant

In a winter full of snow, getting down to the lake has been a bit more challenging and a lot more fun.

A calm lake surface in not only incredibly scenic but ideal for lake level readings. With the onslaught of storms we’ve experienced this winter, a glassy lake has been a rare sight. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The Mono Lake Committee monitors Mono Lake’s level throughout the year, at least once a month and usually more frequently. You can find monthly lake levels going back to 1971 here. The most important lake level reading of the year happens on (more…)

Open house: Gulls, landbridge, and all of this water for Mono Lake

Friday, February 10th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director

Even with all of this snow and rain, we still need to build a temporary fence to protect the gulls. Have questions? Stop by the open house on Wednesday—we’ve got answers, ways you can help, and cookies too.

  • When: Wednesday, February 15, 5-7pm
  • Where: Mono Lake Committee Bookstore
  • What: Open house, presentation at 6pm
  • Why: Because you love California Gulls (and Epic Cafe cookies)


July, the new January?

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

After four years of drought in California snow has become a rare sight in the Sierra Nevada, but in July?! Last week an upper-level low-pressure system moved westward across California and generated thunderstorms, rain, hail, and a local dose of real snow to the Tioga Pass region, especially in the Lee Vining Creek headwaters. The area around Saddlebag Lake, in particular, received a solid coating of snow, estimated between 6-10″ in the early morning hours of July 9. The morning was reminiscent of January, except for highlights of bright green vegetation struggling through an unfamiliar white blanket. With a strong El Nino building in the Pacific, might this be a harbinger of the winter ahead? California, the Sierra Nevada, and Mono Lake are greatly in need of anything close to a normal snowpack, but as this past week illustrates, there is no normal with precipitation in California, just variability.

Mt. Dana, above Tioga Pass on July 9, 2015.

Mt. Dana, above Tioga Pass on July 9, 2015.

New snow above Saddlebag Lake

Mt. Excelsior and ridge in fresh snow behind Saddlebag Lake, July 9, 2015.

Saddlebag Lake and the Tioga Ridge

Saddlebag Lake, Shepherd Crest (upper-left) and the Tioga Ridge on July 9, 2015. Note heavy snow near the ridge and Dore Pass (from upper-middle to upper- right). Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Penstemon newberryi

Mountain Pride, Penstemon newberryi, in fresh snow, July 9, 2015. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Cyclists and skiers ascend Tioga Pass

Monday, May 31st, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

With warmer weather and the road open as far as Tioga Pass from Highway 395, there was quite a bit of human-powered recreation going on at Tioga Pass this weekend. Cars—many with bike racks and ski racks—were at times taking almost all the available parking spots that had been cleared of snow between Ellery Lake and Tioga Pass.

Cyclists enjoy the car-free Tioga Pass Road in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park.

Cyclists enjoy the car-free Tioga Pass Road in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park.


Low pressure snow shovel muscles

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

We are all getting bulked up on the white stuff. Yesterday I spent six hours shoveling between my roof and the berm left by the snow plow. It’s a pleasure to see this much snow, and it’s the first time in a while that this much has fallen around Mono Lake. We measured 33.2″ from Monday to Friday this week at our weather station here in Lee Vining. Thursday’s storm (1-21-2010)  set all-time low barometric pressure records for the San Joaquin Valley, to Reno, to Las Vegas. I don’t know if there’s an official barometer for Lee Vining, but the pressure dropped to just above 983 millibars/29.04 inches on one local weather station, the the lowest I’ve ever seen it.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

Strong storms predicted to bring 10-20 feet of snow to the Sierra during the next two weeks

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Howard Schekter, our local Mammoth weatherman, says


The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a Special Weather Statement that includes


The following email we just received from the USGS through our contacts with the Forest Service (original email appears to be from Chris Haile with CalFire). It has been reposted on several other blogs (more…)

Fall update: Brilliant color

Friday, October 16th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Brilliant fall days now have snowy peaks added to the mix after Tuesday’s storm.

It rained 1/4 inch per hour all afternoon and evening on Tuesday, with a snow level around 8,000 feet. The Mono Basin ended up with 2.2–2.8 inches of rain and Tioga Pass ended up with two feet of wet slushy snow that melted rapidly during the warm days that followed. Gorgeous days in the 60s will cool off a bit early next week. Click here for current conditions.


One of the best years ever for fall color along lower Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Greg Reis.

One of the best years ever for fall color along lower Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Greg Reis.

Middle and low elevations are peaking right now! This is one of the best years for fall color that I can remember along the Lee Vining Creek trail—so many red dogwoods and roses and fireweed, and yellow aspen, cottonwoods, willows, and serviceberry. There are many green trees also that will be getting colorful next week. There are a lot of tinges of orange amidst the yellow. Snowy peaks and brilliant blue (more…)

Tioga Pass Reopens!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) reopens today, Thursday October 15, 2009, at noon. It was closed since Monday due to snow. Sonora Pass (Hwy 108) remains closed, as well as the road to Bodie (Hwy 270). On the Tioga Pass Webcam there appears to be less than a foot of snow at the 9,945′ pass.

Tioga Pass closes due to snow

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

On Tuesday October 13, 2009, Tioga Pass closed once again due to snow. The major winter storm that brought over 2 inches of rain to Lee Vining and up to 6 feet of snow on Mammoth Mountain dropped about 2 feet (with 3 inches of water content) of heavy wet snow at Tioga Pass Resort that was reportedly (more…)

Fall Update: Colorful leaves and snow

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Fall is here, and Lee Vining is still bustling, especially on weekends. Restaurants are closing, visitor center hours are shortening, and weekend South Tufa tours (at 1pm) are ending for the season on October 18th.

The seasons changed a week ago, with an abrupt end to the 80-degree weather. Another storm (more…)

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