Things are looking real BAD for high-mountain hiking and backpacking this summer in northern California, at least if the latest snow survey results on the Klamath National Forest and all of northern California are any indication. I wrote when we can hike near Mount Shasta and in Lassen Volcanic National Park a couple of months ago, and that still holds.
Here’s the final data on northern California snow depths and water content from the State of California Department of Water Resources:
Manual and electronic readings today show that California’s near-record snowpack is slowly melting with warming spring weather. But snowpack water content is still 144 percent of the April 1 full season average.
Electronic readings indicate that water content in the northern mountains is 159 percent of the April 1 seasonal average. Electronic readings for the central Sierra show 144 percent of the April 1 average. The number for the southern Sierra is 127 percent. The statewide number is 144 percent.
Here’s the skinny from a press release on the May 1 snowpack survey in Siskiyou County environs:
Employees of the Salmon/Scott River Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest have completed the May 1st snow surveys. The snowpack is well into the spring melt and the snow levels have declined since the April measurements. However, it still remains well above normal for this time of year. According to current measurements, the snowpack depth for the Scott Valley stations is now at 176% above normal.
Snow depth and water content are measured by obtaining a core sample of snow with a specially designed and calibrated aluminum tube. The snow depth is recorded and the water equivalent of that snow sample is calculated by weighing the core of snow in the tubes. The information is forwarded to the State of California, where the data is compiled with other snow reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative Snow Survey program, managed by the California Department of Water Resources. The information is used to help the State forecast the amount of water available for agricultural uses, power generation, and stream flow releases later in the year.
During the winter and spring months (Feb-May), District employees travel to pre-determined measuring sites to collect information about snow accumulation in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest above the south and west portions of Scott Valley. The “snow courses” are designated locations that are used to provide information about the amount of snow and moisture each winter month. Some sites are located a few dozen yards off forest roads; others require hours of travel by snow shoes and snowmobile.
Snow survey members this month included: Carol Ballow, Patrick Grimes, Nic Hoisington, Steve Renner, Bill Robinson, and Sue Tebbe.
For more information, go to the California Department of Water Resources Website: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow or contact Maija Meneks on the Salmon/Scott River District at (530) 468-1272.
How will the deep snows affect your hiking and backpacking this summer?