This is a brief update on the potential opening of Sonora and Tioga Passes. After making calls and speaking with Caltrans representatives as well as some folks down in the Lee Vining area this week, both passes have plans to open this upcoming weekend. This is great news for backcountry skiers and riders in the Sierra!
Sonora Pass-elevation 9,624′
According to Caltrans the push to open Sonora Pass is set for this Friday, April 27th. No word on exact timing, but with solid snow coverage occurring above 9k feet on the Eastside this will make for some excellent touring if and when it pops.
Tioga Pass-elevation 9943′
This is the grandaddy of all Sierra passes as it grants access from the east to Yosemite, and offers arguably the biggest bag-for-your-buck in a legitimate candyland of high quality backcountry terrain. The word here is Tioga is set to open to the park boundary this Saturday, April 28th. The best I got out of the guys I spoke with was the road into Yosemite could be open in as soon as two more weeks, depending on weather. Also, Mobil Mart is supposed to open this Friday (which makes me think the gate giving access to the pass will open too), and Mono Cone is apparently already open.
Take all of this with a grain of salt, but many locals have confirmed these dates as well, and since specifics are coming from Caltrans employees, one can only hope that they’re true. A small disturbance that may bring up to 10 inches of snow on the Sierra Crest near Tahoe is not forecasted to be as strong down south, but it will be lingering through Thursday in both the Sonora and Tioga areas. Of course if anyone has any updates or other news to pass along please do so. This link may also be helpful as it gives you current details on road openings and closures. Here’s to hoping for a rad weekend of backcountry sliding on the Eastside!