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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.

Tioga Pass is open

Monday, May 4th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director

The much-anticipated official opening of Tioga Pass for the 2015 season is here.

We recommend that all travelers check on road closures, weather, and road conditions before traveling. Tioga Pass is still subject to closure for spring weather events that cause dangerous driving conditions. Travelers should also expect delays for roadwork. Also note that entrance fees to the park have increased, and the fee structure has changed.

Excitement about the early access to and through Yosemite National Park is muted somewhat by the fact that the early opening has much to do with dismal snowpack and drought conditions.

Drive safely and we hope to see you at Mono Lake soon!

Reminder: Tioga Pass Run coming up on September 8

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Erik Lyon, 2013 Project Specialist.

The 33rd annual Tioga Pass Run is just around the corner! Join us on Sunday, September 8 for this beautiful 12.4-mile race with an incredible 3,200 feet of elevation gain along one of the most scenic highways in the country.

Regular registration ($35) is open until August 20. Late registration ($40) begins August 21, so make sure to sign up soon! All proceeds benefit the Mono Lake Committee.

Register for the Tioga Pass Run

Questions? Contact Project Specialist Erik Lyon at (760) 647-6595. See you in September!

Tioga Pass scheduled to open Saturday

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Julia Runcie, 2011 Mono Lake Intern.

According to National Park Service representatives, Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park will open this Saturday, June 18th, at 8:00am.

Due to an immense snowpack and a late, chilly spring, the road has remained closed far longer than normal, and thousands of visitors will be relieved to find their drive over the Sierra made shorter and the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows area open at last.

Please continue to check the latest road report from CalTrans, as conditions may change at any moment and we have no guarantee that the pass will actually open as planned.

For a look at the Tioga Pass opening and closing dates since 1933, check out this spreadsheet on the Mono Basin Clearinghouse.

Summer may finally be here!

Opening Tioga Pass: Feature story in Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by Geoff, Executive Director

The Los Angeles Times has a fascinating report on this year’s work to clear snow from the Tioga Pass road between Mono Lake and Yosemite, including photos and video. Check it out!

Los Angeles Times: Blasting winter away at Yosemite

Photos: Clearing snow from Tioga Pass road

Video: Blasting away in Yosemite’s high country

Tioga Pass reopens in time for Columbus Day weekend visitors

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Tioga Pass (Highway 120) reopened this morning (as of 10:30 am) on our first sunny morning of the week. Columbus Day weekend visitors will be happy to know that the drive from Yosemite to the Mono Basin does not require the longer wintertime route to the north over Carson Pass (Highway 88). (more…)

Passes close due to snow

Monday, October 4th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Tioga (Highway 120) and Sonora (Highway 108) passes closed this morning due to inclement weather. Rockslides and snow were reportedly responsible. With up to a foot of snow possible at Tioga Pass through tomorrow night, expect these passes to reopen no earlier than Wednesday. Check road conditions for the latest updates. (more…)

Tioga Pass opened Saturday June 5, 2010

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

The official word is that Tioga Pass (Hwy 120 to Yosemite National Park) will open at 8 am Saturday June 5th, 2010. All facilities along Tioga Road will remain closed indefinitely. The snowpack is quite deep for this late in the season along the road.

Access to Yosemite is also free this weekend in honor of National Trails Day. Other free days this year will include August 14-15, September 25, and November 11.

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.


Road conditions update: good news and bad news

Friday, May 28th, 2010 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

First the bad news:
According to Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher, Tioga Pass (Highway 120) will not open for this Memorial Day weekend. No opening date is in sight, but crews are working hard to open the road for the busy summer season. Stay tuned here to the Mono-logue and check the California Department of Transportation website for the latest news.

Sonora Pass (Highway 108) is not open. (As of 5pm it is open)

The good news:

Monitor Pass (Highway 89) has reopened today, according to the Bishop CalTrans office.

Luckily, the lower gate on the east side of Tioga Pass is now open, allowing skiers easy access to the abundant new snow in the Tioga Pass area.

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